We have a Browser Helper Object that is also a COM server accessible from VB. Whenever an instance of IE is opened, it fires an event in VB and hands VB the browser object. From within VB we can then sink IE events, such DocumentComplete. We also have full access to the DOM and can navigate the browser, etc.
We are looking to expand our application to include support for Netscape and Firefox.
In this bid, we are looking only for information, not for code. We want to hear from someone who has experience writing Plug-Ins who can give us definitive answers to our questions. This might then lead to coding a plug-in for us, depending upon the answers we receive. See below for our questions.
The deliverable will be answers to these questions, and perhaps a few more that come up. Please do not send answers until we accept your bid. We are not looking for you to do this for free.
All answers pertain only to the Windows OS.
1. Are Netscape and Firefox plug-ins the same?
2. Can a plug-in be written that is instantiated each time a browser instance is opened?
3. Can a plug-in be written that is a plug-in on "one side" and a COM object on the other? What we mean is can it work like our BHO where each time an instance of Netscape is opened our VB6 app can get an event?
4. Can a plug-in be written that allows our VB app to control Netscape/Firefox? We need to be able to navigate to URLs using GET and POST, and get events when pages are reached. For instance, when a user is browser the web, we need to see each URL opened and get full access to the DOM.
6. IE is natively COM-compliant, so it's very easy to work with from VB. For example:
Dim o As Object
Set o = CreateObject("[url removed, login to view]")
[url removed, login to view] = True
[url removed, login to view] "<[url removed, login to view]>"
[wait for DocumentComplete event]
[url removed, login to view]("q").Value = "netscape"
[url removed, login to view]("btnG").Click
This VB code will create a new instance of IE, navigate it to Google, fill in the search blank with "Netscape" and then click the Search button.
How difficult would it be to write a plug-in for Netscape that gives us this kind of control?
Basically, we want to know complicated it would be to write a plug-in for Netscape and Firefox that allows to both monitor and fully control the browsers.
If you know of existing plug-ins that demonstrate any of the concepts, please point us to those as well.