Dr. Dobb's is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Channels ▼

Community Voices

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

Custom Browser Helper Objects (BHOs)

October 13, 2008

Sometimes, there are circumstances in which you need a more or less specialized version of the browser. Sometimes you work around this by developing a completely custom module built on top of the WebBrowser control, complete with buttons, labels, and whatever else the user interface requires. In this case, you're free to add to that browser any new, nonstandard feature you want. But what you actually have is just a new, nonstandard browser.

The WebBrowser control is just the parsing engine of the browser. This means there still remains a number of UI-related tasks for you to do: adding an address bar, toolbar, history, status bar, channels, and favorites, just to name a few. So, to create a custom browser you have to write two types of code: the code that transforms the WebBrowser control into a full-fledged browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer, and the code that implements the new features you want it to support.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a straightforward way to customize Internet Explorer instead? Browser Helper Objects (BHO) do just that.

 So, What are these Browser Helper Objects (BHO)?

Browser Helper Objects are straight forward ways to customize Internet Explorer. They are extremely useful tools to bind local applications or devices to your web application. With the use of BHO (browser helper object) technology, we can develop in-process components (DLL) which Internet Explorer will load (in hidden mode) each time it starts up. These browser helper objects run in the same memory space as the internet explorer and can perform various actions on the browser window. A BHO, when installed gets integrated with the browser's window in hidden mode so the end user doesn't notice any program running. The beauty of a browser helper object is that a new instance of the BHO is created with each new instance of Internet explorer and the BHO instance is destroyed when the browser window is closed. So, they work only when the internet explorer is activated and open. This way, they do not put much pressure on the CPU and memory resources. End user doesn't notice any change in the computer speed.

In which situation can Browser Helper Objects (BHOs be utilized?

Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) can be used in numerous situations such as Contextual Marketing & Advertisement Plugins. Popup Killers, Download Managers, Monitoring user's web surfing habits, Internet usage, market research and recording of shopping activity, providing personalized profiles for customized settings, Developing custom Web browsers, Customizing companion bars. Tool bars and menus in user's web browser, Providing details regarding stocks, exchange rates, weather, sports etc in real time, Providing information on various discount offers and other useful information, Content handling for data with certain Mime types like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Auto form filling applications.

How the program you get to relieve your BHO problem may be one itself?

Many of these Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are poorly written and done too quickly. This can make them incompatible to the system it is trying to corrupt. This can cause severe damage to a computer. People who make spyware don't care what happens to your computer. They just want to make money by directing your computer to their site. Browser Helper Objects that are not checked for errors can threaten your computer's security and cause system instability. There are many companies that go out of their way to make sure that the BHOs they make are well hidden as they install into your computer. Some are not even recognizable by popular detection tools. They change the BHO regularly so that it will find its way to your computer before the latest version of anti-spyware comes out or is updated. Changing the DLL that runs them disengages them. There are many BHO removers out there. Be careful what you are downloading and from where. The program you get to relieve your BHO problem may be one itself.

About Grey Matter India technologies

Over the years, GMI has undertaken extensive projects, empowering the wireless revolution with innovative solutions aimed at enhancing user experience. GMI is india's leading independent solution providers in system based software development and expertise in Browser Helper Objects development, Custom IE & Firefox toolbar development, IE & Firefox Plug-in development. To know more about GMI, Visit Offshore Software Development Company.

Related Reading

More Insights

Currently we allow the following HTML tags in comments:

Single tags

These tags can be used alone and don't need an ending tag.

<br> Defines a single line break

<hr> Defines a horizontal line

Matching tags

These require an ending tag - e.g. <i>italic text</i>

<a> Defines an anchor

<b> Defines bold text

<big> Defines big text

<blockquote> Defines a long quotation

<caption> Defines a table caption

<cite> Defines a citation

<code> Defines computer code text

<em> Defines emphasized text

<fieldset> Defines a border around elements in a form

<h1> This is heading 1

<h2> This is heading 2

<h3> This is heading 3

<h4> This is heading 4

<h5> This is heading 5

<h6> This is heading 6

<i> Defines italic text

<p> Defines a paragraph

<pre> Defines preformatted text

<q> Defines a short quotation

<samp> Defines sample computer code text

<small> Defines small text

<span> Defines a section in a document

<s> Defines strikethrough text

<strike> Defines strikethrough text

<strong> Defines strong text

<sub> Defines subscripted text

<sup> Defines superscripted text

<u> Defines underlined text

Dr. Dobb's encourages readers to engage in spirited, healthy debate, including taking us to task. However, Dr. Dobb's moderates all comments posted to our site, and reserves the right to modify or remove any content that it determines to be derogatory, offensive, inflammatory, vulgar, irrelevant/off-topic, racist or obvious marketing or spam. Dr. Dobb's further reserves the right to disable the profile of any commenter participating in said activities.

Disqus Tips To upload an avatar photo, first complete your Disqus profile. | View the list of supported HTML tags you can use to style comments. | Please read our commenting policy.