Chapter 19. HTML Applications

Previous chapters focused on web development, but there are times when you don't want your application to look like a web page with all of the browser components, such as toolbars, exposed. In the past, C/C++/C#, Java, and Visual Basic programmers cornered the market for traditional Windows applications, but the introduction of HTML applications in Internet Explorer changed that. Now you can use technologies, such as Dynamic HTML (DHTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and scripting, to write full-fledged Windows applications.

HTML applications are what they sound like — an HTML-based application. They are often referred to as HTAs, after the file extension (.hta) that HTML applications use. The parent process of mshta.exe (the application that actually runs an HTA) is Internet Explorer; so almost anything (you'll see exceptions later) that you can do using Internet Explorer 5 or later (including Internet Explorer 7), you can do in HTA.

The Advantage of an HTML Application

As previously mentioned, if you don't want Internet Explorer menus or toolbars present in your application, you don't have to have them. For example, take a look at the simple application (shown in Figure 19-1) that is used in this chapter to explore HTAs. All it does is navigate to a few select sites, but it really doesn't look like it's running under Internet Explorer because it has no toolbars or menus.

You may be thinking that's great, but what about the security warnings that come ...

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