Thursday, 7 March 2013

Using Chrome inside a native VisualStudio pane (using Window Handle Hijacking)

To help me debug and visualize an AngularJS page I was developing, I used the O2’s Window Handle Hijack technique to insert an Chrome window inside VisualStudio 2010.

Here it is in action:

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On the right you can see a full chrome window, inserted inside a VisualStudio dockable pane.

On the left you can see the AngularJs file (rendered from a RazorSharp template) that I can edit and quickly view its output on the right-hand-side Chrome window (with no web recompilation needed)

To create this, I searched in O2 Platform for the Util - Win32 Window Handle Hijack (simple).h2  script

image which looks like this: image

Had a look at its source code to see how it was created (note the Extension Method add_Handle_HijackGui ):

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Then inside a VisualStudio, I opened a C# REPL script:

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This gave me access to the VisualStudio_2010 API

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where I can use the Extension Method add_Handle_HijackGui

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to create a native VisualStudio pane with the Windows Handle Hijack Gui

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With this GUI, we can grab any Window's Window, by dragging the target icon (top left) into the window we want to use/hijack:

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Tip: before Hikacking a window, it is a good idea to take a screenshot and see if we have the right one:

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Once we’re sure, just hit the Hijack link, and we will have  have a fully functional Chrome window that we can place anywhere inside VisualStudio's GUI.

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For example, we can place it in the documents area as one of the source code files
(tip: double click on the ‘Hijacked Window/Control’ text to hide the hijack controls)

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As a final example, here is what it looks like if we just Hijack the browser’s website window (without the navigation and top bars)

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