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IE Browser Helper Objects (BHOs)

What is a BHO?

If we had a nickel for every time we've been asked this!

A BHO is what we like to term, a face-less (no GUI or graphical user interface) that performs functionality to assist a web server or hardware related items.

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.

If you need a specialized version of a browser, or, if you need to hook a client side application to your web application, this is the way to do it.

Examples: we have designed Browser Helper Objects that interface with pharmaceutical hand-held devices; we've designed BHO's to inject environment information to assist web applications; and a variety of other implementations. So as the saying goes literally from soup to nuts, a BHO can be used in multiple environments.

Some clients mull over the following question: do we need a BHO or a toolbar? We have found that generally most clients do not want to waste any of the GUI with a toolbar, which is the reason that most prefer a BHO. Give us a call we are happy to steer you in a form of direction regarding this.

BHO's have surely gotten a bad rap from many companies who have used them to adversely affect the users environment and this has caused Microsoft to design IE to prevent these things from happening. However, this sometimes presents a challenge to developers, to develop a BHO that will connect valuable assets to a web server.

So if you want a BHO we certainly have the expertise to design something for you!

Further: with a browser helper object you can write in-process Component Object Model (COM) components which Internet Explorer will load each time it starts up.

These objects run in the same memory space as the browser and can perform various actions on the available modules or windows.

A BHO is tied to the browsers main window. In essence, a new instance of the object is created as soon as a new browser window is created. Any instance of the BHO lives and dies with the browsers instance.

What have we done with BHOs?

Our experience with Browser Helper Objects is quite extensive. Here are just a few examples of BHO implementations that we have done.

  • Integration of peripheral devices such as a Smart Card Reader or a handheld Telxon device to a browser web application.

  • Context menu handlers. For example, inserting a "right click" context menu that performs a custom function.

  • Error handlers to monitoring web events such as 404 and DNS errors.

  • Web page annotation.

  • Helper windows

  • The possibilities are simply endless with a BHO.


Questions we've been asked: ...well if you've done so many BHO's how come it is still going to take you 'x' amount of time to develop? The answer is simple, not one single BHO we've done has been the same as another; each BHO has its own characteristics and is tailored to a specific company or persons needs.

...what have you done with these BHO's? The answer is simple; we've done BHO's that are dynamically formatted based upon a server script or file. Additionally we've done BHO's that are so dynamic it is based upon a Server XML or file. Again we need to get some details on what you want. Refer to this link for more of what we need to know.

...tell us about the price of BHO's? The answer is simple; it all depends on what you want your BHO to do and on the dynamics required. To take it a bit further, we simply base all of our quotes on how many hours it would take us to design and debug a BHO and allowing us to then pass on a fixed quotation. Refer to this link for more of what we need to know.

...can you please give me a price? The answer here again is simple: of course we can, however, it is absolutely necessary for us to receive some form of requirements (specifications) from you upfront. The requirements do not have to be fancy but they do need to give us a further idea of what you want, therefore more details; in that way we understand what you're looking to have your BHO do.

If you would like to discuss your proposed project, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. If you would like us to sign an NDA, this is not a problem whatsoever. After we have a better understanding of what you are looking to do and some details from you we can usually pass on a fairly accurate price quotation and timeline for your proposed project. Thereafter, we will be happy to pass on a fixed cost proposal for you.


If you would like a price quotation please fill out our browser quote request form, this will then enable us to get a better idea of what you are looking to do and equally allow us to pass on a fairly accurate price quotation here and now. If you would like to ask some questions and/or get our further insight on your project endeavor feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and to the opportunity of earning your business.





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