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WebSpy Browser URL Reporter

View the URLs loaded by Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator in real time

VBwire WebSpy is a freeware program for reporting the URLs loaded by both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator in real time. It demonstrates our DDClient and DDServer DDE components. The complete project source code is included, which you can use as the basis for your own browser URL monitor. It is not a ready made solution to your requirement to monitor internet usage.

WebSpy requires the VB5 runtime program and Common Controls. If it does not run properly on your computer please visit the Visual Basic runtime and controls page. You can go direct to the download area by clicking this link.

WebSpyDV is a version of WebSpy which uses the evaluation controls DDClDemo and DDSvDemo. These controls do not require a design time licence, but can monitor only one browser at a time. You can run WebSpyDV in the Visual Basic IDE, but not WebSpy unless you have the design time licences for DDServer and DDClient. You can run the compiled WebSpy.exe without the design time licences.

WebSpy is an example of an application for which DDE is more suitable than COM (ActiveX). WebSpy can run without a browser running. WebSpy or the browser(s) can be started first, WebSpy does not interfere with browsing in any way, either program can be terminated at any time without affecting the other.

The check boxes in the DDE status area show whether each browser is running. This is tested at regular intervals, as determined by the text box in the Browser check interval frame. The "DDE components" button shows the fly-out text box seen lower down this page. The four small boxes display the current URL and title of each browser, the larger area is updated in real time as the user browses the web.

According to the Spyglass specification, quoted strings should be enclosed with the escape sequence \", not just a double quote mark. Interestingly, Internet Explorer 5 will accept either but Netscape Navigator 4.7 only accepts the quote mark by itself. The 'Use \"' check box allows you to choose which convention WebSpy uses. It is examined only when a browser is first detected.

A note about Opera: If Opera is running WebSpy will probably report what is happening in Opera in both URL windows and ignore both IE and Netscape. Opera impersonates both the other browsers but does not implement much of the DDE interface.

WebSpy uses DDE to report on the URLs loaded by Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator

WebSpy must act as a DDE Server to be notified when the browser loads a new URL. The segment of the DDE status dialog below shows details of the two DDE Services, one for each browser. Each has a "WWW_URLEcho" Topic, to which the browsers poke details of the URLs they load.

The WebSpy flyout text box showing the DDServer ActiveX DDE component status.
	  There is a service for each browser, each with a WWW_URLEcho topic to which the
	  browser pokes data when a new URL is loaded

WebSpy determines whether the browsers are running by whether DDClient has succeeded in getting a conversation to request the current URL and page title. The details of the conversations are shown below.

The DDClient status showing conversations with both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator

WebSpy download area

Software File File size Kb
WebSpy browser URL monitor for IE and Netscape Navigator with source code 498
Visual Basic runtime files. If WebSpy does not run on your computer, go to Visual Basic runtime files

The program Setup.exe installs the program and Visual Basic project files into the directory of your choice. The DDClient and DDServer and demonstration components are installed in the system directory and registered. Icons are added to the Start Menu. To uninstall WebSpy, you can either use the Control Panel Add/Remove programs applet, or you can use the Uninstall Icon in the Start Menu.

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