Using Chromium Web Browser Control in WPF app

WebBroswer control in WPF by default uses IE 7 engine for rendering webpages. This may become an issue while displaying modern websites. There are two alternatives. One is to use browser emulation feature to use a different IE version browser instead of IE 7. How that can be done is explained in this post.

Using Browser Emulation for Web Browser control in WPF app

The other way is to use V8 engine(Chromium) used by Google Chrome. There are various libraries that let you use Chromium browser in your WPF project. We will be using the CefSharp library. You can read more about the various options available for using Chromium engine in WPF app.

CefSharp is a C# import for Cef framework. It is available as a Nuget package too.

Step 1: Install the CefSharp library

Install the CefSharp library using nuget. Here’s the link to the Nuget package.
https://www.nuget.org/packages/CefSharp.Wpf

You could refer to this article if you need assistance in adding a Nuget package to your project in Visual Studio.

Initialize the Cef browser in App.xaml.cs

You need to initialize the browser with some default settings. Here’s the code that you need to add in your project’s App.xaml.cs. This is required because of a known issue (#1634) that makes the screen flicker after the page is loaded.

public App()
{  
    //Perform dependency check to make sure all relevant resources are in our output directory.
    var settings = new CefSettings();
    settings.EnableInternalPdfViewerOffScreen();
    // Disable GPU in WPF and Offscreen examples until #1634 has been resolved
    settings.CefCommandLineArgs.Add("disable-gpu", "1");
    settings.CachePath = "cache";
    
    Cef.Initialize(settings, shutdownOnProcessExit: true, performDependencyCheck: true);
}

Add a reference to CefSharp in MainPage.xaml

Add a reference in MainPage.xaml before you could use it.

xmlns:cefSharp="clr-namespace:CefSharp.Wpf;assembly=CefSharp.Wpf"

Add the Chromium Web Browser control in your page

Now you can add the web browser control in your page. Here’s the code that is required.

<cefSharp:ChromiumWebBrowser
        x:Name="ChromiumWebBrowser"
        Address="http://www.google.com" />

That’s it you are done. Try deploying the app to see if it works.

Using Browser Emulation for Web Browser control in WPF app

WebBrowser control in WPF by default uses IE 7 browser engine to render webpages. This may not be desired in some situations as modern websites are not rendered correctly on IR 7. You may get other version of IE working with the WebBrowser control using the browser emulation feature in WPF. This is not a trivial thing to do and requires a couple of registry changes. Here’s how it can be done.

Step 1: Define an enum for the Different Browser Versions

We define an enum that contains the different IE browser versions.

public enum BrowserEmulationVersion
{
    Default = 0,
    Version7 = 7000,
    Version8 = 8000,
    Version8Standards = 8888,
    Version9 = 9000,
    Version9Standards = 9999,
    Version10 = 10000,
    Version10Standards = 10001,
    Version11 = 11000,
    Version11Edge = 11001
}

Step 2: Add Browser Emulation class

Add the following class ie InternetExplorerBrowserEmulation class to your project. We will be calling functions from this class to use browser emulation in our project.

public class InternetExplorerBrowserEmulation
{
    private const string InternetExplorerRootKey = @"Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer";
    private const string BrowserEmulationKey = InternetExplorerRootKey + @"\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION";


    public static int GetInternetExplorerMajorVersion()
    {
        int result;

        result = 0;

        try
        {
            RegistryKey key;

            key = Registry.LocalMachine.OpenSubKey(InternetExplorerRootKey);

            if (key != null)
            {
                object value;

                value = key.GetValue("svcVersion", null) ?? key.GetValue("Version", null);

                if (value != null)
                {
                    string version;
                    int separator;

                    version = value.ToString();
                    separator = version.IndexOf('.');
                    if (separator != -1)
                    {
                        int.TryParse(version.Substring(0, separator), out result);
                    }
                }
            }
        }
        catch (SecurityException)
        {
            // The user does not have the permissions required to read from the registry key.
        }
        catch (UnauthorizedAccessException)
        {
            // The user does not have the necessary registry rights.
        }

        return result;
    }

    public static bool SetBrowserEmulationVersion(BrowserEmulationVersion browserEmulationVersion)
    {
        bool result;

        result = false;

        try
        {
            RegistryKey key;

            key = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey(BrowserEmulationKey, true);

            if (key != null)
            {
                string programName;

                programName = Path.GetFileName(Environment.GetCommandLineArgs()[0]);

                if (browserEmulationVersion != BrowserEmulationVersion.Default)
                {
                    // if it's a valid value, update or create the value
                    key.SetValue(programName, (int)browserEmulationVersion, RegistryValueKind.DWord);
                }
                else
                {
                    // otherwise, remove the existing value
                    key.DeleteValue(programName, false);
                }

                result = true;
            }
        }
        catch (SecurityException)
        {
            // The user does not have the permissions required to read from the registry key.
        }
        catch (UnauthorizedAccessException)
        {
            // The user does not have the necessary registry rights.
        }

        return result;
    }

    public static bool SetBrowserEmulationVersion()
    {
        int ieVersion;
        BrowserEmulationVersion emulationCode;

        ieVersion = GetInternetExplorerMajorVersion();

        if (ieVersion >= 11)
        {
            emulationCode = BrowserEmulationVersion.Version11;
        }
        else
        {
            switch (ieVersion)
            {
                case 10:
                    emulationCode = BrowserEmulationVersion.Version10;
                    break;
                case 9:
                    emulationCode = BrowserEmulationVersion.Version9;
                    break;
                case 8:
                    emulationCode = BrowserEmulationVersion.Version8;
                    break;
                default:
                    emulationCode = BrowserEmulationVersion.Version7;
                    break;
            }
        }

        return SetBrowserEmulationVersion(emulationCode);
    }

    public static BrowserEmulationVersion GetBrowserEmulationVersion()
    {
        BrowserEmulationVersion result;

        result = BrowserEmulationVersion.Default;

        try
        {
            RegistryKey key;

            key = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey(BrowserEmulationKey, true);
            if (key != null)
            {
                string programName;
                object value;

                programName = Path.GetFileName(Environment.GetCommandLineArgs()[0]);
                value = key.GetValue(programName, null);

                if (value != null)
                {
                    result = (BrowserEmulationVersion)Convert.ToInt32(value);
                }
            }
        }
        catch (SecurityException)
        {
            // The user does not have the permissions required to read from the registry key.
        }
        catch (UnauthorizedAccessException)
        {
            // The user does not have the necessary registry rights.
        }

        return result;
    }


    public static bool IsBrowserEmulationSet()
    {
        return GetBrowserEmulationVersion() != BrowserEmulationVersion.Default;
    }
}

Step 3: Use the Browser Emulation class

Finally use the browser emulation class as follows. You could include the code for browser emulation in MainPage.xaml.cs constructor itself.

if (!InternetExplorerBrowserEmulation.IsBrowserEmulationSet())
{
  InternetExplorerBrowserEmulation.SetBrowserEmulationVersion();
}

Note: This works only if you change the browser version before loading any WebBrowser control.