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Web view

Last Updated: 9/19/2016

A web view control embeds a view into your app that renders web content using the Microsoft Edge rendering engine. Hyperlinks can also appear and function in a web view control.

Important APIs

Is this the right control?

Use a web view control to display richly formatted HTML content from a remote web server, dynamically generated code, or content files in your app package. Rich content can also contain script code and communicate between the script and your app's code.

Create a web view

Modify the appearance of a web view

WebView is not a Control subclass, so it doesn't have a control template. However, you can set various properties to control some visual aspects of the web view.

  • To constrain the display area, set the Width and Height properties.
  • To translate, scale, skew, and rotate a web view, use the RenderTransform property.
  • To control the opacity of the web view, set the Opacity property.
  • To specify a color to use as the web page background when the HTML content does not specify a color, set the DefaultBackgroundColor property.

Get the web page title

You can get the title of the HTML document currently displayed in the web view by using the DocumentTitle property.

Input events and tab order

Although WebView is not a Control subclass, it will receive keyboard input focus and participate in the tab sequence. It provides a Focus method, and GotFocus and LostFocus events, but it has no tab-related properties. Its position in the tab sequence is the same as its position in the XAML document order. The tab sequence includes all elements in the web view content that can receive input focus.

As indicated in the Events table on the WebView class page, web view doesn’t support most of the user input events inherited from UIElement, such as KeyDown, KeyUp, and PointerPressed. Instead, you can use InvokeScriptAsync with the JavaScript eval function to use the HTML event handlers, and to use window.external.notify from the HTML event handler to notify the application using WebView.ScriptNotify.

Web view provides several APIs for basic navigation: GoBack, GoForward, Stop, Refresh, CanGoBack, and CanGoForward. You can use these to add typical web browsing capabilities to your app.

To set the initial content of the web view, set the Source property in XAML. The XAML parser automatically converts the string to a Uri.

<!-- Source file is on the web. -->
<WebView x:Name="webView1" Source="http://www.contoso.com"/>

<!-- Source file is in local storage. -->
<WebView x:Name="webView2" Source="ms-appdata:///local/intro/welcome.html"/>

<!-- Source file is in the app package. -->
<WebView x:Name="webView3" Source="ms-appx-web:///help/about.html"/>

The Source property can be set in code, but rather than doing so, you typically use one of the Navigate methods to load content in code.

To load web content, use the Navigate method with a Uri that uses the http or https scheme.

webView1.Navigate("http://www.contoso.com");

To navigate to a URI with a POST request and HTTP headers, use the NavigateWithHttpRequestMessage method. This method supports only HttpMethod.Post and HttpMethod.Get for the HttpRequestMessage.Method property value.

To load uncompressed and unencrypted content from your app’s [LocalFolder]() or [TemporaryFolder]() data stores, use the Navigate method with a Uri that uses the [ms-appdata scheme](). The web view support for this scheme requires you to place your content in a subfolder under the local or temporary folder. This enables navigation to URIs such as ms-appdata:///local/folder/file.html and ms-appdata:///temp/folder/file.html . (To load compressed or encrypted files, see NavigateToLocalStreamUri.)

Each of these first-level subfolders is isolated from the content in other first-level subfolders. For example, you can navigate to ms-appdata:///temp/folder1/file.html, but you can’t have a link in this file to ms-appdata:///temp/folder2/file.html. However, you can still link to HTML content in the app package using the ms-appx-web scheme, and to web content using the http and https URI schemes.

webView1.Navigate("ms-appdata:///local/intro/welcome.html");

To load content from the your app package, use the Navigate method with a Uri that uses the ms-appx-web scheme.

webView1.Navigate("ms-appx-web:///help/about.html");

You can load local content through a custom resolver using the NavigateToLocalStreamUri method. This enables advanced scenarios such as downloading and caching web-based content for offline use, or extracting content from a compressed file.

Responding to navigation events

The web view control provides several events that you can use to respond to navigation and content loading states. The events occur in the following order for the root web view content: NavigationStarting, ContentLoading, DOMContentLoaded, NavigationCompleted

NavigationStarting - Occurs before the web view navigates to new content. You can cancel navigation in a handler for this event by setting the WebViewNavigationStartingEventArgs.Cancel property to true.

webView1.NavigationStarting += webView1_NavigationStarting;

private void webView1_NavigationStarting(object sender, WebViewNavigationStartingEventArgs args)
{
    // Cancel navigation if URL is not allowed. (Implemetation of IsAllowedUri not shown.)
    if (!IsAllowedUri(args.Uri))
        args.Cancel = true;
}

ContentLoading - Occurs when the web view has started loading new content.

webView1.ContentLoading += webView1_ContentLoading;

private void webView1_ContentLoading(WebView sender, WebViewContentLoadingEventArgs args)
{
    // Show status.
    if (args.Uri != null)
    {
        statusTextBlock.Text = "Loading content for " + args.Uri.ToString();
    }
}

DOMContentLoaded - Occurs when the web view has finished parsing the current HTML content.

webView1.DOMContentLoaded += webView1_DOMContentLoaded;

private void webView1_DOMContentLoaded(WebView sender, WebViewDOMContentLoadedEventArgs args)
{
    // Show status.
    if (args.Uri != null)
    {
        statusTextBlock.Text = "Content for " + args.Uri.ToString() + " has finished loading";
    }
}

NavigationCompleted - Occurs when the web view has finished loading the current content or if navigation has failed. To determine whether navigation has failed, check the IsSuccess and WebErrorStatus properties of the WebViewNavigationCompletedEventArgs class.

webView1.NavigationCompleted += webView1_NavigationCompleted;

private void webView1_NavigationCompleted(WebView sender, WebViewNavigationCompletedEventArgs args)
{
    if (args.IsSuccess == true)
    {
        statusTextBlock.Text = "Navigation to " + args.Uri.ToString() + " completed successfully.";
    }
    else
    {
        statusTextBlock.Text = "Navigation to: " + args.Uri.ToString() + 
                               " failed with error " + args.WebErrorStatus.ToString();
    }
}

Similar events occur in the same order for each iframe in the web view content:

Responding to potential problems

You can respond to potential problems with the content such as long running scripts, content that web view can't load, and warnings of unsafe content.

Your app might appear unresponsive while scripts are running. The LongRunningScriptDetected event occurs periodically while the web view executes JavaScript and provides an opportunity to interrupt the script. To determine how long the script has been running, check the ExecutionTime property of the WebViewLongRunningScriptDetectedEventArgs. To halt the script, set the event args StopPageScriptExecution property to true. The halted script will not execute again unless it is reloaded during a subsequent web view navigation.

The web view control cannot host arbitrary file types. When an attempt is made to load content that the web view can't host, the UnviewableContentIdentified event occurs. You can handle this event and notify the user, or use the Launcher class to redirect the file to an external browser or another app.

Similarly, the UnsupportedUriSchemeIdentified event occurs when a URI scheme that's not supported is invoked in the web content, such as fbconnect:// or mailto://. You can handle this event to provide custom behavior instead of allowing the default system launcher to launch the URI.

The UnsafeContentWarningDisplayingevent occurs when the web view shows a warning page for content that was reported as unsafe by the SmartScreen Filter. If the user chooses to continue the navigation, subsequent navigation to the page will not display the warning nor fire the event.

Handling special cases for web view content

You can use the ContainsFullScreenElement property and ContainsFullScreenElementChanged event to detect, respond to, and enable full-screen experiences in web content, such as full-screen video playback. For example, you may use the ContainsFullScreenElementChanged event to resize the web view to occupy the entirety of your app view, or, as the following example illustrates, put a windowed app in full screen mode when a full screen web experience is desired.

// Assume webView is defined in XAML
webView.ContainsFullScreenElementChanged += webView_ContainsFullScreenElementChanged;

private void webView_ContainsFullScreenElementChanged(WebView sender, object args)
{
    var applicationView = ApplicationView.GetForCurrentView();

    if (sender.ContainsFullScreenElement)
    {
        applicationView.TryEnterFullScreenMode();
    }
    else if (applicationView.IsFullScreenMode)
    {
        applicationView.ExitFullScreenMode();
    }
}

You can use the NewWindowRequested event to handle cases where hosted web content requests a new window to be displayed, such as a popup window. You can use another WebView control to display the contents of the requested window.

Use PermissionRequested event to enable web features that require special capabilities. These currently include geolocation, IndexedDB storage, and user audio and video (for example, from a microphone or webcam). If your app accesses user location or user media, you still are required to declare this capability in the app manifest. For example, an app that uses geolocation needs the following capability declarations at minimum in Package.appxmanifest:

  <Capabilities>
    <Capability Name="internetClient" />
    <DeviceCapability Name="location" />
  </Capabilities>

In addition to the app handling the PermissionRequested event, the user will have to approve standard system dialogs for apps requesting location or media capabilities in order for these features to be enabled.

Here is an example of how an app would enable geolocation in a map from Bing:

// Assume webView is defined in XAML
webView.PermissionRequested += webView_PermissionRequested;

private void webView_PermissionRequested(WebView sender, WebViewPermissionRequestedEventArgs args)
{
    if (args.PermissionRequest.PermissionType == WebViewPermissionType.Geolocation &&
        args.PermissionRequest.Uri.Host == "www.bing.com")
    {
        args.PermissionRequest.Allow();
    }
}

If your app requires user input or other asynchronous operations to respond to a permission request, use the Defer method of WebViewPermissionRequest to create a WebViewDeferredPermissionRequest that can be acted upon at a later time. See WebViewPermissionRequest.Defer.

If users must securely log out of a website hosted in a web view, or in other cases when security is important, call the static method ClearTemporaryWebDataAsync to clear out all locally cached content from a web view session. This prevents malicious users from accessing sensitive data.

Interacting with web view content

You can interact with the content of the web view by using the InvokeScriptAsync method to invoke or inject script into the web view content, and the ScriptNotify event to get information back from the web view content.

To invoke JavaScript inside the web view content, use the InvokeScriptAsync method. The invoked script can return only string values.

For example, if the content of a web view named webView1 contains a function named setDate that takes 3 parameters, you can invoke it like this.

string[] args = {"January", "1", "2000"};
string returnValue = await webView1.InvokeScriptAsync("setDate", args);

You can use InvokeScriptAsync with the JavaScript eval function to inject content into the web page.

Here, the text of a XAML text box (nameTextBox.Text) is written to a div in an HTML page hosted in webView1.

private async void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
{
    string functionString = String.Format("document.getElementById('nameDiv').innerText = 'Hello, {0}';", nameTextBox.Text);
    await webView1.InvokeScriptAsync("eval", new string[] { functionString });
}

Scripts in the web view content can use window.external.notify with a string parameter to send information back to your app. To receive these messages, handle the ScriptNotify event.

To enable an external web page to fire the ScriptNotify event when calling window.external.notify, you must include the page's URI in the ApplicationContentUriRules section of the app manifest. (You can do this in Microsoft Visual Studio on the Content URIs tab of the Package.appxmanifest designer.) The URIs in this list must use HTTPS, and may contain subdomain wildcards (for example, https://*.microsoft.com) but they cannot contain domain wildcards (for example, https://*.com and https://*.*). The manifest requirement does not apply to content that originates from the app package, uses an ms-local-stream:// URI, or is loaded using NavigateToString.

Accessing the Windows Runtime in a web view

You can use the AddWebAllowedObject method to inject an instance of a native class from a Windows Runtime component into the JavaScript context of the web view. This allows full access to the native methods, properties, and events of that object in the JavaScript content of that web view. The class must be decorated with the AllowForWeb attribute.

For example, this code injects an instance of MyClass imported from a Windows Runtime component into a web view.

private void webView_NavigationStarting(WebView sender, WebViewNavigationStartingEventArgs args) 
{ 
    if (args.Uri.Host == "www.contoso.com")  
    { 
        webView.AddWebAllowedObject("nativeObject", new MyClass()); 
    } 
}

For more info, see WebView.AddWebAllowedObject.

In addition, trusted JavaScript content in a web view can be allowed to directly access Windows Runtime APIs. This provides powerful native capabilities for web apps hosted in a web view. To enable this feature, the URI for trusted content must be whitelisted in the ApplicationContentUriRules of the app in Package.appxmanifest, with WindowsRuntimeAccess specifically set to "all".

This example shows a section of the app manifest. Here, a local URI is given access to the Windows Runtime.

  <Applications>
    <Application Id="App"
      ...

      <uap:ApplicationContentUriRules>
        <uap:Rule Match="ms-appx-web:///Web/App.html" WindowsRuntimeAccess="all" Type="include"/>
      </uap:ApplicationContentUriRules>
    </Application>
  </Applications>

Options for web content hosting

You can use the WebView.Settings property (of type WebViewSettings) to control whether JavaScript and IndexedDB are enabled. For example, if you use a web view to display strictly static content, you might want to disable JavaScript for best performance.

Capturing web view content

To enable sharing web view content with other apps, use the CaptureSelectedContentToDataPackageAsync method, which returns the selected content as a DataPackage. This method is asynchronous, so you must use a deferral to prevent your DataRequested event handler from returning before the asynchronous call is complete.

To get a preview image of the web view's current content, use the CapturePreviewToStreamAsync method. This method creates an image of the current content and writes it to the specified stream.

Threading behavior

By default, web view content is hosted on the UI thread on devices in the desktop device family, and off the UI thread on all other devices. You can use the WebView.DefaultExecutionMode static property to query the default threading behavior for the current client. If necessary, you can use the WebView(WebViewExecutionMode) constructor to override this behavior.

Note  There might be performance issues when hosting content on the UI thread on mobile devices, so be sure to test on all target devices when you change DefaultExecutionMode.

A web view that hosts content off the UI thread is not compatible with parent controls that require gestures to propagate up from the web view control to the parent, such as FlipView, ScrollViewer, and other related controls. These controls will not be able to receive gestures initiated in the off-thread web view. In addition, printing off-thread web content is not directly supported – you should print an element with WebViewBrush fill instead.

Recommendations

  • Make sure that the website loaded is formatted correctly for the device and uses colors, typography, and navigation that are consistent with the rest of your app.
  • Input fields should be appropriately sized. Users may not realize that they can zoom in to enter text.
  • If a web view doesn't look like the rest of your app, consider alternative controls or ways to accomplish relevant tasks. If your web view matches the rest of your app, users will see it all as one seamless experience.
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