I have some questions.

I need to create an extension with a left sidebar and a toolbar for ie6 and ie7 like i do with firefox.

What language should i use and where can i find some tutorials from scratch for that

Is it possible to create an IE extension with just xml and javascript like in firefox and once again are there some examples

It seems to be so difficult compared to firefox and so difficult to find tutorials.

Are Ie6 extensions are compatible with ie7 if not, is it a simple xml file to change or they are implemented in an entirely different way.

Thanks in advance, i really need some help.

Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto


Hi Doug, I would rethink what you want to do with that FF extension.

You will find the MSDN documentation for IE Development at

Suggest you use C++ as your language of choice although toolbars and side bars (aka Explorer Bars) can be built/implemented with html/script/xml quite easily....depends what you want to achieve. BHOs and toolbars can be disabled quite easily with user settings, so Command Bar buttons/menu extensions, Explorer Bars and context menu extensions are the method of choice 4 me.

Unlike the FF toolbar, the IE toolbar is user configurable, so users can change their layout to maximise screen height. Modern screens have a higher aspect ratio, leaving unused screen width for side bar use. Side bars can utilise this additional screen width without reducing the web page viewing area, making for a better web experience for users. IMHO Side Bars are the extension of choice.

I would expect that it would take a developer around 6 months to develope, test and implement an IE toolbar/BHO from scratch. You will find valuable web platform and browser usage statistics at


Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto


Hi Rob and thank you for this answer.

Yes, you are right is the kind of extension i would like to do for ie.

C++ is definitely not the language of choice for me (not in my skills at all) but html/script/xml yes.

I just want to add a custom toolbar with a search bar and a button that could open a side bar where the results of my search should appear...Nothing really special and very easy to do with firefox.

So u say it could be possible and quite easy to do that with html/script/xml, but where could i find a very simple example just to see the structure and all the steps of the building

i already knew the MSDN doc but the example i have found were incomplete and in C++...i still searching.

An other important thing, can u confirm me that i could make an extension compatible with ie6 and ie7.

Thanks again for your help.

Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto


Hi Doug,

HTML Toolbars - start by downloading and installing the Alexa toolbar ( It is the classic html IE toolbar, although it does use a satelite BHO to hook into the browser to effect browser and wininet methods. You would have to use the same architecture (html toolbar + COM BHO) to execute the showbrowserbar method to open your side bar and to monitor the current document domain in the main window. IE7 has a security setting to enable scripting of the Browser object, so this could defeat your toolbar methods.

Also download yourself a PE (Portable Executable) file viewer (reshacker) to view the internals of how the Alexa toolbar works.

Side Bars - Have a look at my listings url=iepanels

Particuarly the GahooYoogle side bar - url=iepanels/ txtProvider=379

The A9 side bar - url=iepanels/ txtProvider=387

Mozilla compatible side bars - url=iepanels/MozillaSideBars.asp

I have created a Mahalo side bar and should have it posted to the site in the next few days. You will find my contact details in my profile here. Send me yours and I we can set up an IM dialog.

IEx toolbar compatibility - Most compatibility issues with IE toolbars are related to security and privacy issues. IE7 has a built-in popup blocker and the Search Box, which makes toolbars developed for earlier versions redundant or superflurious(sp ). Toolbars and BHO's can be defeated by the user setting to 'Enable third-party browser extensions'. Explorer Bars are un-effected by this setting.

IE6 SP2 and higher use the Addons Manager which can disable any Addon extension.

IE7 has removed the Search Bar and is replaced by the setting "Enable web sites to use the side search pane".... there are some issues about this arrangement that has been reported by users, commonly called IE7 Side Search Pain. I have a work-around for this that is in beta, so we could discuss this via IM.

The built in popup blocker of IE7 may defeat your toolbars attempts to open the Side Search pane with the showbrowserbar method. You will have to use a new Side Bar entry in the registry with a different GUID to the built-in search pane.

Toolbars can't be displayed in Kiosk mode, Side bars can. The thing I don't like about the Mahalo extension for Firefox is that the toolbar occupies a complete line on the FF toolbar, reducing the available screen height for web page display. Also I don't like the idea that it is monitoring my surfing habits in the _contents frame.

Cross-browser compatibility - You will see from my listings that side bars are compatible across IE v5 and greater, Firefox, Netscape, Sea Monkey and the Opera browsers. The side bars can easily also be deployed for installation to other MSIE browsers - AOL, Avant, and the Green Browser.

Conclusions - Side Bars are Go, toolbars are No!


Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto


Thank you so much Rob. I will look at all these stuffs in the next few days.

Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto

Adrian Ber


Very comprehensive explanations.

One thing missing.

I try to develop a sidebar using html/js and I want to access the document from the main window. Any idea how can I do this

Re: Internet Explorer Extension Development IE extension howto


Another option for writing a BHO is C#/.NET, you can find an example here: