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Changing the User Agent string in UWP WebView

2018 Oct 23, 9:32

There's no perfect way to change the user agent string for the UWP WebView (x-ms-webview in HTML, Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls.WebView in XAML, and Windows.Web.UI.Interop.WebViewControl in Win32) but there are two imperfect methods folks end up using.

The first is to call UrlMkSetSessionOption. This is an old public API that allows you to configure various arcane options including one that is the default user agent string for requests running through urlmon. This API is allowed by the Microsoft Store for UWP apps. The change it applies is process wide which has two potential drawbacks. If you want to be able to have different UA strings set for different requests from a WebView that's not really possible with this solution. The other drawback is if you're using out of process WebView, you need to ensure you're calling into UrlMkSetSessionOption in the WebView's process. You'll need to write third party WinRT that calls UrlMkSetSessionOption, create the out of proc WebView, navigate it to some trusted local page, use AddWebAllowedObject or provide that URI WinRT access, and call into your third party WinRT. You'll need to do that for any new WebView process you create.

The second less generally applicable solution is to use NavigateWithHttpRequestMessage and set the User-Agent HTTP header. In this case you get to control the scope of the user agent string changes but has the limitations that not all sub resource downloads will use this user agent string and for navigations you don't initiate you have to manually intercept and re-request being careful to transfer over all POST body state and HTTP headers correctly. That last part is not actually possible for iframes.

PermalinkCommentsuser-agent uwp webview

GoBack/GoForward in Win10 UWP WebView

2018 Oct 23, 9:18

The GoBack and GoForward methods on the UWP WebView (x-ms-webview in HTML, Windows.UI.Xaml.Controls.WebView in XAML, and Windows.Web.UI.Interop.WebViewControl in Win32) act the same as the Back and Forward buttons in the Edge browser. They don't necessarily change the top level document of the WebView. If inside the webview an iframe navigates then that navigation will be recorded in the forward/back history and the GoBack / GoForward call may result in navigating that iframe. This makes sense as an end user using the Edge browser since if I click a link to navigate one place and then hit Back I expect to sort of undo that most recent navigation regardless of if that navigation happened in an iframe or the top level document.

If that doesn't make sense for your application and you want to navigate forward or back ignoring iframe navigates, unfortunately there's no perfect workaround.

One workaround could be to try calling GoBack and then checking if a FrameNavigationStarting event fires or a NavigationStarting event fires. If a frame navigates then try calling GoBack again. There could be async races in this case since other navigates could come in and send you the wrong signal and interrupt your multi step GoBack operation.

You could also try keeping track of all top level document navigations and manually navigate back to the URIs you care about. However, GoBack and GoForward also restore some amount of user state (form fills etc) in addition to navigating. Manually calling navigate will not give this same behavior.

PermalinkCommentsuri uwp webview

Win10 UWP WebView AddWebAllowedObject details

2017 Sep 4, 3:09

The x-ms-webview HTML element has the void addWebAllowedObject(string name, any value) method and the webview XAML element has the void AddWebAllowedObject(String name, Object value) method. The object parameter is projected into the webview’s top-level HTML document’s script engine as a new property on the global object with property name set to the name parameter. It is not injected into the current document but rather it is projected during initialization of the next top-level HTML document to which the webview navigates.


If AddWebAllowedObject is called during a NavigationStarting event handler the object will be injected into the document resulting from the navigation corresponding to that event.

If AddWebAllowedObject is called outside of the NavigationStarting event handler it will apply to the navigation corresponding to the next explicit navigate method called on the webview or the navigation corresponding to the next NavigationStarting event handler that fires, whichever comes first.

To avoid this potential race, you should use AddWebAllowedObject in one of two ways: 1. During a NavigationStarting event handler, 2. Before calling a Navigate method and without returning to the main loop.

If called both before calling a navigate method and in the NavigationStarting event handler then the result is the aggregate of all those calls.

If called multiple times for the same document with the same name the last call wins and the previous are silently ignored.

If AddWebAllowedObject is called for a navigation and that navigation fails or redirects to a different URI, the AddWebAllowedObject call is silently ignored.

After successfully adding an object to a document, the object will no longer be projected once a navigation to a new document occurs.

WinRT access

If AddWebAllowedObject is called for a document with All WinRT access then projection will succeed and the object will be added.

If AddWebAllowedObject is called for a document which has a URI which has no declared WinRT access via ApplicationContentUriRules then Allow for web only WinRT access is given to that document.

If the document has Allow for web only WinRT access then projection will succeed only if the object’s runtimeclass has the Windows.Foundation.Metadata.AllowForWeb metadata attribute.

Object requirements

The object must implement the IAgileObject interface. Because the XAML and HTML webview elements run on ASTA view threads and the webview’s content’s JavaScript thread runs on another ASTA thread a developer should not create their non-agile runtimeclass on the view thread. To encourage end developers to do this correctly we require the object implements IAgileObject.

Property name

The name parameter must be a valid JavaScript property name, otherwise the call will fail silently. If the name is already a property name on the global object, that property is overwritten if the property is configurable. Non-configurable properties on the global object are not overwritten and the AddWebAllowedObject call fails silently. On success, the projected property is writable, configurable, and enumerable.


Some errors as described above fail silently. Other issues, such as lack of IAgileObject or lack of the AllowForWeb attribute result in an error in the JavaScript developer console.


Tweet from David Rousset

2016 Dec 6, 8:45
Creating an extension for all browsers: , , , & : https://www.davrous.com/2016/12/07/creating-an-extension-for-all-browsers-edge-chrome-firefox-opera-brave/ 

Let's Encrypt NearlyFreeSpeech.net Setup

2016 Feb 4, 2:48

2016-Nov-5: Updated post on using Let's Encrypt with NearlyFreeSpeech.net

I use NearlyFreeSpeech.net for my webhosting for my personal website and I've just finished setting up TLS via Let's Encrypt. The process was slightly more complicated than what you'd like from Let's Encrypt. So for those interested in doing the same on NearlyFreeSpeech.net, I've taken the following notes.

The standard Let's Encrypt client requires su/sudo access which is not available on NearlyFreeSpeech.net's servers. Additionally NFSN's webserver doesn't have any Let's Encrypt plugins installed. So I used the Let's Encrypt Without Sudo client. I followed the instructions listed on the tool's page with the addition of providing the "--file-based" parameter to sign_csr.py.

One thing the script doesn't produce is the chain file. But this topic "Let's Encrypt - Quick HOWTO for NSFN" covers how to obtain that:

curl -o domain.chn https://letsencrypt.org/certs/lets-encrypt-x1-cross-signed.pem

Now that you have all the required files, on your NFSN server make the directory /home/protected/ssl and copy your files into it. This is described in the NFSN topic provide certificates to NFSN. After copying the files and setting their permissions as described in the previous link you submit an assistance request. For me it was only 15 minutes later that everything was setup.

After enabling HTTPS I wanted to have all HTTP requests redirect to HTTPS. The normal Apache documentation on how to do this doesn't work on NFSN servers. Instead the NFSN FAQ describes it in "redirect http to https and HSTS". You use the X-Forwarded-Proto instead of the HTTPS variable because of how NFSN's virtual hosting is setup.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Forwarded-Proto} !https
RewriteRule ^.*$ https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Turning on HSTS is as simple as adding the HSTS HTTP header. However, the description in the above link didn't work because my site's NFSN realm isn't on the latest Apache yet. Instead I added the following to my .htaccess. After I'm comfortable with everything working well for a few days I'll start turning up the max-age to the recommended minimum value of 180 days.

Header set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=3600;" 

Finally, to turn on CSP I started up Fiddler with my CSP Fiddler extension. It allows me to determine the most restrictive CSP rules I could apply and still have all resources on my page load. From there I found and removed inline script and some content loaded via http and otherwise continued tweaking my site and CSP rules.

After I was done I checked out my site on SSL Lab's SSL Test to see what I might have done wrong or needed improving. The first time I went through these steps I hadn't included the chain file which the SSL Test told me about. I was able to add that file to the same files I had already previously generated from the Let's Encrypt client and do another NFSN assistance request and 15 minutes later the SSL Test had upgraded me from 'B' to 'A'.

PermalinkCommentscertificate csp hsts https lets-encrypt nearlyfreespeech.net

Tweet from David_Risney

2016 Jan 27, 9:57
FCC proposes replacing cable card with software based equivalent. Would be amazing if it could happen. http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/01/cable-lobby-is-really-mad-about-fccs-set-top-box-competition-plan/ …

Retweet of kumailn

2016 Jan 11, 7:30
I got to be in an ep of @thexfiles. While shooting late I got to record a casual convo w @GillianA & @davidduchovny. http://www.feralaudio.com/55-kumail-talks-to-david-duchovny-and-gillian-anderson-on-the-set-of-the-x-files/ …

Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Oct 19, 9:29
Klingon Forehead Problem: TOS no makeup, no ridges. TNG+ ridges. ENT S4 retcons the answer of virus http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/klingon-foreheads.htm …

laughingsquid: ‘Everything Is a Remix’ Celebrates Its Five-Year...

2015 Sep 17, 3:05


‘Everything Is a Remix’ Celebrates Its Five-Year Anniversary With a Remastered Release and New Merchandise


laughingsquid: ‘Everything Is a Remix’ Celebrates Its Five-Year...

2015 Sep 17, 3:05


‘Everything Is a Remix’ Celebrates Its Five-Year Anniversary With a Remastered Release and New Merchandise


Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Apr 14, 9:51
Time of year we're reminded that Intuit spends millions to ensure we have to do our own taxes - for sake of freedom! http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/technology/personaltech/turbotax-or-irs-as-tax-preparer-intuit-has-a-favorite.html …

Retweet of XFilesFiles

2015 Mar 23, 9:04
THE X-FILES IS BACK!!!!! http://www.hitfix.com/the-fien-print/no-conspiracy-fox-resurrects-the-x-files-for-6-episode-run …

Retweet of newsycombinator

2015 Feb 24, 6:31
Proving that Android’s, Java’s and Python’s sorting algorithm is broken http://envisage-project.eu/proving-android-java-and-python-sorting-algorithm-is-broken-and-how-to-fix-it/ …

A Fascinating Look At The World's Best Super Smash Bros. Players

2014 Apr 21, 10:23
PermalinkCommentsvideo-game video nintendo documentary

URI functions in Windows Store Applications

2013 Jul 25, 1:00PermalinkCommentsc# c++ javascript technical uri windows windows-runtime windows-store

lohikaappaus: same Classic.

2013 May 17, 12:07




PermalinkCommentsxfiles scully humor x-files

wilwheaton: owlturdcomix: Thoughts I have instead of smart...

2013 May 13, 2:31



Thoughts I have instead of smart thoughts.


Owl Turd is rapidly becoming one of my favourite webcomics.

This may have been a Serial Experiments Lain episode synopsis.

PermalinkCommentshumor map

A Slower Speed of Light Official Trailer — MIT Game Lab (by...

2012 Nov 13, 7:41

A Slower Speed of Light Official Trailer — MIT Game Lab (by Steven Schirra)

“A Slower Speed of Light is a first-person game in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. A custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics engine allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect; the searchlight effect; time dilation; Lorentz transformation; and the runtime effect.

A production of the MIT Game Lab.

Play now for Mac and PC! http://gamelab.mit.edu/games/a-slower-speed-of-light/

PermalinkCommentsscience game video-game mit 3d light-speed

Ben Goldacre’s TED talk on publication bias, drug...

2012 Sep 28, 3:55

drug companies hiding the results of clinical trials.

(via I did a new talk at TED, on drug companies and hidden data.)

PermalinkCommentsscience video ted

theatlantic: How the 8.5” x 11” Piece of Paper Got Its...

2012 Sep 19, 6:37


How the 8.5” x 11” Piece of Paper Got Its Size

Why do we use a paper size that is so unfriendly for the basic task of reading? According to a very interesting post by Paul Stanley, the rough dimensions of office paper evolved to accommodate handwriting and typewriters with monospaced fonts, both of which rendered many fewer characters per line. “Typewriters,” he explains, “produced 10 or 12 characters per inch: so on (say) 8.5 inch wide paper, with 1 inch margins, you had 6.5 inches of type, giving … around 65 to 78 characters.” This, he says, is “pretty close to ideal.”

Read more. [Image: Picsfive/Shutterstock]

PermalinkCommentstechnical paper history
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