Jun 18, 2009

Elementary my dear Watson

In my last post I was talking about some issues I found while trying to automate the process of launching  a web browser, navigating to a specific page and grabbing some results.

I do have a bunch of stickers with sayings: "Works on My Machine (tm)" but this time I could not even use one of them since even in my machine it refused to work :(. So, the goal of this post is to explain the reasons I got so much pain...

Since an image speak for 1000 words, here it is:

I am sure you already got it. As you can see I am running Vista x64 on my machine and, as explained here and here, when launching IE through Quick Launcher, the 32 bits version is the one that gets launched; by the other hand, when started through COM the bitness of the launcher defines which IE version gets started (32 or 64 bits).
In my case (remember, my first approach was to use a JScript script to automate IE) I was trying to start it from Windows console application (cmd.exe) that happens to be a 64 bit application. That's explain why IE insisted to offer me to install Silverlight; on IE 64 bit version I had not installed it (actually, unfortunately, as of today, Silverlight has support for this platform).

The next step was to figure out why my C# application (the one that hosts the WebBrowser control) was failing with the same symptoms. To be sincere, since I had already faced similar issues when using COM components on .Net applications in x64 machines, this one was a lot easier: Again, as explained here, by default VS sets your application to run on whichever processor architecture (regarding to bitness) you throw at it, i.e, it sets the "target platform" to "Any CPU":

That's mean that in a 64 bit machine (like mine) this application will run in 64 bit CLR, hence IE x64 being launched! Peace of cake :). All I had to do was to set this configuration to "x86". Finally my day would be a little less frustrating than I anticipated it to be.

Really fun, don't you agree?

For the next post I am planing to continue on this subject: 32 x 64 bits developer's pitfalls.

Have fun!


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