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Issue 7.2


Implementing WinHTTP in REALBasic

Navigating through proxy-servers using Windows native API

Issue: 7.2 (January/February 2009)
Author: Mattias Sandström
Author Bio: Intermediate
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 47,892
Starting Page Number: 24
Article Number: 7210
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Excerpt of article text...

During my years programming in REALbasic I have always been able to achieve my goals using the native framework or third-party plugins. Commercial plugins from Monkeybread Software or Einhugur have provided functionality to many of my projects and delivered functionality not available in the REALBasic framework. Investing in third-party plugins has been an economical way to focus your most valuable asset -- time -- on those things that makes your product a success and to leverage the knowledge of others.


My company is developing a companion product to a Windows-only application and the rationale of using REALbasic for Windows-only software is to avoid the problems of installation and relying on other runtimes and frameworks. (Unfortunately, the current version of REALbasic no longer creates single-EXE applications, but discussing the single-EXE approach is opening a big can of worms and I will close this debate for this article by saying that during the last two years our users have been able to run our software on more than 25,000 computers without any problems.) The software itself is used to get certified and shows hands-on questions requiring the use of the main product to answer. Our application is a simple fire-and-forget app only used when taking the certification questions and you should ideally only need to use it once (see Figure 1 for a screenshot of the app).

About 18 months ago some of the users started to ask why the software did not support certain kind of proxies when connecting over the Internet. (See the "What is a proxy?" sidebar for more on proxies.) Our software was then using the standard HTTPSecureSocket from the REALbasic framework to communicate with a central server located on the Internet and the communication needs to pass the customers' proxy-solutions. When the HTTPSecureSocket finally supported proxies using the HTTPProxyAddress and HTTPProxyPort properties we were able to include proxy support in the software, supporting proxies that are either transparent to the user or using basic user-authentication. Some problems with the AuthenticationRequired event not firing properly required some workarounds, but the implementation was rather clean despite this.

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