Hyperlink columns: displaying the link in a browser

A while back I posted an article on how to use the WPF DataGridHyperlinkColumn. There, the web page referenced by the hyperlink was displayed in the application’s own window, using WPF’s internal web browser. This browser has a lot of limitations, and it’s more usual for links like these to lead to the page being displayed in the user’s favourite web browser.

This post shows the modifications we need to make to have this happen.

The first thing we need to do (assuming we don’t want the page to show up in the application’s own window as well) is convert all uses of the NavigationWindow back to a normal Window. This is fairly safe to do by using a global find and replace in Visual Studio. Typically, NavigationWindow is used only in the XAML file and in the behind code for this file (where it serves as the base class for the MainWindow class). This will prevent the web page from appearing in the application itself.

To get the link to show up in the default browser, we need to add an explicit event handler to the DataGridHyperlinkColumn. If we modify the hyperlink column we used in our earlier example of a comic book database application, the XAML now looks like this:

                                <DataGridHyperlinkColumn  Header="ComicVine" Binding="{Binding ComicVine}"
                                        ContentBinding="{Binding ComicVine, Converter={StaticResource ComicVineConverter}}"
                                            <EventSetter Event="Hyperlink.Click" Handler="WebPageClick"/>

The properties of the hyperlink column itself are the same as before. The change is that we’ve added an ElementStyle section, in which we’ve provided a link to a handler for the Hyperlink.Click event. This handler is in the MainWindow class and looks like this:

    private void WebPageClick(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
      Hyperlink link = e.OriginalSource as Hyperlink;

This code retrieves the hyperlink that was clicked, and then starts an external process by calling Process.Start() with the hyperlink as the argument. This uses Windows’ association of file type to application, so if your default browser is, say, Google Chrome, then sending a URI to Process.Start() will cause Chrome to be started and sent the URI to display.

In order for this code to work, you’ll need a couple of ‘using’ statements at the top:

using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Windows.Documents;

That’s all there is to it.

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