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What's new in HTML Executable

HTML Executable 2024 is an important major release with improvements in all areas.

The full change history is available below.

Version 2024.1

  • Added: Support for dark mode in dialog HTML pages.
  • Copy/paste context menu is now enabled for fields in dialog HTML pages (so that you can paste the registration key for instance)
  • Fixed: Issue where users (without the no branding option) couldn’t compile due to a customized About dialog box.
  • Fixed: Issue with a blank white page appearing during software initialization when using Web2view engine and dark mode or a dark skin. Now it’s the default background color of the skin that is displayed.
  • Fixed: Random Browse Sequence issue.
  • Updated PDF viewer engine.
  • Minor Improvements.

Version 2024.0

New Chromium-based HTML rendering engines: CEF and WebView2

  • HTML Executable has now more powerful HTML rendering engines based on the Google’s Chromium project (WebKit/Blink + V8 JavaSript engines). Thus, applications made with HTML Executable have native support for HTML 5 and CSS 3, and they do not depend on the Trident/Webbrowser engine anymore. This was made possible thanks to the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) project or Microsoft WebView2.
  • We dropped the three-type project choice: HTML Executable now features a single project type where you can choose the HTML rendering engine you want for your project: CEF or WebView2.
  • When using the Chromium CEF engine, HTML Executable generates single and stand-alone EXE files. They can be compressed with an EXE packer like UPX (can be downloaded optionally through the Web Update tool). EXE files are large because the CEF engine has a large size: it requires about 60 Mb.
  • There is an option to keep CEF runtime files outside the EXE file. However, they must be installed separately (an installer is available in the Redist subfolder of HTML Executable).
  • You can also choose to use Microsoft WebView2 engine. Unlike CEF, WebView2 does not require that Chromium engine files be included in each executable file generated with HTML Executable, which allows for the creation of lighter EXE files. Considering that Windows 11 includes the WebView2 engine by default and it is automatically installed by Microsoft on Windows 10 and older versions, the process is streamlined. If WebView2 is not installed on the end user’s computer, a warning with installation instructions will be displayed. The installer of WebView2 can also be provided to your end users.
  • New special protocols are available in addition to our usual target parameters:
    heopenit:// + virtual path to the file you want to open in the external application associated to its type (for instance, heopenit://mydoc.doc will extract and open mydoc.doc in Microsoft Word).
    heopenext:// + path to an external file you want to open in the external application associated to its type (a file that is not compiled into the application but in the same folder as the EXE file).
    heexternal:// + a URL, a path to an application: lets you start the associated application.
  • HTML dialog boxes such as the About box or Nag screen in publications had to be rewritten.
  • Video playing support: with WebView2, HTML Executable can play video streams directly in webpages thanks to the HTML5 video tag. Most video formats compatible with Edge can be played, excluding certain non-web codecs or formats such as AVI files. However, WARNING: if you choose CEF as the rendering engine, HTML Executable provides support only for open-source audio and video codecs: WEBM, WEBA, OGG. MP4 video format with H264 codec is not enabled in Chromium builds, because this format requires licensing. We can provide custom CEF runtime builds for customers who want MP4 support in their publications. Alternatively, MP4 files with AV1 video codec and MP3 audio codec will play fine in CEF applications.
  • HTML Executable can play audio files directly in webpages thanks to the HTML5 audio tag. Supported formats are MP3, WEBA, OGG.
  • Large video and audio files can either be compiled inside the EXE file (not recommended due to EXE size limit) or kept outside the EXE file (for instance, in the same folder as the EXE file): HTML Executable is able to detect them and play them. Moreover, to prevent end users from copying your video and audio files, HTML Executable can encrypt these media assets to secure them. Only your compiled HTML app will be able to play these files.
  • Old Flash support by using the last Chromium version that offers it: in the HTML rendering page of HTML Executable, you can choose the CEF version 87 in “Rendering Engine” (and provide the correct pepper Flash player DLL component, not shipped with HTML Executable). This is not recommended as Flash is discontinued. Besides, old Flash content can still be played with Ruffle.
  • HTML 5 canvas is fully supported: you can create games based on HTML5, compile them and distribute them as secure Windows apps.
  • Full screen for video playing is supported.
  • An interesting debugging feature is available: the Developer Tools. You may access the Chromium debugging tools in live at runtime (when activated, right click on a page and choose “Show Developer Tools”). This feature must first be enabled in the HTML rendering page of HTML Executable: tick “DeveloperTools“.
  • See our Main Demonstration for HTML5 demonstrations. You can either change the engine as you want.

Modern Features

  • New UI editor to create customized toolbars, menu bars, ribbons for your ebooks and compiled HTML apps… Associate actions to controls, define their properties…
  • New option to create a pure browser application: no other pre-defined UI item (GUI application) is added, except the browser component.
  • New skin engine and option not to use any skin at all (Windows default app look).
  • Support for dark and light themes (through the use of 2 different skins). HTML Executable can automatically choose the theme according to the user’s system preference.
  • New Windows 11 (dark and light) skins.
  • Improved high DPI support of HTML Executable and publications: UI items are properly scaled according to monitor DPI, new vector graphics (SVG).
  • SVG is now used for control images. An image list editor is shipped with HTML Executable to manage SVG files used in your project.
  • The search engine is based on JavaScript and produces instant search results. Excerpts of the searched pages are displayed and the keywords are highlighted.
  • Publications can show a splash screen with a progress bar while they are loading.
  • Animated GIF can be used for splash screens.
  • New option in Loading Screen: Replace initialization dialog box by the splash screen combined with a progress bar. You can even customize the appearance of the splash screen’s progress bar.
  • Improved multi-threading support: publications are compiled fast and they load fast.
  • Improved PDF viewer engine.
  • Security profiles now work in popup and secondary windows.
  • Relative paths are now stored in projects and no more absolute paths. This simplifies the process of transferring projects and source files to other computers or remote build environments
  • Support for Enky CT dongles.
  • Updated HTML Executable Activation Kit available for free to registered users (modern application based on Laravel).

Compatibility issues

HTML Executable 2024 can import projects made with previous 4.x versions. However, some issues may occur.

Be sure to make an initial backup of your existing projects.

  • We dropped support for Trident engine. For Windows 11 and 10, Microsoft ended development of Internet Explorer and its associated Trident engine (except security fixes). When importing an HTML Executable 4.x project, the engine is automatically set to Chromium.
  • We dropped the project types: no HTML Viewer/ IE Webbrowser / Self-Extracting publications anymore.
  • Custom toolbar buttons and menus from HTML Executable 4.x projects may not always properly be converted to the new UI editor. Please review them.
  • New skin engine: old skins are no more compatible. HTML Executable 2024 comes with a new set of skins. A new skin editor is also available.
  • Dialog boxes in HTML format are automatically replaced (see below).
  • Dialog boxes are now in HTML5 / UTF-8 format.
  • “Look” and associated CSS were modified. We use the Bulma CSS framework now.
  • Custom dialog boxes are currently ignored.
  • Macros script has been removed.

Due to the switch to Chromium, dialog boxes were inevitably replaced by new ones. To prevent loss of data when you load a project saved with a 4.x version, HTML Executable will extract your previous system HTML pages and resource strings to XML/HTML files and store them in a zip archive. This Zip archive is created in the same folder as your .HEPX project file and named [project filename] This backup operation can be disabled in the Environment Options if you wish.

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