Shell Ace is a library for the Delphi development environment allowing you to quickly create all kinds of extensions for Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer, such as context menus or tooltips. You do not need to spend time on studying tons of documentation and delve into the peculiarities of its implementations in various Windows versions in order to create a shell extension. Just download and install the Shell Ace library and develop all your extensions in the object-oriented style you are used to.
Shell Ace allows you to create the following shell extensions:
- Auto play handler
The extension allows you to implement the automatic playback mechanism for files from external media, for instance, audio tracks from CDs.
- Browser helper object
The extension makes it possible to respond to events occurring in Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer, such as opening a new page or loading a page completely.
- Context menu handler
The extension allows you to extend the context menu opened with a right click on a file or a folder.
- Data object handler
The extension allows you to implement additional formats a file will be presented in when it is copied to the clipboard in Explorer. For instance, this extension will allow you to copy an image file as an image right from Explorer.
- Desk band handler
The extension allows you to add an additional toolbar to the Windows desktop taskbar that can have anything on it, for instance, weather information or audio playback buttons.
- Disc cleanup handler
The extension allows you to enhance the features of the Disc Cleanup utility included in the Windows operating system.
- Drag and drop menu handler
The extension allows you to extend the context menu opened when you move an object using the right mouse button.
- Drop target handler
The extension allows you to define the action that occurs when you drag and drop an object onto a file.
- Explorer band handler
The extension allows you to add a horizontal or vertical bar to Internet Explorer where you can add any information or control elements.
- Explorer command handler
The extension allows you to add additional buttons to the Explorer toolbar in Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7.
- Hook handler
The extension allows you to intercept user operation with folders and printers in Explorer and also intercept calls of the ShellExecute function in Windows versions up to XP.
- Icon handler
The extension allows you to define the icon of a file dynamically.
- InfoTip handler
The extension allows you to define the text of a tooltip that appears when you move the mouse pointer over a file.
- MIME filter handler
The extension allows you to intercept loading files with a certain MIME type by the WebBrowser system component within one application or the entire system.
- IE command handler
The extension allows you to add an additional button to the Internet Explorer toolbar.
- IE context menu handler
The extension allows you to add an additional menu item to the Internet Explorer context menu.
- Overlay icon handler
The extension allows you to add a small image over existing icons in the lower left corner similar to the image representing a shortcut.
- Preview handler
The extension allows you to display the contents of a file in the Explorer preview pane.
- Property sheet handler
The extension allows you to add an additional tab to the Properties dialog box of an object.
- Property store handler
The extension allows you to redefine the values displayed in the Explorer columns or add new columns in Windows XP and provide the mechanism of extracting the properties of a file in Windows Vista or later.
- Protocol handler
The extension allows you to use the WebBrowser system component to loads files from new protocols within one application or the entire system.
- Send to handler
The extension allows you to add additional items to the Send to submenu.
- Thumbnail handler
The extension creates small images based on the contents of files and allows Explorer to show these file thumbnails.
- Tool band handler
The extension allows you to add an additional toolbar to Internet Explorer.
- URL search hook handler
The extension allows you to process entering a string that is not a URL into the address field in IE.
The Shell Ace library includes a plug-in for Delphi IDE that is integrated into the development environment and makes it possible to generate shell extension frameworks literally within a couple of mouse clicks. It makes shell development considerably easier and faster. Besides generating frameworks, the plug-in allows you to create a demo sample for each of extension types you create, which makes it easier to learn about the features of the library.
The library has been developed with the peculiarities of the latest Windows versions taken into account, which makes it possible to create modern user-friendly shell extensions. Shell Ace allows you to create shell extensions practically in any version of Delphi starting from Delphi 7 and up to Delphi 10.3 Rio. Delphi XE2 or later allows you to develop 64-bit versions of extensions.
To install the Shell Ace library on your computer, you should run the installation software. It allows you to select the folder all library files will be saved to. It is also possible to select the Delphi versions the library will be installed in. The installation software will automatically detect the versions of Delphi installed on your computer and show them as a list.
Currently, the following Delphi versions are supported:
- Delphi 7
- Delphi 2005
- Delphi 2006
- Delphi 2007
- Delphi 2009
- Delphi 2010
- Delphi XE
- Delphi XE2
- Delphi XE3
- Delphi XE4
- Delphi XE5
- Delphi XE6
- Delphi XE7
- Delphi XE8
- Delphi 10 Seattle
- Delphi 10.1 Berlin
- Delphi 10.2 Tokyo
- Delphi 10.3 Rio
The Shell Ace library includes a special extension of the Windows shell called RegExtension allowing you to register any shell extensions in the system. This extension adds two new commands to the context menu of a dll file: Register and Unregister. They are responsible for registering and unregistering an extension, respectively. Also, these commands are duplicated on the Explorer toolbar in Windows XP and Windows 7.
If you want this extension to be also installed during the installation of Shell Ace, enable the Register extension registration tool option. Windows Vista and later systems will show the User Account Control dialog box if you register the extension during the installation. You have to confirm the action to successfully register the extension.
If you have purchased a commercial license for using Shell Ace, you should enable the Install source pas files option to install the source code. The License Key field will become available in this case. To avoid mistakes in the key, copy the contents of your key to the clipboard and paste it into the input field.
After you select all the options you need, click the Install button. If the installation is successfully completed, you will see the corresponding message and the program will be automatically closed. If an error occurs during the installation, you can contact the technical support providing the description of the error. The most common error is the inability to create a file. If there is a dll file mentioned in the description of the error, it means that Windows Explorer loaded the RegExtension extension file. The easiest way to deal with the problem is restart the operating system. If there is a bpl file mentioned in the description of the error, it means that you have Delphi running and it would not allow the bpl file to be overwritten. Just close the Delphi environment and repeat the installation.
Besides copying all necessary files, the installation software also integrates the library into the installed versions of the Delphi during the installation. The integration includes installing the IDE extension into the development environment, which makes it possible to create shell extension frameworks and adding paths where library files are located to the Library path list.