How to get the property list and values of a control within a third-party Delphi application?

I'd like to get information about a third party application's controls such as a list of its properties and their values: something like RTTI information but for a third-party Delphi application.

I see that this is possible. For example TestComplete has the ObjectSpy window which can give many useful information about the control, including RTTI information. How can this be done ?

Edit: To explain why I'm investigating this issue... I'm a registered user of TestComplete/TestExecute and I do like... most of it. I can get over the minor things but the one major problem for me is their license verification system which requires me to have a physical computer (not a virtual machine) always on just for the sake of running a license server so that TestExecute can run at night. As I have basic testing needs (compare screenshots and check basic Delphi component's properties) I wondered how hard it would be to make my own private very simple "TestExecute-like" application.

Answers


When we want to take another application which is compiled with debug information and get stuff out of it at runtime, what we are dealing with is the problem of "how to write my own custom debugger/profiler/automated-test kernel".

TestComplete and other AutomatedQA programs contain a Debugger and Profiler Kernel which can start up, run and remotely control apps, and parse their Debug information in several formats, including the TurboDebugger TD32 information attached to these executables. Their profiling kernel also can see each object as it is created, and can iterate the RTTI-like debug information to determine that an object that was created is of a particular class type, and then see what properties exist in that object.

Now, TestComplete adds on top of the AQTime-level of stuff, the ability to introspect Window handles, and intuit from Window Handles, the Delphi class Names that are behind it. However, it's much easier for you (or me) to write a program which can tell you that the mouse is over a window handle that belongs to a TPanel, than to know which version of Delphi created that particular executable, what version of TPanel that is, then, and what properties it would contain, and to read those values back from a running program, which requires that you implement your own "debugger engine". I am not aware of any open source applications that you could even use to get a start writing your own debugger, and you certainly can't use the ones that are inside AQTime/TestComplete, or the one inside Delphi itself, in your own apps.

I could not write you a sample program to do this, but even if I could, it would require a lot of third-party library support. To see the window classes for a window handle which your mouse is over, look for how to implement something like the MS Spy++ utility.

An easy case is if your mouse is mousing over a window inside your own application. For that, see this about.com link, which simply uses RTTI.


To go further, I suggest you these relevant resources found here on SO


I strongly suggest you to port to Delphi this c++ project entitled Get Process Info with NtQueryInformationProcess: A hands on experience on using ReadProcessMemory to access the CommandLine used to launch another process.


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