Re: XUL mailinglists

From: Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:55:26 -0400

Michael Wechner wrote:
> Hi
> Please apologize for being a bit off-topic, but
> what mailing lists or other information sources are people using
> on this list to gather information on XUL.
> I have the book creating applications with Mozilla and also checked on
> xulplanet, mozdev (projects) and mozilla itself (IRC), but somehow I am
> not able
> to find the information I would like to.
> Any pointers are very much appreciated.

I'm subscribed to the mozilla newsgroups but they are mostly useless as
the questions are generally very high level. Weirdly enough, I find
bugzilla to have a lot more information for low level details (it's a

The other resources that I use are (nice and growing fast) (goldmine!) (very nice) (the real stuff)

the best information is captured by simply looking at how other
extensions do things (including Firefox's own stuff!)... just unpack the
jar files that you have in your /extensions folder in your firefox
profile and look at how they do things. [even if you find examples of
problems that get migrated over (or silly code that doesn't do anything)
just because people don't know what they are doing]

One resource that you *must* know read if you are into any serious
Javascript programming is

and most notably

which shows why Javascript is really closer to Scheme/Lisp than it is to
Java (and Piggy Bank makes use of pretty nice
continuation-passing-style, which is a typical Scheme design pattern and
I'm beginning to feel the lack of closures in Java myself ;-)

Another incredible resource is the 'extension developer's extension'

which has an incredibly useful yet extremely simple XUL editor and
interactive Javascript shell, which is way more useful than the regular
Javascript Console.

I also heavily use Firefox's own DOM Inspector... which has a pretty
hidden feature that most miss: if you open the DOM Inspector, the "file"
menu, rather unintuitively, changes and now allows you to inspect
windows starting from the root of the XUL node and not just from the
#document root (which is the content of the <browser> XUL element in the
Firefox page). You can even inspect the inspector itself!

Careful though: the inspector shows you XUL DOM resulting from the
merging of all the various XUL overlays, so it might not be helpful in
case your extension is not showing up and you have problems.

Also, don't forget to turn your Firefox into debug mode, read more about
it at

Hope this helps.

Stefano Mazzocchi
Research Scientist                 Digital Libraries Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology            location: E25-131C
77 Massachusetts Ave                   telephone: +1 (617) 253-1096
Cambridge, MA  02139-4307              email: stefanom at mit . edu
Received on Wed Sep 14 2005 - 15:51:08 EDT

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