How to make a Hello World application using XULRunner

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Revision as of 15:53, 13 December 2006 by Mylau (talk | contribs) (Introduction)
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Note: This page is still under construction


This tutorial is designed for people who have never touched XUL or XULRunner before and allow them to create a Hello World application on XULRunner. This tutorial will guide users in such a way that it will show them how to create their first application without being overwhelmed with details.

This guide will also help start the new pioneers of XULRunner understand this technology and platform enough to begin more complicated applications.

Getting XULRunner package

To start off, you need to have the XULRunner package installed onto your computer. The packages can be found on this website

Setting up an application file structure

First set up the application file structure to the following:


For more information about this section please visit the following link: File/Folder Structure

Setting up the application.ini file

Create a file called application.ini in the xulapp/ directory.

The following is a sample application.ini file.

 Name=Hello World Application
 Copyright=Copyright (c) 2006

To find more information about this file, click on the following link: application.ini File

Setting up the chrome.manifest file

Create a file called chrome.manifest in the xulapp/chrome/ directory.

For this example, the chrome.manifest file contains the following information:

 content myapp file:content/

To find more information about this file, click on the following link: chrome.manifest File

Setting up the prefs.js file

Create a file called prefs.js in the xulapp/defaults/preferences directory.

The following was used for this simple application.

pref("toolkit.defaultChromeURI", "chrome://myapp/content/main.xul");

The pref function needs to be passed in two arguements. In this scenario, this document provided an explaination on what those two arguements are:

  • toolkit.defaultChromeURI is a preferences which allows a simple XULRunner-based application to open a new window
  • chrome://myapp/content/main.xul is the location of the main XUL file.

To find more information about this file, click on the following link: prefs.js File

Creating some XUL

For the simplicity of this application, we're going to create a simple XUL window that says hello world.

Create a file called main.xul in the xulapp/content directory.

Write the following code into the xul file. This code will popup a XUL window with the words "Hello World"

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <?xml-stylesheet href="chrome://global/skin/" type="text/css"?>

  <window id="main" title="My App" width="300" height="300"
    <caption label="Hello World"/>

Running the application

To run the application by typing

 xulrunner application.ini 

If you have trouble running the file, please go to the following link for details of how to run it in your specific operating system, How to run the application

After executing the command, you should get a popup screen like the one below.

XULRunner - My App screenshot.png


Creating a Hello World application on XULRunner isn't a hard task. Writing this application does not require a heavy knowledge of XULRunner but if developers choose to write more complex programs should have a better understanding of XULRunner.

To get started, please take some time to learn about XULRunner. The following link provides a simple yet intuitive guide on XULRunner, XULRunner Guide.