XULRunner Guide

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Revision as of 22:14, 21 September 2006 by Mylau (talk | contribs) (Project News)
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Project Name

XUL Runner Guide

Project Description

The XULRunner project provides an "application runner" for building apps -- like Firefox, Thunderbird, and Sunbird -- atop the Mozilla toolkit framework. It needs a guide outlined, high-priority parts written, and examples created to help people get started.

Related tech and skills: XUL, documentation, cross-platform testing


Project Leader(s)

Michael Lau (mylau)

Project Contributor(s)

Vanessa TBA

Project Details

Project Description

XULRunner is an Internet technology runtime similar to Java and .NET runtime. What makes this different from the other two is that it does not restrict developers from programming in one language like Java runtime. XULRunner allows developers to write programs in any language that Mozilla web platform can support. They are the following:

  • HTML
  • SVG
  • XUL

Project Expectations

The first part of the XULRunner Guide should introduce the basic technologies and concepts, and walk readers through the various features of XUL and the techniques used to develop applications with it. If this walkthrough includes the development of a full-blown (but relatively simple) application, that would be great. The second part should be a comprehensive and detailed XULRunner reference. These halves could be treated as separate documents that cross-reference to each other liberally. Both the Guide and the Reference should include sample code examples and explanations.

Target audience

Experienced programmers, although not necessarily experienced with XUL. I think we can safely assume a fairly solid knowledge of Web technologies, including JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and DOM, and some experience developing desktop applications, web applications, or basic Firefox extensions.


  1. Guide: Introduction to XULRunner, including core concepts, technologies, and features. See the JavaScript Guide as an example.


  1. Reference: Organized and comprehensive reference material. I don't really know enough about the technology to know how this content should be organized, but see the JavaScript Reference as an example.


If there's time/interest, a tutorial would be a nice addition, akin to the XUL Tutorial here: http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/XUL_Tutorial

NOTE: I'm not suggesting that the XULRunner documentation emulate the structure and formatting of the JavaScript Guide/Reference -- the JavaScript documentation is in fairly dire need of reorganization and updating (which would be another great project for students if they're interested in that sort of thing).


I think a great way for this project to start would be to have the students research the technology and put together a proposed outline for the document(s). That outline could then be vetted by BSmedberg and Sheppy to ensure completeness and solid organizational structure. Once that outline is finished and agreed upon, it will be easier for students to pick up various pieces of the project, rather than facing the more daunting whole.

Expectations for collaboration

BSmedberg and Sheppy are both busy, so I think the best way for students to effectively interact with them would be to do some work, then ask the guys for reviews when they need help, clarification, or to verify technical details. I think the students should also join the dev-mdc@ mailing list and leverage the larger MDC community when they have questions or need help with stuff. BSmedberg and Sheppy are both on that mailing list, as are a fairly large number of other interested and technically competent contributors.

I think we should look to avoid overloading Bsmedberg and Sheppy with review requests and questions, so if students are interested in working on the project, we should have a meeting at the beginning (with the students, me, you guys, bsmedberg, and sheppy) and discuss interaction expectations and requirements at that point.

Project News

September 21, 2006 by mylau The following is outline for XULRunner Guide. This outline may change. It needs to be reviewed by BSmedberg and Sheppy.

 * How to do an app using xulrunner
 * How do you deploy
 * How do I run an extension as an app
 * How to do updates
 * Installation process

September 17, 2006 by mylau I've spoke to Dave about this project and currently the following people to talk to are:

  • dria (owns MDC)
  • bsmedberg (XUL Runner guy)
  • sheppy (dev/docs)

I will speak to these following people along with dave as soon as I get up-to-speed on what XUL Runner actually is.