Snippets code from my daily experience

January 10, 2010

Sunday thought: Please don’t kill XUL

Filed under: sunday_thought,xul — dafi @ 3:33 pm

After reading the Mike Connor’s blog post and the Firebug’s post blog I realized XUL developers are closer to a revolution.

I have only a few questions in my mind and my stupid answers.

Q: Is it really so difficult to write XUL extensions?

A: For me no and I’m not a so clever person! OK there is a learning curve but every complete (non strictly complex) system requires to study, to learn and to compare itself with other people. Please don’t  confuse “rich” with “complicated“.

Q: We really need new addons ecosystem?

A: Maybe we need a lightweight ecosystem but XUL is the right way, Jetpack sounds good but today it is strongly tied to the browser, this will change when Jetpack for Thunderbird will be published.

I love Jetpack believe me 😉

Jetpack suffers from its so called “JQuery oriented syntax”.

I don’t like the sentence “JQuery oriented syntax” simply because doesn’t exists a “JQuery syntax”. JQuery uses Javascript closure syntax construct, I admit sometime it is very ugly and code tends to became naturally obfuscated

Are we sure “JQuery oriented syntax” is really so simple for newbies?

I agree with Daniel Gazman blog post, solution can be worst than the problem.

Q: Is restarting the browser after an addon installation so terrible?

A: I want my Operating System doesn’t require to me to restart after an update but I don’t care if my browser must be restarted after an addon installation/update. People are so lazy, people are so stupid? They accept OS reboots but suffer browser restarts? This is really a strange world!

Q: Is the problem related to Google Chrome success?

A: I don’t like so much Google Chrome, ok its startup time is amazing, then? What other feature is so fantastic? I’m a programmer and maybe I don’t see “commercial” related problem.

Maybe someone forgets that “Firefox is a platform”, Firefox isn’t a simple browser.

You can reuse your XUL platform know-how to create extensions for other applications; Thunderbird, Komodo, Songbird, Prism (my favorites four XUL applications)

You can create standalone applications using the XUL platform, too.

You can use extensions also on your mobile phone thanks to Fennec.

Please apologize me for my bad English and my rant



  1. Chrome: Perhaps the multiprocess architecture? Or the fact that it is insanely fast across the board? Firefox still hangs when another tab is doing things, or crashes when plugins crash.

    Comment by David — January 10, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  2. I have to agree with you on this one. I think that jetpack SHOULD be integrated BUT not the main system. There is too much in XUL to kill it off. There are some things that just need to be, and xul is one of them. At this current time… I don’t know about the future…. jetpack just can’t be counted on to do some of the really fancy stuff that you find in many extensions.

    I know that a few of my current extensions wont work as well if they were jetpacks, but some would work better… I think that there needs to be a happy balance of the 2. Not one over the other.

    Comment by FuzzyFox — January 10, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Extension and theme support may become deemphasized in the sales talk of months to come. But dropped entirely? Doesn’t sound likely. Or what will happen to great packages, some of them distributed with some Mozilla applications, for instance: ChatZilla? DOM Inspector? Lightning? etc. I don’t picture any of these as Jetpacks. Not to mention some (IMHO great) third-party extensions whose existence might be totally immaterial to MoCo and MoMo decisions, but not so to users’ choice of staying with one browser or mailer or fleeing away from it.

    And even if the Firefox and Thunderbird sales departments both succeed to lobby their respective managements into dropping “serious” extension and theme support completely, I hope (and believe) that the SeaMonkey guys will be more sensible.

    Comment by Tony Mechelynck — January 10, 2010 @ 4:31 pm

  4. Please don’t kill the existing extension eco-system…

    After reading Mike Connor’s blog post about in fact forcing extension authors to use JetPack and theme authors Personas, I’m horrified: That’s killing of what have made Mozilla and Firefox so successful – extending the application in *ANY* possible …

    Trackback by - Blog — January 10, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  5. I suspect that this will be the point where Firefox declined.

    Comment by Bo — January 10, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  6. > A: I want my Operating System doesn’t require to me to restart after an update but I don’t care if my browser must be restarted after an addon installation/update. People are so lazy, people are so stupid? They accept OS reboots but suffer browser restarts? This is really a strange world!

    Some people already got used, that Windows for installation of itself and then the drivers requires about 10 reboots so they want at least their browser not to restart (; .

    The others use Mac, Linux or other, which do not require reboot for each stupid little thing 😉 .

    Comment by liviopl — January 10, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

  7. Besides, what is with this lame JetPack name? If you want to kill off XUL, everyone knows you need ProtonPacks! 🙂

    Comment by Bill GIanopoulos — January 10, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

  8. Mike Connor has updated his post, BTW.

    Comment by LouCypher — January 11, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  9. You can never make it the user’s problem.
    If you’re wondering what’s so great about Chrome, just look at the 5% market share that Chrome has picked up from early techie adopters. This is similar to Firefox’s adoption trend 4 years ago, which has now expanded into the mainstream user base.

    Comment by frankyan — January 12, 2010 @ 2:11 am

  10. Personally, I hate reboots – my Windows XP system has been known to run for many days non stop, because booting it requires several minutes to boot, and requires my interaction (first I have to wait before I can log on, then I have to wait for everyting to load again).

    It’s made worse by the fact that rebooting the OS implies restarting the browser. Believe me, when you have 147 tabs in 7 windows, it takes quite some time (during which FF is very unresponsive) to load everything again, even on a fast connection. The worst thing that can happen is that there are some http password protected sites – the modal dialogs that pop up somewhere are a real pain (because you can’t use a whole window unless you manage to get rid of all of them… if you can find them at all, which tends to be a problem when switching between single and dual monitor mode).

    Comment by Kim Sullivan — January 22, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

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