Verbosio: Basic XBL validation, anyone?

Over the last several days, I’ve been working on getting some basic functionality working in Verbosio again, picking up where I left off several months ago. I realized as I was working on this that I had two separate interfaces, one of them exceedingly minor, that could and should be merged. So now, language packs (which describe a particular XML language) will also be able to do some basic validation of their contents.

As part of that, I started thinking about XBL, which I hope will be the first XML language Verbosio will be able to usefully edit

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. XBL documents, fundamentally, are a mix of XML and JavaScript. So to make sure a XBL document is “valid” (that is, readable by Gecko products), I can combine well-formedness checking in XML with syntax checking in JS… very, very carefully.

The result is a partially-written, untested JavaScript component which does a whole lot of legwork to handle implementation elements, and will soon do similar legwork on handler elements. One factor of the design (which complicates it, but will make it very cool when I get it working) is to figure out where a JavaScript syntax error is in the XBL document and generate a full error message, complete with source code line and exact line number. I’m fairly certain I can pull it off.

Here’s a sneak peek at my “XBL language pack component“. The function in question here is called “getFirstSyntaxError”. Under normal circumstances (no error at all), it would return null. There are probably a dozen little bugs (and half a dozen big ones) lurking in there, but I think I’ll make it workable in the next few days.

If I do succeed at this, it opens up a whole new avenue for Verbosio, as a proof of concept. XUL, XHTML, and SVG documents can all have inline scripts (though not in as complex a structure as XBL does). By mixing XML well-formedness with JavaScript syntax checking, Verbosio could help page authors fix simple bugs on the fly.

2 thoughts on “Verbosio: Basic XBL validation, anyone?”

  1. The documentation I linked to is all there is – and I patched about half that together.
    It is what is recommended to be used when throwing exceptions from Javascript Components. I can’t recall if that was Mook or someone else telling me that, but I found out while working on that mozSubversionClient component.
    (From Alex: Hm, okay. Except it literally isn’t being used anywhere in the Mozilla code, as far as I can tell. So there could be any number of bugs there.
    I’ll think about it.)

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