Extensions for every XULRunner Application (and Firefox, and Thunderbird, and…)

With many thanks to Dave Townsend and Robert Strong for reviews, Mozilla trunk builds now support extensions for “the toolkit” – meaning any XULRunner app which uses the toolkit. This will also be true for the next milestone, and (barring something really unusual) Mozilla 1.9 and the next major XULRunner release.

I can think of several extensions which would be good candidates:

The bug for DOM Inspector has a pretty simple example of how you’d add support for the toolkit to an extension. It’s less than ten new lines, added to install.rdf.

There’s also a nice side benefit possible here: extensions for another application – say, Songbird – which don’t need to be for just that application could port easily over to Firefox with the toolkit target.

So what determines if an extension should be for “the toolkit”? First, you need module owner or author’s approval for that extension. 🙂 Second, it shouldn’t be specific to a given product or written for a given application – for instance, an extension for browser history doesn’t qualify. On the other hand, if it adds more tools (a new SQLite database, for example, or a spell-checking dictionary – thanks for the idea, KaiRo) or capabilities without requiring that the app be a browser, a mail client, a multimedia player, etc., then it should be fine.

I’d invite fellow developers to start experimenting with this, and generate feedback. Any bugs to add “the toolkit” as a supported application should be marked as depending on bug 299716. Also, any other missing support for toolkit extensions we need bugs on, depending on bug 299716. We need eyeballs!

P.S. Congratulations on document.elementFromPoint(x, y), Mr. Karel. That’s very useful, too.

5 thoughts on “Extensions for every XULRunner Application (and Firefox, and Thunderbird, and…)”

  1. Why ChatZilla? I mean, as a ChatZilla dev, obviously I’d like the thing to be used by as many people as possible, but I don’t really see why people would want to integrate ChatZilla into just ‘any’ xulrunner app. You can install it as a XULRunner app of its own already (http://cz.rdmsoft.com/xr/) and I think the goal is, in the end, to allow even user-level installations (which shouldn’t need root or admin rights) of XULRunner apps, in which case I can see little reason to prefer ChatZilla installed as a “Toolkit” extension over ChatZilla as a standalone app.
    (From Alex: It may not be appropriate. I’m simply listing it as a candidate.)

  2. Really *Nice* Work. Congratulations.
    Perhaps this is a step to think “the toolkit” as a “platform”; anyway, this is great.
    PS: I am thinking on a text to speech and speech to text toolkit extension :).

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