Neil's Place

February 6, 2004

7:58 PM Chrome Starter Guide

One of the most common questions asked is how to get a simple chrome application up and running. The XUL App Tutorial describes this. Usually people have problems near the end because they missed a file or typed something in wrong. Since I didn't write the App Tutorial, I am hesitant to change it to be clearer.

However, I have now written a short guide to setting up a chrome application for testing.

Comments ( 38 )

February 5, 2004

1:40 PM To Musicians

Dear musicians and song writers:

Please stop making songs with phone ringing sounds in them.

Thank You.

Comments ( 32 )

January 30, 2004

11:31 PM XUL Developer Tools

I've been thinking a bit about XUL editing environments lately. There are two parts that would be useful, a GUI designer and a deployment tool. The former would be an application which would allow one to place UI elements on a window and adjust properties and hook up events and so forth. There are some attempts at this already (XULMaker for instance) but nothing yet at the point which is very easy to use and polished. I have some designs for how I would create such a application floating around in my head.

One of the things about Visual Basic is that it works with absolute coordinates. That means that elements can be placed exactly at the position and size the developer wants and can move them about without problem. XUL doesn't work this way. Instead elements are placed in boxes and are positioned according to their parent, children and siblings. Java works this way too. How do Java builders cope with this in a logical way?

The second part is the deployment tool. Essentially, the developer should be able to click a Build button and have the application packaged up, complete with all the various components needed. Optionally, one should be able to specify whether the application needs a Mozilla or GRE or something which could be packaged up with it. One would be able to check off what components to include, such as XSLT, database support, xmlextras, and so forth. Much of this part of the tool would be independant of the XUL designer. The deployment tool would be used, for example, to deploy Mozilla and applications, either standard or custom ones, on a group of machines.

There is quite a bit of interest by people wanting to build XUL applications, however, the roadblock often seems to be the lack of easy to use tools to make this convenient and possible.

I've been working on an unrelated project using the Mozilla editor code so I've become quite familiar with how the editor works. I wonder if Composer could become the basis for a XUL editor? Being able to visually create an application and then click Publish would be very nice indeed.

Sigh... I have at least 15 things I want to work on and only one brain.

Comments ( 52 )

January 28, 2004

1:00 AM RDF in Mozilla Documentation Extravaganza

Lots of new documentation about RDF in Mozilla are now available on! Seven new sections in fact. Added to the first two listed below which were are already available, this brings the total number of sections up to nine.

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January 27, 2004

Notes on Mozilla Devlepment with RDF and Trees
Wolfgang Schmidetzki makes a note of issues he encountered and how to fix them while developing a Mozilla application that uses trees and RDF.

Big XUL Tree Changes
Coming Soon...

101 Things in Chinese from Joseph
Three new translations in one month. I wonder what brought that on?

January 24, 2004

101 Things in Spanish
Provided by Oscar Curero

January 23, 2004

11:43 PM XUL Tutorial Colours

If you've used the XUL tutorial or other documentation on, you've probably noticed that the values of tags and attributes and so forth appear in a different colour as the rest of the text. For instance, tags appear in red, attributes, properties and methods in green, and values in yellow. The primary reason for this is to separate them from the text so that one would know what was the value and what was documentation. This also makes it clearer when referring to a tag so that the reader would know, for example, that a tree tag was being referred to instead of a general reference to a tree.

I'm currently in the process of writing a few more pages of documentation, and in one particular case, the amount of highlighted words is significant and perhaps distracting, especially the yellow.

Does anyone who uses the documentation find the use of colour distracting? Perhaps a different set of colours would be better? Or a different style altogether?

Comments ( 39 )

January 22, 2004

Posting in XUL
A serverpost element which posts fields using HTTP POST.

1:13 AM Mozilla Developer Day

The Mozilla Foundation is holding a developer day. I might consider going, although it depends on how soon it is held. I could use the opportunity to actually go on vacation as well. And I'm sure the developer day would be fun even though I haven't been to any of the others. I had planned to attend the last one but I decided to quit my job instead.

Might be interesting to have an Mozilla end-users day too. Perhaps a Meet The Mozilla Firebird Developers Day. That would probably bring quite a few additional people by, therefore generating more interest. Anything to improve Mozilla and help spread the word is a good thing.

Comments ( 24 )

January 17, 2004

IE Behaviors in Mozilla
Now with documentation and source code

11:20 AM User Contributed Notes

Several people have asked that XulPlanet have a place to add comments to documentation pages, like the PHP documentation site does.

Thanks to Harry Fuecks, comments on pages are now available. Currently, only the main XUL tutorial and the element reference have comments enabled. Other sections will be added later.

Comments ( 76 )

January 13, 2004

101 Things in Polish
Thanks to Marek for providing this

January 10, 2004

12:40 AM Bizarre article about planes and witches

I don't usually link to things I saw referenced on blogdex, since it seems kind of pointless, but this time I thought I'd make an exception. It concerns a Register article about a mother who asked about flight simulator software for her son and got visited by the police. It wasn't the events that were so disturbing, but the bizarre writing in the article itself.

I'll ignore the reference to the US being "the safest and most prosperous country in the world" because that's just asking for some political debating, which I don't want to get into. I did, however, burst out laughing when I read this line:

Julie Olearcek, a USAF Reserve pilot made the enquiry at a Staples store in Massachusetts, home to an earlier bout of hysteria, during the Salem witch trials.

I hadn't realized that the witch trials had occurred in a Staples store. I wonder what kind of office supplies they used? OK, that's probably not what was meant. I found a much better article (which will disappear soon), which suggests the event took place in a town called Colrain, Massachusetts, which is 100-120 miles from Salem. The two events seem to be completely unrelated. Why mention an event that occurred more than 300 years ago in a different location?

The better article (from the local news site is more detailed and makes the Staples people look less embarassing. Actually, the woman and son -- who already own flight simulator software -- had gone into the store, looked around, and then asked the clerk for software about how to fly airplanes. The Register article says that the woman had asked about Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is quite a difference. I'd imagine the local news site was more accurate than the Register article, which was 'by Andrew Orlowski in Las Vegas'. And I'd imagine that a woman asking about how to fly aircraft would be more suspicious to Staples employees than someone asking about MS Flight Simulator, the latter of which isn't referenced at all in the article.

Perhaps the Register is under some kind of witches' curse?

Comments ( 14 )