XUL Featured in Article on Cross-Platform GUIs

Wednesday October 30th, 2002

Paul Gittings writes: "At DevX there is an article looking at cross-platform GUIs. The two solutions it looks at are SWT from the Eclipse project and XUL from Mozilla." This article follows on from DevX's XUL tutorial of a few weeks ago.

#1 XUL *could* become a killer app

by johann_p

Thursday October 31st, 2002 2:32 AM

The ideas behind XUL are wonderful. Many XP apps could benefit a lot from a the ability to use XUL for the GUI. However, there is no standalone lib to use XUL for non-browser apps, there is no decent documentation, there are lots of features and details you cannot use or understand unless you look at the code, and there is no clean and seperated API as far as I can see. Of all these problems the biggest I see at the moment is the lack of documentation and information - few developers will be willing to look at the Mozilla-sources to find out about details of XUL. The documentation that is there (xulplanet, seems to be incomplete and outdated. I have tried for months to get information about some more specific things - in various newsgroups, in the general forum, even in bugzilla bugs and have finally decided to give up. here,

#3 Re: XUL *could* become a killer app

by ndeakin

Thursday October 31st, 2002 9:01 AM

In what way is the XulPlanet documentation out of date? I've heard a number of people mention it, but no-one has given any examples. I can't fix it if I don't know what's wrong with it.

#4 xul docs

by johann_p

Thursday October 31st, 2002 9:35 AM

i have read several newsgroups (, n.p.mozilla.xpfe, n.m.developers.general) because i wanted information on such things as buttons of type menu-button and how to size them (see bug 146137), statusbars, or the newly added feature of attaching a context-menu to menu items. Never got any response, but if I looked at answers to other questions I saw the answer "if you want to know look at the mozilla sources" several times. I just had the experience that getting info on the details of XUL is extremely difficult.

#5 Re: xul docs

by fletchsod

Thursday October 31st, 2002 10:16 AM

Yea, those lack of information are a problem for me. I'm afraid this situation will be a while, not a short-term problem.

#8 Re: XUL *could* become a killer app

by daf

Monday November 4th, 2002 3:36 PM

If anybody wants to deploy a stand alone xul app he will be in trouble, there is no docs about making that simple thing. Most info are about deploying an xul app as a browser extension, but that is not what *all* people wants. This seems to be a long-term illness of mozilla as a platform, this situation is not going to change soon as this is rather a dificult task as I understand. One gets even more dissappointed when see that projects like the Komodo IDE uses some strage hacks to get the hole thing look like another app, in the end they included the entire mozilla browser in order to make the thing work, which adds a lot of overhead indeed. Not every project have the resources to hack mozilla at that level, and the mozilla comunity seems to be fine with the current state of pushing nothing but the web browser, but people like me really appreciate the whole platform, unfortunately this 'little' issue makes me give up too and think about leaving the mozilla platform for a while... well not at all I will be here some more time until I finish my current project. Anyway XUL is the greatest gui technology I ever used.

#2 XUL features for toolbar???

by fletchsod

Thursday October 31st, 2002 7:17 AM

The problem I have is there's no way to disable the back/forward/refresh buttons that would work other than using hte javascript function, open(). It would be cool if I can specify a short XML script for XUL on the html webpage.

Well, it's useful for my company's website where users are told not to use the refresh, back or forward buttons or they'll end up getting duplicated items on their bills. Well, it had to do with the fact that the web-browser are designed to read the webpage once, from top to bottom. Not like a video games that aren't narrow minded. Having buttons on the webpages and have people do that doesn't help either because of their habit.

#7 re: Duplicated form entries

by GAThrawn

Friday November 1st, 2002 5:03 AM

Well Mozilla does warn you by default if you go back or reload a page that'll trigger a form submission, so it's already got a partial defence against that.

Secondly it is possible (although not the most fun task!) to write server-side apps defensively so that they will ignore, discard or query duplicate form submissions, and really this is the only way to do it that you can be sure of.

If you rely on any browser based mechanism to deter duplicate form submissions you're relying on users using specific versions of specific browsers that implement the specific features you want, and in the real world that is rarely realistic.

#6 Visual GUI designer / IDE

by flacco

Thursday October 31st, 2002 12:52 PM

...would be a nice hook to get people interested.