XUL Explorer 0.2

I received a lot of feedback on XUL Explorer. It’s been a great learning experience for me as well. Here is a list of changes:

  • Preview tab has been removed. The preview pane now appears below the editor pane. Previewing in a popup window is still available.
  • Option to automatically update the preview as the editor changes. (Thanks to Richard Klein)
  • Indicator in the statusbar shows errors. Double-click to display Error Console.
  • Option to specify the snippet used to load the editor on startup.
  • Option to include a user snippet file. The snippets are merged with the builtin snippets at startup.
  • File > New allows user to pick any “Template” snippet, as well as blank.
  • Simple XUL Checker can be used to ‘validate’ the XUL snippet. This is fairly basic for now: It checks for legal element and attribute names, including allowed attributes for a given element.
  • More than a few bug fixes


Here are some things I am considering for the future:

  • Support attribute value checking where appropiate (boolean and enumerated values) – XUL Checker
  • Support “best practice” checks such as: using of commands and keys, strings in DTDs and so on – XUL Checker
  • Multi file support (probably use a tab for each file/editor).
  • Venkman support
  • Support extension creation – perhaps by using Test mode

Keep the feedback coming!

Install: xulexplorer-setup-0.2.exe 5.7MB
Source: xulexplorer-src-0.2.zip


  1. Eric Shepherd said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 2:34 am

    This is a great tool for XUL developers. I’m pretty excited. :)

  2. Laurentj said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 8:56 am

    This enhancements are cool :-)

    Just a comment : your XUL checker should consider any tags in fact, not only those which are “official”. What about user tags on which an XBL binding is attached ? And what about user attributes on “official” tags ?

    So error message generated by your XUL checker shouldn’t be “illegal element” but “unknow element” or “unknow attribute”. In XUL, any tag is allowed ;-)

  3. Laurentj said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 9:04 am

    oh, some ideas for the futur :

    – drag and drop from snippets to the editor
    – for some snippets, when we insert it, a dialog appears to edit some parameters, to fill easely some attributes etc..
    – the possibility to create/edit snippets directly into xul explorer

  4. hyperstruct said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 11:38 am

    It would be nice if certain features (e.g. “best practices checker”) were nicely factored out so that they could be easily re-used in other settings. Something like (simplifying):

    function xulCheck(doc, errorReporter, warningReporter) { … }

    function(node, msg) { dump(‘Error on : ‘ + msg + ‘\n’); },
    function(node, msg) { dump(‘Warning on : ‘ + msg + ‘\n’); });

  5. The Klein's said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    XUL Explorer 0.2…

    Mark Finkle has a new version of his XUL Explorer application. This version has some big improvements over his last version, and he has given me credit for the live preview feature. This is well worth checking out if you are an XUL hacker….

  6. Richard Klein said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    I like Laurentj ideas on improvements. I’ll also add my thoughts on improvements as well.

    – when inserting a snippet put the focus inside the editor.
    – when the error console is cleared remove the indicator in the statusbar.
    – get the view source window working.

  7. Richard Klein said,

    December 22, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

    another suggestion is to move the help viewing to an external browser. You could do something like:

    var url = this.app.getHelpURI(cmd);
    var ioService = Components.classes[“@mozilla.org/network/io-service;1″].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIIOService);
    var protocolSvc = Components.classes[“@mozilla.org/uriloader/external-protocol-service;1″].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIExternalProtocolService);
    var uri = ioService.newURI(url, null, null);

  8. Mark Finkle’s Weblog » XUL/E - What If said,

    December 27, 2006 @ 11:25 am

    […] Get XULRunner on your Windows machine.(From Mozilla or as part of my XUL Explorer) […]

  9. Rob Chartier ~ Contemplation... : A few XUL resources... said,

    January 15, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

    […] to deploy XULRunner Share this post: email it! | bookmark it! | digg it! | reddit! | kick it! | live it! Posted: Monday, January 15, 2007 1:40 PM by Rob Chartier Filed under: General SoftwareDevelopment, XUL […]

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