Revisiting how we build Firefox

Chris Hofmann chofmann at
Fri Jul 10 22:08:56 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 2:42 PM, Robert Kaiser <kairo at> wrote:

> I personally wonder how this fits at all into the three pillars of
Firefox development that were presented
> recently, and where the direct user benefit is in "killing XUL". That
said, XUL was created as a transitional
> technology because HTML wasn't ready for UI (and it still isn't fully
there yet, even though much further along)

Yes that's a good topic to get conversation and investigation started.  I
might be missing something but as far as I can see it does have a major
contribution to any of the 3 pillars, and in several places maybe in direct
conflict with plans around the 3 pillars.

Shipping features as Addons and increasing our dependence on Addons is one
example.  If we change the UI framework we would be needing to create a
whole new extension, packaging and installation system for addons right at
a time we would be becoming more reliant on addons, and would also need to
figure mechanism to transition current addons to what ever this new addon
system might be.  We would also need to be creating something that replaces
overlays to UI content areas either in HTML or create multiple ways of
doing this on each of the native platforms.

We would also need to transition localization systems and tools, and other
things that XUL provides for now.

One step in the analysis would be to catalog all the things that XUL
provides, then figure out if they are still needed or what the possible
transition paths, costs and benefits might be;  has anyone suggesting the
removal of XUL started any of that work?

If the path turns out to be a transition from XUL to HTML its worth digging
up the current state of the gap analysis.  Does anyone know where this gap
analysis lives or how up to date it is?  Might be worth starting a thread
in .platform to understand that.

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