Revisiting how we build Firefox

Chris Hofmann chofmann at
Fri Jul 10 22:32:54 UTC 2015

I'm not so sure that great or dead is a good way to think about XUL.

XUL is an enable technology for many things.  Overlays, Themes, Addons,
Packaging, Installation, Localization, etc...

Unlike a single UI feature like the pockets of the world at least a few of
those things supported by XUL just can't be killed (dead) to continue with
a competive product that reaches hundereds of millions of people in 80
languages.  Some kind of solution will be required for those components of
XUL that we rely on now so its a matter of trading if XUL meets the
requirement adequately v. the cost of replacing or transitioning that part
of the XUL support for something else.

We probably also need to get much more crisp on "Great or Dead" and what
constitutes "Best of the Web" v. feature creep and what constitutes best of
the web for whom and for how long.   But that might be worthwhile starting
a different thread entirely that really focuses on how to manage features
and product changes over the long term for best success.   There is good
reading on these topics that I recently ran across at\


On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 2:50 PM, David Rajchenbach-Teller <
dteller at> wrote:

> On 10/07/15 23:42, Robert Kaiser 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) and I'm convinced
> > that slowly and step by step we need to move to HTML, even if I think
> > that talking of the end goal of getting rid of XUL itself is premature
> > at this point.
> Well, it's a "great-or-dead" thing. Unless we are willing to commit the
> resources to fix and maintain XUL, we should try and get rid of it.
> Of course, this doesn't mean that we should do it immediately. For the
> moment, the only workable strategy we have discussed is that whenever we
> rewrite some part of the UI, we should aim to do it in HTML where
> possible instead of XUL.
> Cheers,
>  David
> --
> David Rajchenbach-Teller, PhD
>  Performance Team, Mozilla
> _______________________________________________
> firefox-dev mailing list
> firefox-dev at
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