MozillaZine

Application framework

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Contents

Mozilla as an application framework

Mozilla is much more than a browser or mail client, it is an open source, fully cross-platform application development framework; it provides easy GUI functionality, networking API's, internationalization support, and more in an environment that is both easy to learn as well as to extend to meet your needs.

The Mozilla framework is based primarily on the following technologies:

The Gecko Rendering Engine

Gecko is the highly standards-compliant rendering engine that forms the backbone of the Mozilla platform.

The XUL interface description language

XUL (XML User Interface) language is a revolutionary new concept in Graphical User Interface (GUI) development. It is an XML-based markup language similar in many ways to HTML. It can be scripted with Javascript and styled using CSS. It differs from HTML, however, in that it supports the full set of user-interface widgets you would expect from a RAD environment. It also allows you to develop your own widgets using XBL (eXtensible Bindings Language).

The XPCOM object interface

XPCOM (Cross-Platform Component Object Model) is Mozilla's object interface, allowing for interfaces between any programming language for which a binding has been developed. Supported languages at the moment include both Javascript and C++; Python, Perl, and other language bindings are in the works. XPCOM allows you to, for instance, access natively compiled C++ code libraries from your Javascript interface code, giving you the best of both worlds.