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| ||===Get involved===|| ||===Get involved===|
| ||* Take a look at [[Dev : Project ideas]] to see the list of requested extensions.|| ||* Take a look at [[Dev : Project ideas]] to see the list of requested extensions.|
|-||* Help maintaining the [[Extension development]] Knowledge Base. Post your tips and code snippets for others to use. You may use the MozillaZine forums (preferably ''Development'' or ''Extensions'') to discuss the tips.||+||* Help maintaining the ''Extension development'' knowledge base. Post your tips and code snippets for others to use. (You may use the MozillaZine forums (preferably ''Development'' or ''Extensions'') to discuss the tips.) Also consider helping the [http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Devmo:How_to_Help Devmo project].|
| ||* Contribute to existing extensions.|| ||* Contribute to existing extensions.|
| || |
| ||[[Category:Development]]|| ||[[Category:Development]]|
Revision as of 20:20, 28 August 2005
Extensions allow programmers to add new features to Mozilla applications or allow existing features to be modified. Typically, extensions modify the “chrome” of their target application—the user interface and the scripts that add functionalty to that interface. However, it is also possible for extensions to include compiled code in the form of XPCOM components.
You will almost certainly need to use the following technologies, although it is not necessary to be an expert in them. You may be able to pick up much of what you need just by examining the source code for other extensions.
- XUL (XML User-Interface Language). Used to define the onscreen layout of the UI and to attach scripts and style to the interface.
- DOM (Document Object Model). Used to manipulate XUL in real-time as well as any HTML documents loaded.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Used to style the interface and to attach XBL bindings to XUL documents.
More advanced extensions may require the following technologies.
Setting up your environment
- Please see Setting up extension development environment for development preferences you can set and extensions you can install. It also contains information about running a separate instance of Firefox using a development profile.
- Getting started with extension development contains tips on easily setting up extensions development environment in Firefox/Thunderbird 1.1a1+ (so that you no longer have to recreate the JAR and/or XPI files each time you make a change in your extension). It is also a quickstart guide containing useful links for beginners and the obligatory helloworld extension, which can be used as a basis of your extensions.
There is a variety of tutorials available which will help with general extension development or with learning specific technologies. You don't have to read all of them before starting hacking.
As well as web resources, there are a couple of books available describing Mozilla technologies and their usage. Both books cover a comprehensive range of Mozilla technologies. They are available both online and in a more user-friendly dead-tree format.
To make your extension available to others, you need to package it as XPI and release it (make sure you to thoroughly test it first!).
Making it better
- Be sure to make your extensions localizable: Use DTDs for XUL and properties for scripts.
- Themes apply CSS using ID and class attributes. Include these as much as possible to make theme development possible.
- Try to follow the set of Extension guidelines. This can help to make all extensions act predictably, which increases usability.
- Example Code. Common development tasks and techniques.
- Example Extensions. Extensions that provide a clear demonstration of a particular technique or function.
- Chrome URLs. Discover the location within the installation folder of the chrome you wish to overlay.
- MozillaZine provides a Development forum which is the place for technical questions and an Extensions forum which occasionally has technical discussion but is more useful for releasing extensions to get testing and feedback.
- The netscape.public.mozilla newsgroups are the official location for code-related queries. They are particularly useful if you're implementing an XPCOM component or have a question that MozillaZine posters can't answer. See the developer forums page for a description of each newsgroup.
- IRC (see also this). Live Developers! Get satisfaction online from red hot developers! (Note: this is not a dating service.)
- Take a look at Dev : Project ideas to see the list of requested extensions.
- Help maintaining the Extension development knowledge base. Post your tips and code snippets for others to use. (You may use the MozillaZine forums (preferably Development or Extensions) to discuss the tips.) Also consider helping the Devmo project.
- Contribute to existing extensions.