Understanding eXtensible User Interface Language - XUL
(eXtensible User Interface Language) pronounced as zool was first created for
the Mozilla browser. It is basically an XML language which is used for creating
portable user interfaces. If you know how to use XUL then you can easily create
the portable user interfaces very easily and quickly.
this is an XML language you can also insert other languages which are XML based
like the XHTML, MathML, and SVG. It also has the flexibility to translate into
Different types of user interfaces can be created using
the XUL. Toolbars, Input controls, Menus, Dialogs, Trees, and keyboard shortcuts
can be created with XUL. Some examples of the input controls are the textboxes
and the check boxes. Popup menus can also be created using XUL. The contents of
the controls can also be populated using various data sources such as data supplied
in the RDF files.
XUL you can create different types of applications. Your application can be in
such a way to extend the functionality of the Firefox browser. You can even customize
the user interface of the browser. Customization of the Mozilla based products
can be done with the knowledge of eXtensible User Interface Language.
can also create standalone applications using XUL. In such standalone applications
you will be having your own executable file which is used to run the application.
There is no need of a browser for such standalone applications that are developed
XUL packages can also be created using XUL which can run with
the help of a browser as a separate application. With XUL you can also create
applications that run on a remote server. These are the remote applications that
are placed in the web server. You need the browser to open such applications.
The capability of such applications is limited due to security concerns.
Applications such as extensions, standalone applications and XUL packages can
be installed locally in the users machine and these applications are capable
of accessing the files in your local system and there are no restrictions for
these applications. Some of the operations are restricted in such applications,
but they can have access to the files.
you load an XUL file, the file that is being downloaded should be set to the content
type of application/vnd.mozilla.xul+xml so that the web server can
serve that file to the user or the client. The XUL files are stored with an extension
.xul. All you need to open such .xul files is the Mozilla browser.
can just type the URL of the file in the address bar of the browser to open that
.xul file. Some knowledge of HTML, CSS and XML is necessary if you want to create
applications in XUL. Special tags that give a different meaning for creating the
applications are available in XUL.
This makes it very easy to create portable
interfaces. For example the tag, <window>....</window> is used to
create a new window that can have different controls and text in it. As with the
other tags there are attributes associated with these tags.
web references available for the complete set of tags in XUL. By going through
these tags you can create very easy interfaces. It is possible to attach a stylesheet
to the XUL file so that the elements that are displayed in the window can be displayed
according to the definitions given in the stylesheet.
sample code to open a window is as given below:
is an id attribute that specifically identifies the window. You can give a title
for the window that you are creating using the title attribute. The
orient attribute specifies how the controls are aligned in the window.
In our example we have used the horizontal value for the orient
attribute. The stylesheet in our example uses the chrome skin for the browser.
This is the default skin for the browser. The namespace for the XUL file is given
in the attribute xmlns. The file indicated in the namespace is recognized
internally by the Mozilla browser.
you want to add a button to your window then you can use the <button> tag.
An example of this tag is given below:
attributes for the button tag includes id, label, image,
accesskey, and disabled. The label attribute
indicates the label that is to be displayed on the button. The image attribute
indicates the image that is to be displayed in the button.
keys to the button are indicated in the attribute k. Tags like <textbox>,
<checkbox>, and <radio> are used as the input controls. For a complete
reference to the XUL tags you can refer websites like xulplanet.com. Just like
the html files, create the .xul files with the appropriate tags and open them
in a browser to see the application you created in action.
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