[Project_owners] Ant for XUL (more details)

Daniel Fournier zdev at noos.fr
Mon Nov 15 09:31:22 EST 2004

Hi Mozdev fellows,

Well, my recent pool was not really successful (thanks however to the 
few project_owners who sent a response).
So, I should probably give some more details.

When I said that a XULish build tool could be used to ease the process 
of generating Mozilla/Firefox extensions packages, that's only one 
aspect of the project I'm considerating. Of course, such a tool would be 
used to uninstall extensions (having been built with Xant) too.

Another major aspect would be to give access to Xant functionalities 
inside the usual processing of  a XUL application and could automate 
complex (or simple) file set processing: copy, move, delete, modify, 
extract, transform, etc. (configuration files or user preferences, for 
instance). Of course, Xant would be easy to extend using JavaScript, 
simply subclassing a base class -- as one can do in Ant (but using Java).

Probably the major aspect, would be to have a nice XUL-GUI to generate 
the build files, with menus, selectors, etc. to easily enter the 
necessary parameters (anyone having use Ant knows how painful it is to 
remember the exact name of the properties of all the tasks currently 
used). And even user-defined Xant extensions could be available in this 

All the functionalities of Xant would be incorporated in Mozlib, the 
general purpose JavaScript library used by my projects at Mozdev: JS 
Console, XUL Console and Mozquery. Mozlib woud be greatly improved with, 
among other things:
- a standalone XML pull parser (with functionalities equivalent to the 
Streaming API for XML, JSR-173 Specification, for Java) to read and 
write XML streams;
- a DAV API, to access DAV repositories;
- a SOAP API, to access remote services;
- a Digest generator, to generate MD5 hashes;
- a logging mechanism using ASRDF;
- a bunch of utility methods extending JS built-in objects: string, 
number, array, object...

All these functionalities have been already developped and tested, but 
not yet incorporated in Mozlib release.

I really should be interested by any feedback on such a project.

Daniel Fournier

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