[Project_owners] problem with first time extensioninstall(Windows)

massey massey at stlouis-shopper.com
Fri Nov 14 11:47:33 PST 2008

I think maybe the confusion here is how an xpi is installed by firefox. 
If so just an overview:
- When firefox installs an xpi(extension) it gets unpaked into the user 
profile ./extensions directory, on windows this is something like 
c:\Documents and  Settings\Admin|\Application 
Firefox does not use the windows registry to find/use extensions in a 
normal scenario as far as I know.
- For firefox you need to install an xpi from a https server or the xpi 
must be signed otherwise the install will fail. These things supposedly 
make extensions safer to install.
- On firefox startup the users extensions directory is scanned for 
extensions and those found get registered/used if the extension is 
- The xpinstall docs are hard to follow/find and put together to get a 
good sense of how it all works. It just takes a lot of poking around.

Hope that helps

can wrote:

> Neil wrote:
>> Yes, but once you agree to the install it then goes and unpacks it
>> into your extensions folder so that it can actually use it.
> Please forgive me if I'm missing something, but I don't see the point 
> you are making.  What I had in mind was that Firefox could do this 
> very same thing when it sees a new .xpi to load in the registry.
> Perhaps the Mozilla people see there is some security worry with this 
> approach, but I don't see it.  They could add the same warning that is 
> there in the File->Open interface.  (Though I'm not certain this is 
> absolutely necessary since the Windows Registry can't get modified 
> without user approval anyway.) Besides, this is how Java handles .jar 
> files.  In fact, since my last response to this thread, I realized 
> that the reason I ran into confusion in the first place probably has 
> to do with expectations set from using Java.  (This is no excuse for 
> misreading instructions of course, just an observation.)
> Maybe the root problem here is that I don't fully understand the 
> Mozilla vision of the install process.  So if don't mind, I'd like to 
> take a step back and ask an even more basic question.
> <???>
> What is the "best" way to distribute and install Firefox extension 
> from a third-party server?  I looked around for this, and the best 
> instructions I found were on that "Install from Registry" page I 
> cited.  Can you point me to a better source?
> </???>
> I know that it is possible to distribute a third-party extension 
> through the Mozilla site (Tools -> Add Ons...) Maybe some day I'll 
> want to do this.  But for now, (a) I don't know how one goes about 
> putting one's extension up on
> the Mozilla download site, and (b) even if I did, I probably would 
> still want to be able to distribute the extension from a
> third-party server.
> I also have read that one can distribute an installer that copies 
> files to Firefox extensions directory.  In principle, this is
> clean and straightforward, but one has to worry about getting registry 
> strings right for cases where Firefox was not installed to the default 
> path. It seems more desirable to use an install mechanism that is 
> managed entirely by Firefox itself.
> I actually have a guess about this now that I know about the 
> File->Open... install method.  (I am going to give it a try unless 
> someone on this list tells me it won't work.)  Maybe all I have to do 
> is get the mime type right on the server and then the extension will 
> be installed if the user selects "Open" during the download.
> Please remember I am new to all this.  I get the feeling that there is 
> some overview document that I have failed to find.  If anyone knows of 
> such a thing, please feel free to point me to it.
> Thanks,
> can
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