[Project_owners] problem with first time extensioninstall(Windows)

Shivanand Sharma / Varun varun21 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 15:36:46 PST 2008

If you want to install through the registry (take the example of Google
Gears), instead of packing as an xpi, make it a self extracting executable
or a self installing exe which extracts itself, modifies the registry and
asks to restart Firefox.

Shivanand Sharma
Producer and Editor
http://www.binaryturf.com (Web Technology & Blogging)

On Sat, Nov 15, 2008 at 1:17 AM, massey <massey at stlouis-shopper.com> wrote:

> 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
> Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\XXXNNNXXN.default\extensions\ExtensionName.
> 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
> compatible.
> - 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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