[MUD-Dev] [TECH] Multi - Browser plugin framework

Lachek Butalek lachek at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 17:44:58 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

29/09/2005 19:52 -0400, Lachek Butalek wrote:

>> Firefox is available for free on all three major platforms. It is
>> a reasonably small application that is pain free to install. In
>> fact, it is smaller than many standalone game clients, and has
>> full redistribution rights, so you can even customize your own
>> version of it and allow it to be downloaded as "your game client"
>> from your own website.

> Mhh does XUL let me serve the client logic over the network? I
> don't have as much problem with a one-time install if from there
> on all the updates are transparent. Can a custom XUL game even
> work with a previously installed Firefox?

First off, take everything I say on this subject with a grain of
salt - I am not a developer, just a development-curious user with
some theoretical knowledge. None of this may work in practice the
way I claim. :)

According to the Mozilla Foundation, XUL can be used to create
applications where the logic resides either on the client or on the
server. As an example, the interface for the Mozilla apps (like
Firefox) were written in XUL as standalone applications. Within the
client-side XUL interface, they access dynamic data delivered over
the network - in this case, the web, FTP, Gopher, or whatever.
However, you can also use XUL to create web applications, where the
interface and data both are delivered across the network. Quote:
"Like HTML, in XUL you can create an interface using a markup
language, use CSS style sheets to define appearance and use
JavaScript for behavior." ... "A feature in XUL called an overlay
allows a third party to create extensions to the browser itself, for
example to add a custom toolbar, change menus, or add other
features."  In fact, Mozilla/Firefox extensions are just that -
client-side XUL overlays that integrate with the browser. In your
case, you could either create an extension to the browser and
utilize the built-in extension updating module in Firefox to check
for updates when required, which may be a good idea if the overlay
is very complex, or deliver the XUL overlay dynamically every time
your user logs in.

As for your last question, I'm guessing you're referring to the
stability of the XUL API, and I must confess I am blissfully
ignorant on that point. I do know that Firefox contains versioning
support for its modules, so it can verify if your XUL extension will
work with the particular browser version before it installs itself.
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