Tuesday, August 5, 2008

web: Chat powered by Firefox's XULRunner

I want all my applications to work as well as Firefox by running off its core technology. Here's an example of running an application off the XULRunner code built into Firefox. I've started using ChatZilla more to interact with OLPC and MediaWiki developers on IRC. This is available as a Firefox extension, but then it closes down when Firefox shuts down. The developer also provides it as a standalone XULRunner app separate from the XULRunner runtime. Although it's undocumented you can run it using your Firefox 3 code:
  1. download the XULRunner version of chatzilla
  2. unzip it (only 2.5 MB)
  3. In a command window, enter \path\to\firefox.exe -app \path\to\unpacked_chatzilla\application.ini
  4. Cool! You're executing a second instance of the firefox code, but it's running a different set of files
  5. To create a shortcut for it (Windows)
    1. Explore your Firefox folder in the Start menu
    2. Copy the Firefox shortcut, rename it Chatzilla XULRunner on Firefox
    3. In the shortcut's Properties, change Target to \path\to\firefox.exe -app application.ini and Start in to \path\to\unpacked_chatzilla
    4. click Change Icon and navigate to \path\to\unpacked_chatzilla\chrome\icons\default and choose the chatzilla .ico as the icon
If this is too geeky, don't worry about it. (Just download and run those “powered by Mozilla” applications like Songbird music player, Miro, etc. Disk and memory are cheap.)

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