Hacking Firebird using XUL


Given the amount of extremely useful developer-oriented extensions for Mozilla Firebird, I've decided to dump Camino on Mac OS X and go with Firebird instead. Camino is great, mind you, but I was amazed at the usefulness of extensions like the live HTTP Headers, the excellent Web Developer Toolbar and a number of other enhancements that no HTML designer should be without.

So I set up Firebird on my iBook, only to notice that I couldn't get rid of the Personal Bookmarks toolbar. This might be due to either a small UI bug or the fact that, unlike most Mac OS X users, I don't run any applications under an administrator account - I log in as administrator, install them and then log back out and use them.

(This has not only saved me a lot of grief - since it protects me from doing intuitively stupid things like deleting critical files - but also helped to pinpoint a few badly-designed applications.)

Anyway, after reading through a few XUL tutorials and finding that it was nothing more than yet another XML-oriented UI specification (with very nice CSS configurability), I unpacked the browser.jar, looked at the browser.xul file to find how to reference all the UI items, and then overrode the toolbar display in the userChrome.css file inside my profile with a single CSS value:

$ cat chrome/userChrome.css

#PersonalToolbar {
  display: none !important
}

After looking at the amazingly flexible Mozilla customization engine, I must say I'm impressed - despite the Firebird bug, the ability to configure the entire UI (and adding to it) using XUL, CSS and some JavaScript makes it tremendously powerful as an application platform.

Theirs Is Bigger

Via rage, more news on the Palm front: