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[atf-dev] Debug XUL applications in ATF

Hi, all

I am a student participating Google's SoC programe( I am responsible for the project "XUL editor plugin for Eclipse" for the Mozilla Foundation. This project comes from the idea "Build a XUL editor plugin for Eclipse that leverages the XULRunner component and JS debugger from the Eclipse Ajax Toolkit Framework to create a XUL UI development tool."

The embedded mozilla browser provided by ATF makes it easily to launch and debug web applications in Eclipse. XUL applications have some similarities with web applications that the UI behaviors are controlled by _javascript_. So how to leverage the JS debugger provided by ATF to debug XUL application is the first task to do.

Phil Berkland has implemented an XUL editor based on Laszlo Rich Client Toolkit and ATF. In his codes, when running/debugging an XUL file, the absolute path of the xul file is passed to the atf's embedded browser which opens the mozilla perspective to run/debug the xul files. Obviously, this XUL editor is designed to use the same run/debug  mechanism with web applications.

IMO, XUL applications has different working mechanism with web applications,  the biggest difference is that XUL applications highly depends on chrome. If xul applications can't find the Chrome manifest, it can't work. So just loading the xul file into the mozilla perspective to leverage debugging service seems unworkable. I have tried using this XUL editor to run/debug xul application, and the result is the same as what I image that it can't work.

My current work is to extend orangevolt's EclipseXUL plguin. EclipseXUL has implemented wizard for creating XUL projects. And it uses the external XULRunner to launch the XUL applications.  Right now, what the EclipseXUL lacks most are the JS debugger and an multipage XUL editor.

I don't have expertise on ATF. So I wonder there is a possibility to hook up the JS debugger provided by ATF when using external XULRunner to launch XUL applications. .By setting up the breakpoints in JS codes, it opens ATF's debug perspective when meeting the breakpoints just like debugging the normal web applications. If this can be implemented, please point out which parts of codes in ATF I should hack to continue my work. Or maybe there are some other suggestions on how to leverage JS debugger provided by ATF in the XUL plugin for Eclipse.

Thanks in advance!

Lian Liming

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