Is XUL the next hot topic after AJAX?

Avatar von Björn Schotte

If you read Jeremy Zawodny’s blog post, Yahoo! is currently searching for XUL developers (rumours said they want to deliver their PhotoMail application on a XUL based UI). There are some fancy and fantastic XUL applications out there, for example Bloxor or the Mozilla Amazon Browser.

XUL stands in a row to Microsoft’s upcoming XAML or Macromedia’s Flexx. The advantage of XUL is pretty clear: it’s an OpenSource technology brought to you by Mozilla. I hope the XULRunner project will go on very fast so that you don’t have to deliver the whole Mozilla/Firefox browser. My company makes some pretty big XUL application (it seems to be the largest XUL project throughout Europe) for the car rental company Sixt. While those applications are mainly for internal use (i.e. for the call centers or the POS), we prove that XUL makes your legacy applications fit for the Web. It’s a client-server model with XUL/JS on the client side and PHP with a Cobol extension that we’ve written on the backend. We don’t have to deal with complicated DHTML stuff, with XUL you only have to describe the widgets you want to have. Since the applications are mainly for the POS or call center staff the main focus on the application design is a fast usage – i.e. fully keyboard accessible, no fancy graphic stuff etc. In these projects we don’t focus on the „Joy of Use“.

The Mozilla developers are pointing out the „Joy of XUL“, but where’s the „Joy of Use“? Applications like Bloxor or MAB demonstrate the Joy of Use, but they don’t seem to be the majority. Let’s change that together!

You can download the English speaking XUL Case Study for the Sixt projects (German version available here). If you are already using XUL in your company, check out the next issue of the German speaking PHP Magazin: there’s a CaseStudy about the XUL based intranet of Springer&Jacoby, a German multimedia agency.

I would be happy if you could tell me your thoughts about XUL via e-mail or in the blog comments. Where are you already using XUL? Have you looked at it and considered it for your applications? Does XUL open new ways of rapid application development, applications where HTTP connectivity is available out of the box? If you need help or advise from our XUL expert team where XUL could help your IT, please let me know.

Avatar von Björn Schotte


10 Antworten zu „Is XUL the next hot topic after AJAX?“

  1. Hi, I welcome your comments very much. Thank you for sharing them so openly.

    I was just about to make a posting on Sitepoint to ask for similar information.

    I work for a UK local gov (php driven), and XUL in the intranet/CMS front end would a dream, no more dhtml to maintain.

    I was intrigued by your title „XUL ..after AJAX“ – I was rather dreaming of „XUL and AJAX“.

    I will download and read your Sixt case study.


    1. Paul, thanks for your comment. At the Sixt projects of course we also work with XMLHttpRequest and that kind (including some kind of a batched XMLHttpRequest calls which delivers the collected data also to the invisible tabs).

    2. Paul XUL and AJAX do work well. Remember that XUL allows you to use javascript from within the XUL application which you are developing so that you can use AJAX to retrieve data and send data back to the server.

      Works well.

    3. Having spent most of the last 24 hours on a sobering journey through xul and xaml writing and musings, I must reply things dont look too cool.

      Looks as though we are all in for an xml version of „tag-wars“ and browser wars.

      XUL wont be supported by MS who have developed a seemingly superior version called XAML, which is built into Longhorn (next windows) there is no more IE, its FF vs the OS.

      Google words „xul xml best“ and read for yourselves.

      Still, it doesnt change my view, that today I CAN make users download and use Firefox in an intranet „data input“ mode, and create savings for them and me.

      Oh, hang on, for me to make savings I will have to learn something new, a new API? it’s all well documented and in one place isnt it? Well, er no its not.

      I am pretty good with JS so that doesn’t present me with a problem. There are already a myriad of AJAX solutions popping up which I have given up counting. Which is best?

      I was taken with one fact though. Pojejected Longhorn take up will be at only about 60% by end of 2008.

      So there is time to start the fight.

      This time it shouldnt be „browser wars“ but „server wars“. Make it easy for php develpers to become XUL developers.

      Build this functionality into PHP 5.3. A kind of PHP->XUL->AJAX set of superclasses. ?.

      Talking thru my (A)JAXY ?

    4. Paul,

      This project, ZK(, might interest you.

      It is a server side implemention of XUL components(AJAX enabled ). Therefore, even MS IE could be used to access your xul pages without any problem.


  2. That screenshot is so small as to be useless. Can you you link from the thumbnail to a larger version?


    1. Joe, just try out the PDF file. There you can find a bigger screenshot.

  3. Blox0r was built using AJAX as in: Async JSON And XUL.

    More samples here:

    I love XUL, no doubt about it :-D

  4. XUL is great. But I have had hard times with it . ;-) I’m glad that the most important part of my XUL CMS is already finished.

    You can see some screenshots here
    Elixon CMS/XUL

  5. I would like to participate in the discussion of XUL. I been working on it for almost 3 years now. Some of the module I created was posted in A live online demo for add, edit, delete try it!

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

Für das Handling unseres Newsletters nutzen wir den Dienst HubSpot. Mehr Informationen, insbesondere auch zu Deinem Widerrufsrecht, kannst Du jederzeit unserer Datenschutzerklärung entnehmen.