Building Mozilla XForms

Getting started

Things to know first:

  • The xforms extension has a dependency on the schema-validation extension, so you need to build both (that's done automatically)
  • Mozilla switched from CVS to Mercurial starting with Firefox 3.5. During CVS times, the Mozilla repository contained both extensions. Since the switch to Mercurial, the extensions live in separate repositories.

Before you can start building the xforms extension, you should check your Mozilla build environment by doing a regular Firefox build. Have a look at the Build Instructions for detailed information for your platform. The following table gives you an overview of which version you want to build:

Firefox version Gecko/Toolkit version source code notes status

Firefox 2.0

Gecko 1.8.1 CVS, branch MOZILLA_1_8_BRANCH not developed any more
last release: 0.8.5ff2
Firefox 3.0 Gecko 1.9.0 CVS, branch HEAD not developed any more
last release: 0.8.5ff3
Firefox 3.5 Gecko 1.9.1 xforms/schema-validation code does not build with Firefox 3.5 any more not supported
Firefox 3.6 Gecko 1.9.2 xforms/schema-validation code does not build with Firefox 3.6 any more not developed any more
last release: 0.8.6
Firefox 4 Gecko 2.0 Mercurial, repositories
  • mozilla-central
  • xforms
  • schema-validation
mostly works
upcoming 0.8.7 release

If you have your first working Firefox build, you can go on with building the xforms extension.

Firefox 3.5 and up: get the source code

If you want to build XForms for Firefox up to 3.0, you already have the required source code, it's part of your CVS checkout. Skip to the next section.

Starting with Firefox 3.5, you need to do two more Mercurial checkouts:

cd extensions
hg clone
hg clone

That's it, you now have everything you need to get started.

Configure your build: the .mozconfig file

Mozilla uses a file called .mozconfig in your home directory to store the build configuration. For xforms, you will need to add the following line:

ac_add_options --enable-extensions="default,xforms"

# if you're using a Mozilla source before 2010-11-06 (e.g. an old Firefox 3.6 release) use this instead (see bug 601570 for details):
ac_add_options --enable-extensions="default,xforms,schema-validation"

A complete .mozconfig file for a release build might look like that:

. $topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig

mk_add_options MOZ_CO_PROJECT=browser
#mk_add_options AUTOCONF=autoconf2.13 # possibly needed
#mk_add_options MOZ_MAKE_FLAGS=-jn # (optional) replace n with the number of parallel build processes (e.g. 2 on a dual core processor)

ac_add_options --enable-extensions="default,xforms"

ac_add_options --disable-debug
ac_add_options --enable-optimize
ac_add_options --disable-tests

For a debug build, you could use this configuration:

. $topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig

mk_add_options MOZ_CO_PROJECT=browser

ac_add_options --enable-extensions="default,xforms"

ac_add_options --enable-debug
ac_add_options --disable-optimize
ac_add_options --disable-tests


Now that you have everything ready, you can rebuild Mozilla with the same command you used before to build Firefox without xforms. Switch to the root of your source directory and start the build with

make -f build

After the build finishes, you'll have a xforms.xpi in obj-*/dist/xpi-stage/xforms.xpi. Congratulations, you've successfully built your first Mozilla XForms extension!

The built XPI file will only install on a nightly snapshot from the same day or your self-built Firefox version. If you are sure that older or newer Firefox versions are compatible with your extension, you can unzip the XPI file (it's a regular ZIP file), edit the install.rdf and change the minVersion and maxVersion entries. The following scheme usually works (replace {GeckoVersion} with the used Gecko/Toolkit version):


For example, for the Firefox 3.5 version of the extension, it might look like that:


Then zip the files again (or use an editor like vim that can edit files inside a ZIP archive).