Note that in order to develop such components, you do not need the full sources of e.g. Firefox, since you do not access parts of the front end from within a component. Furthermore, since a component contains basic functionality, it is intended to run with every product of the Mozilla platform. Therefore it makes no sense to use a particular product to build general functionality. That's the reason why the Gecko SDK was devised.
Do not confuse the Gecko SDK with XULRunner. The Gecko SDK is a collection of header files and tools used to develop general XPCOM components which add functionality to the existing platform, whereas XULRunner is a runtime to bootstrap stand-alone applications based on the Mozilla framework.
Get the SDK
NOTE that there is no need to download or rebuild the Gecko SDK corresponding to security updates of Mozilla (i.e., Mozilla 1.7.3) since the Gecko SDK is not changed as a result of security updates.
When downloading the Gecko SDK, it is important to choose the version that corresponds to the earliest version of Mozilla that you wish to target. In other words, you shouldn't download the 1.7 Gecko SDK if you want to use your component with Mozilla 1.6. This is important because binary compatibility is ensured only with future versions of the Gecko runtime. For this tutorial, we'll be using the 1.7 version of the Gecko SDK so that our component is binary compatible with Mozilla 1.7 (and any derived products such as Firefox 1.0 or Netscape 7.2).
NOTE: The Gecko SDK changed significantly between Mozilla 1.6 and 1.7,
including string API changes that result in smaller components since there is
no longer any need to link to the
embedstring static library.
Download the 1.7 Gecko SDK from here.
- gecko-sdk-i686-pc-linux-gnu.tar.gz for development under Linux (x86 architecture)
- gecko-sdk-i586-pc-msvc.zip for development under Windows
The Gecko SDK is not officially supported for other platforms, though for some other platforms it may be available under the contrib subdirectory.
Unpack the SDK tarball to some suitable location.
Building from Source
Getting the Source
Either download the Mozilla source code or get it from CVS directly. The project (<tt>MOZ_CO_PROJECT</tt>) you want to check out is <tt>xulrunner</tt> (the Gecko SDK is an integral part of XULRunner):
make -f client.mk checkout MOZ_CO_PROJECT=xulrunner
Building the Gecko SDK
Build XULRunner with:
make -f client.mk build
The Gecko SDK is output under
dist/sdk in your object dir. You can now copy this directory to wherever you want and remove the XULRunner tree (or keep it, if you plan to get future revisions of the Gecko SDK).
Contents of the SDK
The SDK contains the following:
- IDL files for frozen interfaces (under
- Header files for frozen interfaces, XPCOM functions, and NSPR functions (under
- Import libraries or shared libraries (under
- Static utility libraries (under
- Various tools (under