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October 9, 2002

How to Use Everyday Technologies to Create Powerful Apps: O'Reilly Releases "Creating Applications with Mozilla"

Sebastopol, CA--In Jules Verne's novel, "Mysterious Island," Cyrus Harding, engineer extraordinaire, fashioned nitroglycerine using common, everyday materials: the fat of a dugong, sulpheret of iron, vegetable cinders, and saltpeter. Unlike Mr. Harding, we don't always recognize the usefulness of things we encounter on a regular basis. Consider Mozilla. More than just a browser, Mozilla provides a framework that allows developers to create cross-platform applications by utilizing its accessible components, including JavaScript, CSS, and Mozilla's XUL (XML-based user-interface Language), as well as the Gecko rendering engine, XBL (eXtensible Binding Language), and XPCOM (Mozilla's component model). O'Reilly's latest release, Creating Applications with Mozilla (David Boswell, Brian King, Ian Oeschger, Pete Collins, and Eric Murphy, US $39.95), shows how innovative applications--such as a text editor, chat client, or MP3 player--can be created using a combination of easy-to-understand technologies.

"Creating Applications with Mozilla" introduces and explores Mozilla's powerful cross-platform development framework, providing step-by-step instructions for creating applications. The first several chapters serve as an introduction to the Mozilla development environment and impart the knowledge necessary to quickly learn to create simple programs. The authors then branch into topics on modular development and other advanced subjects. The book provides the information to help readers:

  • Understand how the basic Mozilla development framework technologies work together
  • Learn to use the elements and features of XUL to build applications
  • Add functionality to an application with JavaScript
  • Create the look and feel of an application using CSS
  • Package and install an application for distribution
  • Extend the basic Mozilla framework with XBL, XPCOM, XUL templates, and RDF
  • Make applications accessible by localizing them into different languages
  • Develop remote applications to be served via the Web or another server

"Our book is unique because it covers more topics and is more up-to-date than any other books out about Mozilla or XUL," explains coauthor David Boswell. "Many of the other books are out of date because they were written at a time before Mozilla had matured to a point where it was stable enough to be released as version 1.0. Also, most of the books out have focused on XUL, the extensible user-interface language, and have ignored several of the other components in Mozilla that make it a powerful application."

"Creating Applications with Mozilla" was written primarily for programmers and would-be programmers interested in exploring this new platform--the Mozilla development framework. But, as the authors explain, there is no need to be a professional programmer to build cross-platform Mozilla-based applications: one of the great advantages to developing Mozilla-based applications is that the learning curve isn't as steep as most alternatives. A basic understanding of a few technologies--JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and XML--will do to get started. And with this book in hand, developers will be well on their way.

Additional resources:

Creating Applications with Mozilla
David Boswell, Brian King, Ian Oeschger, Pete Collins, & Eric Murphy
ISBN 0-596-00052-9, 454 pages, $39.95 (US), $61.95 (CAN)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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