Compilation process and plans for the project

I had a tough time trying to compile the Firefox source code. My laptop is using Windows XP SP2 with Intel dual-core 1.83 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. Gary gave us a few prerequisite softwares that need to be installed for Windows. When I was trying to install the Microsoft Windows Vista SDK, the installation process stopped at a certain step and the progress meter did not proceed any further. I was thinking the cause could be that the step may take longer than other steps. But after half an hour, nothing changed and I closed the installation and tried to compile the source code. The compilation did not succeed. The error message was that it could not find a certain file wpcapi.h. A search on internet brought me to this page.I suspected the reason could be due to the halfway-terminated installation process of the Vista SDK. I tried uninstalling and reinstall again, but it just didn’t succeed.

I asked Gary about this, and he suggested me to put ‘ac_add_options –disable-vista-sdk-requirements’ into the .mozconfig file as a possible workaround. This time the compilation process went further but eventually stopped when it was ‘processing a certain .idl file’. Not sure what the file was, Gary and my fellow classmates suggested me of installing Ubuntu in my laptop instead of using Windows for the development. I went home and gave it a final attempt, uninstalled and installed all the prerequisite softwares (and making sure that the installation is in the order in which Gary told me). This time, I let the Vista SDK installation ran for about 45minute, the progress meter stucked halfway again (but at a different step with previous attempts), but finally a window appeared indicating that it was completed. I tried compiling the source code again after 45 minutes, it was successful. I was quite delighted with it, was on the verge of dropping the course, since I can’t do anything without compiling the code. It was a bit late (week 3 into the semester) and my classmates were all able to compile in week 2. Hopefully,  I can still make it in time before the final submission.

Meanwhile, I have also been doing some reading about extension development, XUL, and DOM  in the Mozilla developer website. Had some thoughts about the project. Just to share with you my plan for the upcoming weeks. I have allocated week 4 and week 5 for readings and familiarization with the Mozilla development technology. My target is to be able to complete the hooking of the extra  option (overlay) by the end of recess week (the week after week 6). The rest of the weeks will be spent on making the option functional and adding enhancements (if any).

Prof Humphrey gave me some links regarding firefox lab in Seneca, I will go through them during the weekend (today and tomorrow). On Thursday during the lesson, Abi (an ubiquity expert in Singapore) came to the class. He suggested me to look at the Ubiquity code to have an understanding about how to add an extra option. Gary also asked me do ‘dissect’ the ‘about’ extension that he developed. Would like to thank them for their input. =)


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