While working on tracking down some tricky UI bugs in about:addons, I wondered what it would look like to rewrite it using web technologies. I've been meaning to learn React (which the Firefox devtools use), and it seems like a good choice for this kind of application:
- easy to create reusable components
XBL is used for this in the current about:addons, but this is a non-standard Mozilla-specific technology that we want to move away from, along with XUL.
- manage state transitions, undo, etc.
There is quite a bit of code in the current about:addons implementation to deal with undoing various actions. React makes it pretty easy to track this sort of thing through libraries like Redux.
Note that it's just a proof-of-concept and almost certainly buggy - the way it's hooking into the existing sidebar in about:addons needs some work for instance. I'm also a React newb so pretty sure I'm doing it wrong. Also, I've only implemented #1 above so far, as of this writing.
I am finding React pretty easy to work with, and I suspect it'll take far less code to write something equivalent to the current implementation.