20110827

Hacking WebRunner to work with Firefox 6.0

I have come to depend on Salsita Software's WebRunner extension for Firefox that let's me create “applications” out of web sites. It comes in especially handy when I want to be logged in with multiple identities on the same web site, as well has keeping an always open window on my Zoneminder cameras.

When Firefox 6.0 was pushed out in Ubuntu, I was quite dismayed to find that when it checked add-ons and extensions for compatibility, WebRunner was not compatible, and furthermore, an updated version was not available. I waited for around two weeks for Salsita to update their software, but so far there's been nothing. So I dug around in the .xpi file and came up with this hack to make the current version work with Firefox 6. These instructions are for Ubuntu/Linux (since that is all I have running now), but the changes should be very similar for Windows as well.

First download (but don't install/run) the latest .xpi file from here. Then open the file with an archive manager (.xpi files are really just jar/zip files) and edit the file install.rdf, changing the value of /RDF/Description/version from 5.0 to 5.1, and the value of /RDF/targetApplication/maxVersion from 5.* to 6.*. Next, edit the file stub/application.ini, changing the value for MaxVersion from 5.0.* to 6.0.*. You may want to rename the .xpi file at this point to make it easier to keep track of it.

Now update to Firefox 6.0 (if you haven't done so already) and remove the old WebRunner 5.0 extension, in Tools|Add-ons on the Extensions tab. Close that dialog, and go to File|Open File... in Firefox and select your modified .xpi file. It should install without complaint, indicating it is version 5.1 (hopefully Salsita will version their next release higher than this).

At this point, you can either re-create your web application shortcuts, or hack the existing ones to work with the updated extension. To fix the current shortcuts and applications, modify the command for the shortcuts to point to firefox-6.0 instead of firefox-5.0. Then for each application in your ~/.webapps directory, edit the appname@webrunner/stub/application.ini file and change MaxVersion from 5.0.* to 6.0.* and change GRE_HOME to /usr/lib/firefox-6.0. Now try to launch your web application shortcuts and you should be good-to-go!

As with most hacks, I make no guarantees that this won't in some way hose your Firefox installation or your entire computer, so attempt this at your own risk! On the other hand, if you are like me and depend on the excellent WebRunner extension, this hack is a quick way to get it back in Firefox 6. Make sure to leave comments if you have tried this under Windows and get it to work.

4 comments:

timothyrayner said...

Thanks. I'm building a very specialised little Linux project and was planning on using Webrunner as an integral part of it. As usual I'm learning on the fly and throwing myself in at the deeep end and was just about to look for alternatives to Webrunner when I came across your post. Now as soon as I learn to install from tarballs (or as soon as I find a repository for Puppy that has a current version of Firefox on it) I can have the prism-like system that I wanted.

teknynja said...

Glad you found this post helpful. It looks as though Salsita is at this very moment releasing a 6.0 compatible version of WebRunner. So this post may not be needed for much longer (at least until Mozilla releases Firefox 7!!)

timothyrayner said...

Hi. The link you provide for downloading the xpi files asks for a username/password when I try and ftp from it.

Any ideas?

teknynja said...

The link is to a web page listing all the versions (win/mac/linux) of the plugin. AFAIK, the files listed on that page can only be downloaded via http, not ftp.

 
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