Code that uses XPCOM is frequently verbose. Take, for instance, the relatively simple act of creating a URI object from a string:
var ioservice = Components.classes["@mozilla.org/network/io-service;1"]. getService(Components.interfaces.nsIIOService); var uri = ioservice.newURI(uristring, null, null);
What if this code looked a lot more like a Python import module statement?
const network = Components.modules["@mozilla.org/network"]; var uri = network.newURI(uristring, null, null);
This code is more readable, and is slightly more efficient. We could do this now, for Mozilla 1.9, in a backwards-compatible way that didn’t require any code changes for existing code (i.e. createInstance() and getService() would continue to work as they do today). We already have XPCOM modules, which currently only implement the nsIModule interface. To make the above code a reality we’d only need to give the module an identifier so that it could be accessed by name, and teach the necko module to implement nsIIOService, with a little classinfo throw in for automatic interface flattening.
With this technique, it is even be possible to load arbitrary files as XPCOM modules, without having to autoregister them in the global registry: extensionmodule = Components.loadModule(somefile).
There is at least one problem with this approach: it means that extensions could no longer override the IOService contractID. Back when XPCOM was being copied from MS-COM, this was considered a major advantage. I don’t believe that it ever worked well, and there are much better ways to achieve extensibility, for classes that are specifically designed to be overridden.
Perhaps JS could even grow a “from foo import X, Y, Z” statement, in imitation of Python:
from Components.modules["@mozilla.org/network"] import newURI, newFileURI, newChannelFromURI;
Creating an nsIFile instance from a string path:
const XPCOM = Components.modules["@mozilla.org/xpcom"]; var file = XPCOM.File(spec);