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Packaging Firefox Themes

One of the first things you need to understand about Firefox themes is how to package them. It’s really simple, so be prepared to have an easy first step.

Firefox themes are just zip files, renamed to jar. So, if you can create a zip file, and rename a file, you’ll be done in no time. You may have to make a few tweaks to how XP/Vista shows files though.

[image lost to Zooomr]

Update: The file structure is now different with Firefox 3.6. See the updated file structure here.

For starters, open the iPox Remix Assets folder. Inside you’ll see nine items. Select all items and zip them up. On a Mac, you can just right click and make an archive. On PC, you should be able to right click and send to compressed folder.

[image lost to Zooomr]

After that, rename the zip file to jar and you’re done. On a Mac, just change .zip to .jar and you’re good to go. On XP, this works too, but you have to go into the Control Panels and Folder Options first and uncheck ‘Hide extensions for known file types‘. Then you can successfully change .zip to .jar.

I usually name jar file to coordinate with the theme name and version (example: iPoxRemix0.1.jar) but you don’t have to do that. Any name will work.

To install your theme in Firefox, just open the browser and go to the addons window. Now drag your jar file to the addons window and it should try an install.

I say try because if you are trying to install iPox Remix, you’ll get an error as your theme doesn’t yet have a unique identity. That’s the next lesson that will be coming soon.

This is just one installment into the iPox Remix set of tutorials that will help you learn how to create your own Firefox theme. Visit the main iPox Remix page for more details.

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33 Responses

  1. Zingba says:

    Just a little note, I must be doing something a bit wrong. I went ahead and downloaded your theme (Thanks btw), completed making it my ‘own’, with personal UUID and changed everything to my own personal specs. I packaged the theme, opened add-ons and dragged the file on over. There is a small moment where it goes through the install bar process, however upon completion nothing happens. And help would be appreciated.

  2. Thomas says:

    Zingba – send it to twistermc-at-gmail and I’ll take a look at it.

  3. Scarz says:

    Im having the same problem with my theme as well, it installs for a second but then nothing happens.

  4. emz says:

    Hi ive followed all the correct steps im sure but when i drag it in the add ons part it says install i click yes then the add ons goes blank and nothing happens??

  5. emz says:

    Hey guys i found the problem! i was clicking on the actual theme folder and compressing it! then changing it to .jar. u have to open the folder and hilight all the contents then compress
    (right click/send to – compressed zipped folder).

    The new folder will appear within the theme folder (with a diff name mine was MACOSX not my personalised theme name) but dont worry still rename it to .jar and drag it into ur add ons box

    wooo i luvvit! thanks Thomas!

  6. emz says:

    now for the tweaks, how do i change the menu bar font color? file, edit, view etc? its white i want it deeppink and cant find it in the css

  7. phaedrus76 says:

    I have followed all of the steps and when I try to install, I get a message stating that this theme is not compatible with Firefox 3.0.1. What gives?

  8. emz says:

    phaedrus.. u must have been editing an older theme for the last version of fireworks. for future ref. u need to download and unpack/edit a theme compatible with the version 3.0.1.. but this can be rectfied if u modiy the install.rdf/ contents.rdf version number

  9. smokey_vols says:

    I get this error when I do the simple install. I unzipped classic.jar and packaged up the 9 items in a zip file and then renamed them to jar. Dragged into add on window and got this error

    Firefox could not install the file at
    file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Joshua/Desktop/THEME/THEME.jar
    because: Not a valid install package
    -207

  10. Davíð says:

    can i make firefox theme on my mac??

  11. Rodnox says:

    Now, I think I know whats “smokey_vols” aka Josuha’s Problem is. The 207 Message appears when you’ve accidently pressed the wrong fromat. Something like *.rar or so. It has to be a *.zip packing technique.

    I’m over that now. But still I have a Problem with the Same Situation. I get an 204 Error Message. Even tho I have just unzipt a fine working skin, zipped it again and renamed it back to *.jar. And suddenly the AddonManager tells me a 204 error. No Install Script. Well, I’ve been loading both (The Oiginal *.jar File and my recreated one) in an Editor and had to see that the code looks quite differently. How come? any Ideas? I’ve been using 3 different Packing Managers. 2 Years ago it worked fine, I’m about to crack up on that …

    • Eric says:

      OOOOHHHh that’s why, how do I make a zip file instead of a rar file (as I have been making)

      • Thomas says:

        On windows? Highlight your folders, right click and send to compressed (zipped) folder. Then rename it from zip to jar. You may also need to do the control panel trick as listed in the post.

  12. Rodnox says:

    Believe it or not, 5 minutes after asking for help I had an Idea and it worked. While in previous Versions I had packed the Folder with the including Files, now I have to pack the files only. I hope that helps Joshua as well. Greets .. yeahhhh .. I’m happy now!

  13. p_ucky says:

    Great!! Sample and Value feed back on this site.
    I have problem same as (smokey_vols) said, now I solved my problem already.
    Thanks 4 every one.

  14. Dondy Kurt says:

    Hello I get this error:

    “iPox Remix” could not be installed due to an error in its Install Manifest ( “11111111-1111-1111-1111-11111111111 ()” is not a valid GUID). Please contact the author of this element of the problem.

    Why??

  15. Anonmymous says:

    An error keeps popping up saying “Install file not found-204” when I try to install it, but the install.rdf is there, whats wrong?

    • rodnox says:

      In recent versions they have changed the behaviour of the theme system. You don’t zip the folder with the files and folders inside, you enter the folder and zip all the files directly.

  16. Finefish says:

    It won’t install. :o( Is there a way to make it compatible with Firefox 3.5.2.? Or do I have to install an older version, and in that case how old? :o/

    • rodnox says:

      Oh yeah, didn’t think about the versions.

      Yes, you have to change the install.rdf. It says there (3.2a1pre) or similar. You have to change it to 3.5.*

      Did you also change the UUID?

      • Finefish says:

        Yeah, I changed to 3.5 and changed the UUID as well, and actually managed to get it installed, hooraaay! 🙂 But now I’m stuck… 🙁 Can’t figure out how to modify things, I want to use my own buttons, change colours and background and stuff…but how!? :o(

        • emz says:

          didn’t you read the tutorials? it’s all there

        • rodnox says:

          Well .. a bit common sense is required.

          I know most of the Themes are messed up, but with a bit will and patience you will find what piece of graphic is for what function.

          Other than that, I can’t help/

  17. Finefish says:

    well, I’m not a computer guy and I know nothing about programming…I’m actually rather proud of myself that I at least managed to install the theme, after a lot of struggle… 🙁
    Thanks anyway!

  18. DragonNick1001 says:

    Okay, so I went through, and edited the whole thing. I got it to install, but when I switched to it, it was basically like the default theme, anyone know why?

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