Firedocs eLML Editor


The University of Zurich has been trying to build an editor for eLML for a long time (nearly since the beginning of the eLML project). After two unsuccessful approaches a third approach based on the Mozilla Firefox Plugin technology led to success. In summer 2008 the first beta version of the term Firedocs eLML Editor was released.

So what is Firedocs? Firedocs is a webbased XML editor for Mozilla Firefox that the University of Zurich has developed for both its Content Management System UniCMS and for eLML, the eLesson Markup Language. Both the UniCMS and eLML are XML-based strategic tools of the University of Zurich and needed an easy to use editor. The Firedocs project has now become an autonomous open source project but it offers extensions for both eLML and UniCMS. The editor provided on this website is already compiled containing the eLML extensions you will need to create and edit eLML lessons.


  • Full featured xml-editor for eLML lessons
  • Schema-directed editing and validation. This makes creating invalid lessons almost impossible.
  • Works with large lessons: Pagebreak-level can be set to unit or lesson.
  • Both standalone (lessons stored on your harddisk) and online (in conjunction with UniCMS repository) editing mode
  • Multi-platform
  • Auto-completion for term (glossary), citation (bibliography) and link (internal targets) element
  • Full support for images, movies and other linked inline media
  • Auto save
  • Add-on Development: Easily scriptable/extendable by using javascript/xul

For a full list of the Firedocs-features have a look at the Firedocs-website. Please note that the eLML-specific features are not listed there.

Click on screenshot for large view Click on screenshot for large view

System Requirements

Firedocs is Mozilla Firefox plugin and therefore runs on every platform supported by Mozilla Firefox. Check the following things before installing:

  • Firefox 4 or above!
  • Java 1.6 (Java SE 6 Update 10) or above
  • Java-Plugin installed and activated in Firefox (under "Extras:add-ons:Plugins")
  • JavaScript and Cookies activated in Firefox (under "Settings")

Download and Installation

Firedocs is included in the tools-folder of the stable release in the eLML-core. But you can also download the ZIP file directly (see below). The installation of the "Firedocs eLML Editor" is quick and easy. If you ever installed a Mozilla Firefox plugin you know the procedure:

  1. Get the Firedocs eLML Editor
  2. Drag and drop the downloaded file firedocs-elml-x.xpi on a Firefox window and click "install".
  3. Restart Mozilla Firefox
  4. You will notice a new icon (notepad with pen) to the right of the browser bar. Click it and choose " File --> Open..." to open your existing eLML lessons XML file (or use the GITTA demolesson included in the stable release).


There is no specific documentation for the "Firedocs eLML Editor" available yet. But you might want to have a look at the following Firedocs pages:


First of all check the "System Requirements" above (crucial!) and for further help the German Was tun bei Problemen? page. This page contains tutorials on how to upgrade your system if the system requirements are not fulfilled. You can also find these tutorials (e.g. how to upgrade Java version etc.) via Google in English or other languages. If that does not help: Check the eLML support page for more information about how to proceed. Do you want to have some specific features added to Firedocs? Contact Thomas Comiotto, the Firedocs developer for commercial services.


If Firedocs does not start up ("freezes" during startup) you should try to deactivate the Next Generation Plugin API. Go to "Extras:Add-ons:Extensions" and click on the Firedocs Workspace Settings to deactive it! Another thing you can try is to clear the XSLT and Schema Cache. You can find these buttons also in the Firedocs settings in the tab "Editor".


If Firedocs messes up your encoding in your XML file, then you should make sure that you have set Firefox to UTF8 encoding. Open the Firefox Settings, to the the tab "Content". Click on "Advances" und "Fonts and Colors" and there choose the character encoding "Unicode (UTF-8)". Now it should work!

Found a bug? No tool is bug-free, we know that. If you found a bug, please submit it using our bugreport. Make sure that your bug is not already submitted and that (if it isn't) you choose the category "Firedocs eLML Editor" in the bugreport-form. You can also contact us on the eLML support address: