Address Bar

The Address Bar component drives the browser’s url bar, a specialized search access point (SAP) including different sources of information:

  • Places: the History, Bookmarks, Favicons and Tags component
  • Search Engines and Suggestions
  • WebExtensions
  • Open Tabs
  • Keywords and aliases

The Address Bar component lives in the browser/components/urlbar/ folder.

Note

The current Address Bar is driven by the legacy toolkit autocomplete binding, along with the Places UnifiedComplete component. This documentation describes a new rewrite of the feature, also known as the Quantum Bar.

Caution

This code is under heavy development and may change abruptly.

Global Architecture Overview

The Address Bar is implemented as a Model-View-Controller (MVC) system. One of the scopes of this architecture is to allow easy replacement of its components, for easier experimentation.

Each search is represented by a unique object, the UrlbarQueryContext. This object, created by the View, describes the search and is passed through all of the components, along the way it gets augmented with additional information. The UrlbarQueryContext is passed to the Controller, and finally to the Model. The model appends results to a property of UrlbarQueryContext in chunks, it sorts them through a Muxer and then notifies the Controller.

See the specific components below, for additional details about each one’s tasks and responsibilities.

The UrlbarQueryContext

The UrlbarQueryContext object describes a single instance of a search. It is augmented as it progresses through the system, with various information:

UrlbarQueryContext {
  allowAutofill; // {boolean} If true, providers are allowed to return
                 // autofill results.  Even if true, it's up to providers
                 // whether to include autofill results, but when false, no
                 // provider should include them.
  isPrivate; // {boolean} Whether the search started in a private context.
  lastKey; // {string} The last key pressed by the user. This can affect the
           // behavior, for example by not autofilling again when the user
           // hit backspace.
  maxResults; // {integer} The maximum number of results requested. It is
              // possible to request more results than the shown ones, and
              // do additional filtering at the View level.
  searchString; // {string} The user typed string.
  userContextId; // {integer} The user context ID (containers feature).

  // Optional properties.
  muxer; // {string} Name of a registered muxer. Muxers can be registered
         // through the UrlbarProvidersManager.
  providers; // {array} List of registered provider names. Providers can be
             // registered through the UrlbarProvidersManager.
  sources; // {array} If provided is the list of sources, as defined by
           // RESULT_SOURCE.*, that can be returned by the model.

  // Properties added by the Model.
  preselected; // {boolean} whether the first result should be preselected.
  results; // {array} list of UrlbarResult objects.
  tokens; // {array} tokens extracted from the searchString, each token is an
          // object in the form {type, value}.
}

The Model

The Model is the component responsible for retrieving search results based on the user’s input, and sorting them accordingly to their importance. At the core is the UrlbarProvidersManager, a component tracking all the available search providers, and managing searches across them.

The UrlbarProvidersManager is a singleton, it registers internal providers on startup and can register/unregister providers on the fly. It can manage multiple concurrent queries, and tracks them internally as separate Query objects.

The Controller starts and stops queries through the UrlbarProvidersManager. It’s possible to wait for the promise returned by startQuery to know when no more results will be returned, it is not mandatory though. Queries can be canceled.

Note

Canceling a query will issue an interrupt() on the database connection, terminating any running and future SQL query, unless a query is running inside a runInCriticalSection task.

The searchString gets tokenized by the UrlbarTokenizer component into tokens, some of these tokens have a special meaning and can be used by the user to restrict the search to specific result type (See the UrlbarTokenizer::TYPE enum).

Caution

The tokenizer uses heuristics to determine each token’s type, as such the consumer may want to check the value before applying filters.

UrlbarProvidersManager {
  registerProvider(providerObj);
  unregisterProvider(providerObj);
  registerMuxer(muxerObj);
  unregisterMuxer(muxerObjOrName);
  async startQuery(queryContext);
  cancelQuery(queryContext);
  // Can be used by providers to run uninterruptible queries.
  runInCriticalSection(taskFn);
}

UrlbarProvider

A provider is specialized into searching and returning results from different information sources. Internal providers are usually implemented in separate jsm modules with a UrlbarProvider name prefix. External providers can be registered as Objects through the UrlbarProvidersManager. Each provider is independent and must satisfy a base API, while internal implementation details may vary deeply among different providers.

Important

Providers are singleton, and must track concurrent searches internally, for example mapping them by UrlbarQueryContext.

Note

Internal providers can access the Places database through the PlacesUtils.promiseLargeCacheDBConnection utility.

class UrlbarProvider {
/**
  • Unique name for the provider, used by the context to filter on providers.
  • Not using a unique name will cause the newest registration to win.
  • @abstract

*/

get name() {
return “UrlbarProviderBase”;

} /**

  • The type of the provider, must be one of UrlbarUtils.PROVIDER_TYPE.
  • @abstract

*/

get type() {
throw new Error(“Trying to access the base class, must be overridden”);

} /**

  • List of UrlbarUtils.RESULT_SOURCE, representing the data sources used by
  • the provider.
  • @abstract

*/

get sources() {
throw new Error(“Trying to access the base class, must be overridden”);

} /**

  • Starts querying.
  • @param {UrlbarQueryContext} queryContext The query context object
  • @param {function} addCallback Callback invoked by the provider to add a new
  • result. A UrlbarResult should be passed to it.
  • @note Extended classes should return a Promise resolved when the provider
  • is done searching AND returning results.
  • @abstract

*/

startQuery(queryContext, addCallback) {
throw new Error(“Trying to access the base class, must be overridden”);

} /**

  • Cancels a running query,
  • @param {UrlbarQueryContext} queryContext The query context object to cancel
  • query for.
  • @abstract

*/

cancelQuery(queryContext) {
throw new Error(“Trying to access the base class, must be overridden”);

}

}

UrlbarMuxer

The Muxer is responsible for sorting results based on their importance and additional rules that depend on the UrlbarQueryContext. The muxer to use is indicated by the UrlbarQueryContext.muxer property.

Caution

The Muxer is a replaceable component, as such what is described here is a reference for the default View, but may not be valid for other implementations.

class UrlbarMuxer {
/**
  • Unique name for the muxer, used by the context to sort results.
  • Not using a unique name will cause the newest registration to win.
  • @abstract

*/

get name() {
return “UrlbarMuxerBase”;

} /**

  • Sorts UrlbarQueryContext results in-place.
  • @param {UrlbarQueryContext} queryContext the context to sort results for.
  • @abstract

*/

sort(queryContext) {
throw new Error(“Trying to access the base class, must be overridden”);

}

}

The Controller

UrlbarController is the component responsible for reacting to user’s input, by communicating proper course of action to the Model (e.g. starting/stopping a query) and the View (e.g. showing/hiding a panel). It is also responsible for reporting Telemetry.

Note

Each View has a different Controller instance.

UrlbarController {
  async startQuery(queryContext);
  cancelQuery(queryContext);
  // Invoked by the ProvidersManager when results are available.
  receiveResults(queryContext);
  // Used by the View to listen for results.
  addQueryListener(listener);
  removeQueryListener(listener);
  // Used to indicate the View context changed, so that cached information
  // about the latest search is no more relevant and can be dropped.
  viewContextChanged();
}

The View

The View is the component responsible for presenting search results to the user and handling their input.

UrlbarInput.jsm

Implements an input box View, owns an UrlbarView.

UrlbarInput {
  constructor(options = { textbox, panel, controller });
  // Used to trim urls when necessary (e.g. removing "http://")
  trimValue();
  // Uses UrlbarValueFormatter to highlight the base host, search aliases
  // and to keep the host visible on overflow.
  formatValue(val);
  // Manage view visibility.
  closePopup();
  openResults();
  // Converts an internal URI (e.g. a URI with a username or password) into
  // one which we can expose to the user.
  makeURIReadable(uri);
  // Handles an event which would cause a url or text to be opened.
  handleCommand();
  // Called by the view when a result is selected.
  resultsSelected();
  // The underlying textbox
  textbox;
  // The results panel.
  panel;
  // The containing window.
  window;
  // The containing document.
  document;
  // An UrlbarController instance.
  controller;
  // An UrlbarView instance.
  view;
  // Whether the current value was typed by the user.
  valueIsTyped;
  // Whether the input box has been focused by a user action.
  userInitiatedFocus;
  // Whether the context is in Private Browsing mode.
  isPrivate;
  // Whether the input box is focused.
  focused;
  // The go button element.
  goButton;
  // The current value, can also be set.
  value;
}

UrlbarView.jsm

Represents the base View implementation, communicates with the Controller.

UrlbarView {
  // Manage View visibility.
  open();
  close();
  // Invoked when the query starts.
  onQueryStarted(queryContext);
  // Invoked when new results are available.
  onQueryResults(queryContext);
  // Invoked when the query has been canceled.
  onQueryCancelled(queryContext);
  // Invoked when the query is done.
  onQueryFinished(queryContext);
  // Invoked when the view context changed, so that cached information about
  // the latest search is no more relevant and can be dropped.
  onViewContextChanged();
}

UrlbarResult

An UrlbarResult instance represents a single search result with a result type, that identifies specific kind of results. Each kind has its own properties, that the View may support, and a few common properties, supported by all of the results.

Note

Result types are also enumerated by UrlbarUtils.RESULT_TYPE.

UrlbarResult {
  constructor(resultType, payload);

  type: {integer} One of UrlbarUtils.RESULT_TYPE.
  source: {integer} One of UrlbarUtils.RESULT_SOURCE.
  title: {string} A title that may be used as a label for this result.
  icon: {string} Url of an icon for this result.
  payload: {object} Object containing properties for the specific RESULT_TYPE.
  autofill: {object} An object describing the text that should be
            autofilled in the input when the result is selected, if any.
  autofill.value: {string} The autofill value.
  autofill.selectionStart: {integer} The first index in the autofill
                           selection.
  autofill.selectionEnd: {integer} The last index in the autofill selection.
}

The following RESULT_TYPEs are supported:

// Payload: { icon, url, userContextId }
TAB_SWITCH: 1,
// Payload: { icon, suggestion, keyword, query, isKeywordOffer }
SEARCH: 2,
// Payload: { icon, url, title, tags }
URL: 3,
// Payload: { icon, url, keyword, postData }
KEYWORD: 4,
// Payload: { icon, keyword, title, content }
OMNIBOX: 5,
// Payload: { icon, url, device, title }
REMOTE_TAB: 6,

Shared Modules

Various modules provide shared utilities to the other components:

UrlbarPrefs.jsm

Implements a Map-like storage or urlbar related preferences. The values are kept up-to-date.

// Always use browser.urlbar. relative branch, except for the preferences in
// PREF_OTHER_DEFAULTS.
UrlbarPrefs.get("delay"); // Gets value of browser.urlbar.delay.

Note

Newly added preferences should always be properly documented in UrlbarPrefs.

UrlbarUtils.jsm

Includes shared utils and constants shared across all the components.

Telemetry Probes

Content to be written

Debugging & Logging

Content to be written

Getting in Touch

For any questions regarding the Address Bar, the team is available through the #fx-search channel on irc.mozilla.org and the fx-search@mozilla.com mailing list.

Issues can be filed in Bugzilla under the Firefox / Address Bar component.