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FrameXML is Blizzard's in-house name for the part of the standard World of Warcraft User Interface facility that allows UI constructs and Frames to be implemented using XML templates, and hence replaceable by users via AddOns.


FrameXML can refer to either:

  • the 'FrameXML' folder and .toc file in the wow game folders used for the main WoW UI.
  • the general 'XML UI' mechanism and facilities in the WoW.

Here are the major categorites of 'UI Customization' documentation on WoWWIki, starting at the highest level:

  • XML UI - Documents the actual FrameXML facility. Is useful for those that want to use FrameXML as a part of their AddOns, and is generally necessary for understanding of the Widget API.
  • Widget API - Documents the Lua-side FrameXML API, and provides documentation for a good portion of the pre-defined blizzard 'Widgets', which are defined in XML and Lua in the Blizzard FrameXML folders.
  • WoW API - Documentation for the Blizzard's core WoW API, exposed to Lua code.
  • WoW Lua - Documentation for the WoW customized flavor of Lua.


Blizzard has historically used, and still uses, XML to define nearly all of their actual UI frame elements and facilites. One of the reasons for this originally was that using XML avoided having to generate Lua side 'objects' or representations of elements for every single object, table, and string that were already defined on the 'C' side and were part of the actual render and event paths. The XML could be read and discarded, only generating Lua side constructs as necessary.

The UIOBJECT API has grown over time to support more of the same facilites as XML loader, and now has near parity with the native XML loading. There is still a siginificant savings for the default UIs to load using the XML loader. However for AddOns following best pratices, the difference can be insignificant. Many veteran AddOn developers prefer using only the UIOBJECT APi.

Historically, the UIOBJECT API has been documented on WoWWiki in the 'Widget API', as everything that was considered 'Frame' or default UI related was lumped together. The FrameXML and base UI itself is now more clearly seperated from the Lua side API, in order to provide more clear documetation. Base 'WoW Addon' documentation is also now provided.

See also

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