Thunderbird prefs redesign (aka mega-prefs)

Jim squibblyflabbetydoo at gmail.com
Mon Dec 27 19:13:19 UTC 2010


On Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 7:58 AM, Jonathan Protzenko
<jonathan.protzenko at gmail.com> wrote:
> If the HTML is generated through a jquery-tmpl template, what about a hook
> mechanism just like I described on
> <http://blog.xulforum.org/index.php?post/2010/11/27/Thunderbird-Conversations-plugins>?
> Addons could just add their own custom template through the "hook"
> mechanism, and register themselves for generation through the main
> jquery-tmpl loop.

This almost sounds more complicated than XUL overlays, but I haven't
actually used jquery-tmpl, so maybe it's not all that bad.

> As to the native look and feel in HTML, I believe it's feasible. This has
> been discussed for Thunderbird Conversations, and there are a *lot* of
> mozilla-only CSS properties, values and colors that make it feasible to
> style HTML controls with the system colors. See the discussion at
> https://github.com/protz/GMail-Conversation-View/issues#issue/189 and all
> the values at
> https://mxr.mozilla.org/mozilla-central/source/widget/public/nsILookAndFeel.h#51
> in particular.
>
> Besides, I tend to favor the HTML solution as it lowers the entry barrier
> for potential contributors, but I think this issue has been discussed at
> length already.

Color-wise, I'm sure we're fine, but we'd miss out on some of the
nicer XUL controls <https://developer.mozilla.org/en/XUL_controls>
that we currently use (e.g. menu-buttons, colorpickers, trees,
possibly date/timepickers for Lightning*), we wouldn't be able to use
XBL (maybe?) which I wanted to use to automate the per-account
drilldown for prefs, and we'd probably have to rewrite anything that
came from Firefox, like the mimetype association stuff.

If you can put XUL in HTML, most of these are irrelevant, but I'm 99%
sure you can put HTML in XUL, so people who wanted to use HTML in the
prefs for extensions would be able to.

That said, I've never had a problem with writing XUL compared to HTML,
barring a couple of minor bugs that got fixed eventually. I know
there's some messiness in core that makes XUL painful, but it doesn't
seem to intrude too much on the front-end. Maybe I just haven't been
burned enough yet. :)

* Granted, many of these are available in HTML5, but there are still a
few missing.

- Jim



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