Thunderbird support extension

Roland Tanglao roland at rolandtanglao.com
Mon Jul 5 06:00:47 UTC 2010


H Eric and all:

I like the health check idea. I think a simple health check +
troubleshooting wizard (simple to be defined) together with a port of
about:support is a great starting point for getting support into
Thunderbird.

I'll update the wiki page (I am planning on discussing this with folks
at the summit).

Anybody interested in coding  about:support port from Firefox and a
simple health check + simple troubleshooting wizard?
If so, you know where to find me :-) !
...Roland



On Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 6:22 PM, Eric Moore <tanstaafl at emoore.ftml.net> wrote:
> I disagree with the top support issue focus. I think it would be better to
> focus on what it can fix/diagnose reliably, and not try to be a silver
> bullet.
>
> Trying to enforce recommended settings can easily backfire and will be very
> version dependent. I suggest the extension be less ambitious and just do two
> things. You could provide another extension later on that knows how to tweak
> settings and performance or enhance tools -> import to know how to
> import/merge other Thunderbird profiles etc.
>
> 1. A general health check of the current profile and profiles.ini - tell the
> user if something seems wrong because its inconsistent or can't be found,
> and suggest what they should do about it. For example, if the account
> directory only has the mandatory folders and the account directory isn't in
> the default location look in panacea.dat to see if there is any sign that
> there used to be several user created folders. Perhaps the local directory
> setting accidentally changed, causing the user to lose access to most of
> their folders.
>
> Similarly if the user has two POP gmail accounts and it finds
> pop.gmail-1.com though pop.gmail-7.com check whether most of them look like
> deleted old accounts or its a indication that the local directory
> occasionally changes for no good reason.
>
> If you want to get ambitious that could include checking for and offering to
> fix corrupted folders (after backing them up). I'm used to three cases - one
> where rebuilding the index is sufficient, one where you need to replace the
> folder with a new empty folder and move the messages from the corrupted
> folder to it, and the hard case where you normally need to use a text editor
> to edit the mbox file to recover as much as possible (deciding what message
> fragments to lose, when to add a dummy from_ line because the start of the
> message is gone etc.).
>
> 2. Run a troubleshooting wizard that is designed for non-computer literates
> that verifies the basic functionality of Thunderbird (are you missing any
> messages or folders, can you send messages etc.) and steps though the
> various areas to narrow down whats wrong. Then it makes several specific
> suggestions on how to fix it. The focus is on divide and conquer of problems
> with basic functionality, not the top support issues.
>
> I suggest it be fairly Thunderbird version independent so that it improves
> over time rather than trying to chase a moving target. This means that
> certain areas such as message synchronization wouldn't get added for a long
> while.
>
> A lot of users don't understand the official terminology (are messages
> listed in the message pane, thread pane, folder listing or ...?) so small
> screen shots identifying what its talking about would help.
>
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