Thunderbird support extension

David Bienvenu bienvenu at davidbienvenu.org
Tue Jun 1 20:06:17 UTC 2010


  On 6/1/10 6:21 AM, Bryan Clark wrote:
> I like it a lot!  I wanted to go over them here to make sure i 
> understand them. I'll add more random ideas inline as well.
>
> > an extension that helps deals with the top few support issues, 
> solving them if possible, giving more diagnostic information if not 
> possible to solve.
>
> Would a use case for this idea be: person opens a tab to find the top 
> 10 GS issues listed (possible quick search on some more). Each issue 
> has an embedded "solution" which could be a workaround or a small 
> script that makes the necessary changes.
>
I've been thinking of this as a diagnostic and repair tool for common 
issues, like Windows has, except that we would actually solve some 
issues :-) So you click on an item that corresponds to your problem; we 
run some diagnostics, perhaps ask some more questions, and then attempt 
a repair, or give some advice.
> > Message send/receive issues - reprobe settings, username, etc.
>
>
> If I understand this it sounds like it could be built into the top 
> issues some how. A static one that always is around. Or we could just 
> try to attach it to connection errors and it's completely separate. 
> Either use case doesn't matter right now, I'm just trying to 
> understand it a bit more.
>
So I'm thinking that the extension would mainly be static issues, 
because the main benefit of having this in an extension is that we can 
do more than a web page in terms of trying to diagnose and fix issues. 
 From the user's point of view, I was thinking that they have a serious 
issue; they go to Get Satisfaction, and are told, either through the web 
site, or by a someone responding to their issue, to install the support 
extension and try to diagnose the problem. I wasn't thinking of the 
extension as something users would permanently install and use whenever 
they have support issues. But we could do both.
>
>
> > Profile discovery/import.
>
> Matbe a use case is: on startup if we are having profile errors we 
> open a support tab that helps the person find their profile and 
> restart. A person could also go manually into this page to import and 
> old profile, perhaps from a backup.
>
Yes, something like that. I think in the case of prefs.js getting 
horked, or profiles.ini getting horked, we may be able to tell that this 
isn't a brand new install of Thunderbird.
>
> > Easy way to clear the disk cache, and rebuild indexes/offline stores.
>
> Maybe a use case here is just having this be a static issue in our top 
> issues page with a solution having these options.
>
Finding the UI for these things can be a challenge for some users...
>
>
> > Turn on folder compaction, if not already turned on, and/or compact 
> folders.
>
> I don't really understand this. At first I thought a possible use case 
> might be something that lists all your accounts and folders with the 
> currently used size of the folder and allows you to compact them and 
> change the compact settings.
>
This is more of a diagnostic thing - user has some non-specific issue 
(mail is slow, missing messages...). We'd run through the folders and 
see if there's a ton of wasted space, or folders are near 4GB, and if 
so, just clean them up. This is something that might work its way into 
the core code, or we'd just flip the default for compaction...
>
>
> > Check for virus checkers known to cause issues, especially ones that 
> intercept the communication between Thunderbird and the mail server.
>
> This made me think that we could have something that looks for 
> extensions known to cause issues from the GS forums. I'm not sure if 
> those virus checkers use extensions our not and that might be a 
> separate idea.
>
The virus checkers that completely break us have extension components, 
but the virus checkers that prevent mail from being retrieved or sent, 
or slow down file access tend not to have extensions.
>
> If we could somehow detect the installation (and usage) of the virus 
> checker I could see a use case where we open up a notification bar 
> that warns them and maybe takes the person to a issue / solution page. 
> I see this similar to when gmail started detecting firebug running and 
> alerting people that it really slowed things down.
>
>
> > Check for non-default settings the user may have accidentally toggled 
> and gotten confused
>
> I like this one a lot. The "where did this go?" helper.  I'd see the 
> use case as perhaps: opening the support page with the top support 
> issues. It could be broken out into individual issues or one "pieces 
> are missing" issue which has buttons to try changing the settings. If 
> we listed the common settings and highlighted the changed ones people 
> could click "restore" to get back to the default setting. A "restore 
> all" button could also be at the top to just revert all the common 
> custom settings. A further piece might then help them enter a GS issue 
> if those items didn't fix it.
yes, that sounds cool.

- David
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