Thunderbird Home Tab

Bryan Clark clarkbw at
Sun Apr 17 23:02:26 UTC 2011

I think this is a great idea.

I did a mockup for this a while back but I can't seem to find it now.  
It wasn't much but just started in the direction you're talking about.

Create a home tab which is always available and instead of requiring a 3 
pane window to always be open it's the home tab that is required.  This 
has a number of great improvements to the over all system.

* Instead of showing a 3 pane like tab (using an empty account page) 
when Thunderbird is being setup we show the home tab
* The only tab that can't be closed is the home tab instead of the 3 
pane window.  The home tab helps you launch other tabs like the 3 pane 
tab or add-on provided tabs.
* Opening mail in new windows simply becomes opening TB in a new window 
with a message reader tab and the home tab (likely the tab row is hidden 
in this case); which avoids all the duplicate code of the current 
separate window

I'd love to help where I can.  I'd say just get started on something 
very simple and build from there.  Currently AFAIK much of TB is 
expecting a 3 pane running at all times so you'll likely hit most of 
your issues there.

~ Bryan

On 11-04-17 9:26 AM, Jonathan Protzenko wrote:
>         TL;DR
> I've been thinking about the web tabs and the rss dashboard 
> experiments. I think a very nice project could be a Thunderbird home 
> tab, just like the Firefox home tab. It could unify web tabs, rss 
> dashboard, and possibly other information, into a single page that's 
> your entry point into Thunderbird, and that also gives you an overview 
> of everything that happens in your Thunderbird. Plus, it could provide 
> a consistent experience between Firefox and Thunderbird.
>         Rationale
> Alex Faaborg has been talking recently about the Firefox home tab 
> <> 
> that he envisions for Firefox 6. He wants it to store various pieces 
> of information: people, websites, history, bookmarks, tabs and tabs 
> groups... I'm stricken by how useful that could be for Thunderbird as 
> well. Think about the various types of actions you do with Thunderbird:
> - check new mail,
> - check rss feeds,
> - tweak account settings,
> - email people,
> - open web apps into Thunderbird tabs,
> - etc. etc.
> All these actions match what Alex describes in his blog post, and I 
> think we could display each one of these items into a Thunderbird home 
> tab that's your entry point for Thunderbird. It would allow you to:
> - have a widget that displays most recent emails,
> - have a widget that displays most recent RSS feeds,
> - have an area that allows you to customize settings for each one of 
> your accounts,
> - have an area with your favorite contacts,
> - have an area that allows you to open web apps such as Facebook and 
> Twitter as Thunderbird tabs,
> - etc. etc.
> (Each one of the bullet points above is supposed to match the 
> corresponding bullet point from the first list). It would look like a 
> Firefox app tab, glow when something new happens, etc. etc. Alex's 
> home tab is constantly open and appears leftmost in the Firefox tab 
> bar. I think that's something that could prove relevant for 
> Thunderbird as well. Various UI items are not discoverable easily 
> (think account settings vs. general settings), and I think it could 
> provide a great starting point for all your Thunderbird-related actions.
>         Mockup
> As a proof of concept, and just for RSS Feeds, I've uploaded my RSS 
> Dashboard experiment to AMO 
> <>. It's 
> braindead simple, and works minimally, but I just wanted to show that 
> we could build cool stuff with just a few lines of JS in Thunderbird. 
> If that were ever to happen, we could reuse the code from the RSS 
> Dashboard, and from Webtabs, to create a great experiment.
> If anyone stands interested, I'd love to implement this and devote 
> some time to this, as I believe it's highly valuable. However, the 
> catch is I'm *pretty bad at design and UX*. Therefore, I don't know 
> who's the right person to ping for this. With Mozilla Messaging now 
> being reintegrated into Mozilla,
> - can we expect Firefox UX people to be interested in contributing to 
> this?
> - can we expect Bryan and Andy to be interested in this, or are they 
> going to be more focused on F1-related stuff, and not available for 
> Thunderbird work?
> I'd love to hear your thoughts about this! Do you think it is a good 
> direction? Do you think I would be wasting my time?
> Have a nice Sunday all,
> jonathan

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