Too much glass…

Blake Winton bwinton at
Tue Jun 28 18:08:57 UTC 2011

Hey everyone,

one of the things that has been pointed out to me recently as 
not-really-pretty is that Thunderbird shows too much glass in its 
Windows 7 Aero theme.  Currently, it looks like this (114 pixels of 
glass high):

In the longer-term, I think this will be mitigated by moving to tabs on 
top, and putting the toolbar into the tabs, but that doesn't help us in 
the short-to-medium term.

So I've come up with a few things that I think we can do while we're 
waiting for the big change.

The first pair of ideas is to set the default toolbar format to 
text-beside and small icons, and to hide the menu, as per Firefox, IE, 
Windows Finder, and others.  That would look something like this (with 
79 pixels of glass high):

This seems better, but I think we could do more.  I'm hoping that we can 
get all the way to (54 pixels of glass high):

But that could cause problems with extensions that put their buttons in 
the tab bar.  I've spoken with Philipp about having Lightning move its 
buttons up to the toolbar, and he's happy to make that change, but there 
are a few other extensions that I know about that use the same area.

An alternative proposed by JB was to make the toolbar non-glass, and 
leave glass only for the titlebar and borders.  I'm not a huge fan of 
that, because I like the glass look (just not so much of it), but it's 
definitely worth considering.

So, my proposal is to set the toolbar format and hide the menu for TB 6, 
and look into auto-hiding the tab bar for TB7, with the plan of backing 
it out if it causes problems.

I would appreciate any comments from add-on authors who are using the 
tab bar area on how this would affect them positively or negatively, as 
well as comments from anyone on other quick-and-easy options to make the 
glass area less distracting while we wait for the tabs-on-top to land.

Blake Winton    Thunderbird User Experience Lead
bwinton at

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