Papercuts discussion - Composer related enhancements

Axel Grude axel.grude at
Tue Jul 17 11:22:14 UTC 2012

/Following up: /What's the status of papercuts?

Since replacing the complete composer is probably to big a task for the scope of 
papercuts I would like to discuss a number of enhancements to enhance the current 
(html) composer functionality:

      Color Selection

*Bug 453853* <> -Unable to set hex 
value for background color in the color picker

I would like to rename this to (upgrade color picker to allow more color selections). 
Unfortunately I do not have Thunderbird bugzilla admin rights, and maybe there is 
another bug on this elsewhere [I searched for Tb/Compose + {color picker} and for 
Tb/Compose + {colors} ]?

A quick way would probably be if we could include rainbowpicker into the core code 
(obviously after asking its author)?

      Format Painter

"A copy format" function is badly needed. One problem currently is that a lot of the 
built in formatting tools  actually insert tags (such as <big> <b> <i>) rather than 
styles, so a more fundamental problem must be addressed first:

      CSS Property Editor

Image > Advanced property editor Enhancements

I wonder if this could be generalized to apply CSS properties to all sorts of tags 
(not just img). Ideally I would like the possiblity to select a paragraph (which we 
should be able to turn from a <br>....section...<br>  into a <p>..</p> pair, and then 
select something like a "layout" option.

As a starting point we could use the "Inline Style" tab of the "Advanced Property 
Editor" and add a dropdown to the Attribute field. The tricky bit is to select the 
correct tag (probably the nearest enclosing tag) and to visually represent this  in 
the Editor window.

For this particular purpose (increasing style expressiveness in the WYSIWIG editor, 
via inline styles) I would chose to remove the tabs "HTML attributes" and "Javascript 
Events" and focus on css styles alone. ONe thing that Thunderbird does very badly at 
the moment is to expose the current expressive power it has via CSS3 to the ordinary 
user. Most other rich editors have some sort of a "x-ray" mode where special 
(meta-)characters such as tabs, line feeds, section breaks etc. are displayed; what I 
would like to have is something generic that shows enclosing tag pairs (or an outline 
around html constructs) so that they can easily be spotted and manipulated. This is 
actually the hard part of this enhancement, but I think discussion of this would be 


Currently, the only way to create an email with  "clean markup" is by using extensions 
that expose HTML source, which works for me, but not most ordinary users. As /first 
step/ we could make it easier to add inline styling via the method above; this will 
make it easier for users to discover layout features of Composer. As a /second/ /step/ 
we might then later encapsulate the interface so it can be used by users who do not 
know CSS.

I would love to be involved in such composer improvements, but I would also like to 
assess as to what other ideas or maybe code fragments are already out there. Therefore 
I am currently holding off on filing new (or re-appropriating existing) bugs on this 
and adding them to the papercuts list, until I have a feel for what the opinions on 
the list on this are.

I would also hope that we can spend some time during MozCamp to discuss the composer 
piece in order to devise a short term strategy for pulling this thing back into the 
21st century.


*Axel Grude*
Software Developer
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, QuickPasswords, Zombie 
Keys, SmartTemplate4)
AMO Editor
*To: *"tb-planning"<tb-planning at>
*From: *"Chris Ilias"<tb-planning at>
*Sent: *Saturday, 09/06/12 06:49:37 06:49 GMT Daylight Time +0100
*Subject:*What's the status of papercuts?
> In late March, Blake sent an email listing UX priorities, including papercuts. If I 
> do a search for TB and mailnews core bugs with [UXprio] that are fixed since March 
> 24, I only get one bug (508776). Has there been any priority given to those bugs?
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at
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