Papercuts discussion - Composer related enhancements

JoeS joesab2005 at
Tue Jul 17 19:06:28 UTC 2012

On 7/17/2012 7:22 AM, Axel Grude wrote:
> /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)?
Well, you can edit the hex after you pick a basic color, but a better 
direct selection would be nice.
>       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:
A little background here;
Back when the editor was modified for CSS (Daniel Glazman) it was 
decided that CSS should not be used in mail
due to interoperability problems with Yahoo,Gmail and others.
In fact, I think there is just an editor flag that keeps html instead of 
>       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 fruitful.
> Rationale:
> 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 have been looking for better css composition for years.
I think the dropdown idea is great. (auto-complete would be even better)
BTW, I think the advanced editor still drops margin-left/margin-right, 
if you make any other changes there.
> 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.
> regards
>   Axel
> *Axel Grude*
> Software Developer
> Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, 
> QuickPasswords, Zombie Keys, SmartTemplate4)
> AMO Editor
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
*JoeS ...**"Get a Gecko" TB Release Vers 
<> TB Devlopmental Builds 
<> Seamonkey 
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