TB End Users survey - do not distribute

Patrick Cloke clokep at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 14:53:39 UTC 2012

On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 5:55 AM, Tanstaafl <tanstaafl at libertytrek.org>wrote:

> On 2012-07-20 5:30 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:
>> It seems to me that the evidence is that IM/social integration is not
>> a heavily-desired feature, and people have trouble understanding what
>> that might even mean. Is that a fair conclusion from the data?
>> That doesn't mean people shouldn't do it, necessarily, but it does
>> mean that it would need careful defining of use cases and explanation
>> of benefits.
> I would love to be able to initiate an IM session *with my preferred IM
> client* directly from Thunderbird

This is generally capable by using link / protocol handlers.  Most IM
protocols have some URI scheme associated with them.  Thunderbird could
attempt to open links with these with the OS and if your IM client supports
them (and properly registers with the OS), I think this should work OK.

> - and maybe even have Thunderbird be able to reflect a Contacts status by
> monitoring my preferred IM client that is running in the background. This
> would most likely require the Address Book rewrite that has been planned
> for so long.
> Why reinvent the wheel? It would make more sense to spend a lot less dev
> hours on just figuring out a way to 'integrate' with the most popular IM
> clients (and do it in a plug-in type fashion so that other users could
> write extensions to support other IM clients if they wanted to).

This would also require the IM client to provide this information in some
way.  I highly doubt that any IM clients do this (except maybe Telepathy)
support this.  I suppose you could make a plug-in for both the IM client
and for Thunderbird, but honestly that sounds like a lot more work to me.
Additionally, this would only be reasonable for clients with some sort of
plug-in infrastructure that can get presence information.  It's also pretty
difficult to find out which clients are "popular" (you can't get
information on this like you can for browsers as most networks are
proprietary).  There are a few papers floating around that I or Florian
have come across about which networks / protocols are most popular; but not
necessarily what clients are popular.

Also, if the numbers in that PDF are to be believed...Skype is the most
popular and they're not much fun to integrate with. :)

"reinvent the wheel" seems pretty strong too, are the protocol code is
shared with Instantbird (and was first developed for, and is supported by
Instantbird developers as well as Thunderbird developers). The UI was
mostly uplifted initially from Instantbird and tweaked to fit into
Thunderbird.  It isn't like huge sections of code are being written from
scratch here.

About IM in email clients in general...I agree with Vincent that I find it
extremely beneficial for work.  It's less intrusive than calling, but more
immediate than email.  Having the presence information is nice if you want
to walk down to someone's office, although opening up the actual contact
list shows that as well.  I find that the combination of Microsoft Outlook
+ Lync (Office Communicator) is *far* superior to Thunderbird (+ any
instant messaging client).  Support for initiating phone calls or IMs
directly from an email is clutch, as well as fully integration of free/busy
from the calendar (and also integrated with presence information).
Ironically, this is probably an area that Thunderbird could choose to be
innovative in.

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