Proposal: Thunderbird for Tablet

Andrew Sutherland asutherland at asutherland.org
Tue Jul 31 17:12:43 UTC 2012


On 07/31/2012 01:43 AM, Tetsuya Kosaka wrote:
> Mozilla Japan would like to propose developing "Thunderbird for Tablet"
> which is XUL-based native application for Tablet (Windows RT/8,
> Android). Currently there're many Thunderbird users in not only consumer
> but enterprise segment in Japan, and as demand for table increase in
> coming years, we'd think we'll have huge potential "Thunderbird for
> Tablet" users in those segments. For this solution, we think we can
> leverage what Mozilla (and many contributors) has developed for
> "Thunderbird for PC", so it may not require much resources. Any comment
> would be highly appreciated.

I would strongly suggest considering using the B2G e-mail client 
libraries that are under development with a different UI rather than 
trying to port Thunderbird.  Since it's entirely implemented in HTML and 
JS with the TCP API being the only privileged/non-standard API, it can 
be embedded in PhoneGap/Cordova-like environments or run on gecko on 
other platforms.  The TCP API is currently being moved into 
mozilla-central/dom/ from mozilla-central/b2g/, so it should be 
available to all Gecko implementations when it does land.

The API such a UI would be programmed against is:
https://github.com/asutherland/gaia-email-libs-and-more/blob/master/data/lib/rdimap/imapclient/mailapi.js

The phone UI's implementation is here, noting that both the back-end 
libs and UI are under extremely active development are not remotely at a 
feature parity with Thunderbird, nor is feature parity with Thunderbird 
a goal:
https://github.com/mozilla-b2g/gaia/tree/master/apps/email

If you go ahead with Thunderbird, it's important to keep in mind that 
for responsiveness, Mobile Firefox uses a separate process for content 
rendering.  I don't see an easy way to accomplish something similar 
given Thunderbird's architectural requirement for so much activity to 
happen on the main thread.  On the other hand, maybe it's fine.

Andrew



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