Role of addons
asutherland at asutherland.org
Fri Sep 14 19:14:14 UTC 2012
On 09/14/2012 11:52 AM, Kent James wrote:
>> I also wonder if some options don't necessary need UI and
>> "about:config" is a good enough UI for them.
> That is good for really rare choices, or cases where a minority
> disagrees with a decision (New versus Unread counts in the Mac summary
> is a good example of that). But some key players hate them on principle.
I think I may fall into the "on principle" bucket, so it's useful to
enumerate the principle: Hidden preferences can introduce combinatorial
complexity where you need to think about and test many interacting things.
In cases where many features/preferences can potentially interact in
complex ways, it's strongly worth avoiding them. The
FolderDisplayWidget/thread-pane is a big example of lots of stuff bound
together where the presence of hidden preferences was problematic.
In cases where the features are largely orthogonal, it's a less serious
concern, but there's still the issue that if you have a feature and it
doesn't have tests and people don't generally know about it, then it can
easily be regressed.
By compelling things to be extensions instead, you move the cognitive
and testing burdens of the extra permutations off the core developers
onto the extension developers. This is definitely a trade-off, but can
be beneficial to extension developers since they will need to worry
about a simpler set of core functionality.
Having said that, I think my point is valid, but since I'm not one of
the people moving Thunderbird forward, don't count it as a vote.
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