Role of addons

Gary A. Mort me+tb at gary.mort.net
Fri Sep 14 17:44:16 UTC 2012


      One thing I disagreed strongly with regarding the new "direction" for
Thunderbird was an overall opinion that Thunderbird was "stagnating"..  
 
 Looking over the add-ons directory, I find that Thunderbird is a vibrantly
growing system with many core features being placed there.  For example,
there is a wonderful manage SIEVE plugin.  And it is precisely where it
should be - in the add on's directory because not everyone has a sieve
supporting server.
 
 Where I find Thunderbird to be stagnating is that the directory can be
hard to go through and find collections of extensions that integrate well
together.  At the same time - certain popular extension developers should
be polled on what would make their system easier to code for.
 
 Again, going back to SIEVE - what is the functionality of SIEVE?  It's a
filter manager...so if there was a more convenient API in filter management
to allow maintaining both external and internal filters using the same
interface that would be a plus - which won't appear as a feature to the end
user - but could be used to promote other features. [For example, if the
Filter app had API's useful to SIEVE, those same API's would be usable for
a GMAIL filter manager... GMAIL filters are editable via API, there just is
a change in terminology.  Trying to write a full featured filter manager
would be a pain, but if half the work is in the TB API then it can be
pushed out.
 
 To that end, I agree about 75% with the idea of pushing new features into
add ons - where I disagree is that for the small bit of code which would be
best off in core code to generalize an api for the function.
 
 As an example, you send it is an cool little feature - but the way it was
written, if someone else wants to store files on a different service they
need to write a completely new add on.  If instead a generalized file
handling API had been placed in the core code, while the you send it
specific code was in the official add on directory - that would likely have
sparked a dozen more add ons providing similar functionality - which leads
to growth and best practices being created - instead of odd little features
only a few people use.
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