Role of addons

Ludovic Hirlimann lhirlimann at
Mon Sep 17 11:33:05 UTC 2012

On 9/14/12 7:20 PM, Blake Winton wrote:
> On 14-09-12 13:06 , Kent James wrote:
>> To push at the simplicity boundary, we must be willing to reduce the
>> complexity of the user interface. One of the main ways that we have
>> to do that is through addons. The user interface for features that
>> are only going to be used by a tiny fraction of our users should be
>> pushed to addons, and not included in the core code.
> As TB UX Lead, I'm a strong +1 on this position.  ;)
>> In the long run I would like to see us do this more explicitly by
>> adding a category of addon that is maintained along with the core
>> product, and shipped with the core product. So these addons would
>> have the same commitment to support as any core feature, but are
>> included as addons to reduce the overall complexity of the product.
>> Good candidates for that in the long run would be chat, calendaring,
>> RSS feeds, bayesian junk processing, advanced security models, and
>> advanced search and filter functionality.
>> In the short run, I would encourage us to be selective about adding
>> new features that complicate an already overwhelming user interface.
>> Just because a developer is motivated should not be a good reason to
>> add new user interface items for rarely needed features.
> I also agree with this, although if any developer wants to simplify
> some of the user interface (like aceman is doing for the filter
> stuff), I would heartily welcome that!
>> Comments?
> Instead of addons, what about having a section of the preferences
> dedicated to less-used-features, which can be turned on and off as the
> user chooses?
> The benefits I see to this are that it will be easier to keep the code
> in sync with the core code, since any breakage will show up in our
> tests, and it shouldn't be any less work to provide the same level of
> support.
> The disadvantage is that we may forget that some features are not
> always enabled, and so code against them in the core.
I would love to have a UI map of the usage of Thunderbird, that would be
a great first step into figuring how to reduce complexity.


@lhirlimann on twitter

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