Thunderbird and Addons

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Wed Aug 26 22:16:18 UTC 2015


> On 08/26/2015 02:44 PM, R Kent James wrote:
>> It would be good to inform us of any binary extensions that are out there and your 
>> needs.
>
> This is extremely crucial advice to add-on developers. Anything that cannot be 
> satisfied with js-ctypes we should be well-informed of, because we're unlikely to be 
> able to maintain this.
>> We have no current plan for dealing with the XUL deprecation issue. We don't get 
>> invited to sit at the cool kids table anymore, so this is hitting us about the same 
>> time it is hitting you (though I suspect the discussion was public if we had looked 
>> hard enough).
>
> In a recent message, I've referred to the XUL/XPCOM issue as a "looming disaster" 
> (to steal the term from a video game). XUL we're going to have to move away from, 
> for sure. I do suspect, however, that there will remain a chrome/content divergence 
> in the layout engine without HTML, and if that is the case, we should be able to use 
> WebIDL to bridge JS and C++ in a post-XPCOM world (I already know at a high-level 
> what needs to be done, and I've had support from bz about our use cases here in the 
> past). I do have ideas on how to do that. It's very unclear to me how WebExtensions 
> would handle custom WebIDL APIs, but if that is possible, we could use it.
>
> The bigger problem with the deletion of XUL is that XUL has some high-quality 
> widgets that are very difficult to code in pure HTML--namely, I'm referring to the 
> <tree> widget. Honestly, this is something that I feel Mozilla should be providing 
> if they move away from XUL, but I doubt they will (judging from the response to the 
> last XUL tree question on m.d.platform).
If XUL goes away is the plan to re-code the core UI in HTML5 as well? How are dialog 
overlays going to be implemented? What about toolbars, icon menus? There is an awful 
lot UI-goodness in XUL and extensibility in overlays, and overlaying is very simply on 
top - I hope there will be an adequate technology without losing functionality before 
Thunderbird even considers switching away from this.

As somebody with 25+ years of desktop application experience I can only say that 
xul+css had been a dream come true, I hope this won't be squandered for the promise 
mobile platform compatibility. I still see Tb as a desktop fat client.

Axel

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