Thunderbird as a Web App revisited

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at
Sun Dec 20 02:15:50 UTC 2015

Paul D. Fernhout wrote on 13.12.2015 19:18:
> But the reason I feel that is the way forward anyway (for Thunderbird 
> as a Mozilla project at least) is because Firefox's support for local 
> data is a problematical afterthought (as with the ignored Firefox 
> issue I posted about that 1.5 years ago mentioned at the beginning of 
> the manifesto). To get Firefox to work predictably as far as 
> same-origin policy security restrictions, you tend to have to use 
> Firefox to surf to a live website (even if it is a locally hosted 
> website). I hope that situation improves through a deep rethinking by 
> Firefox of what same origin policy means for local applications and 
> local files, and such a Thunderbird Webapp project might drive such 
> improvements, but that is the current state as I've experienced it -- 
> using Firefox without a webserver involved is problematical (which is 
> sad to me). 

If there's a rewrite of Thunderbird in HTML5/JS, it would need a local 
runtime (similar to XULRunner, but for HTML5+JS, not XUL).

That runtime would need some features that a normal webbrowser does not 
have. The absolute minimum that comes to mind is opening TCP sockets, to 
allow IMAP/POP3 without proxying, and opening/saving files (even if only 
in a certain directory on disk), to store emails persistently locally. 
Probably I'm missing a few other things.

That's not outlandish. There are a number of projects which do exactly that.

That wouldn't be a "webapp" anymore. A webapp comes straight from a web 
server and runs in a normal browser, that's its definition. We commonly 
call webapps that do email simply "webmail". There's plenty and plenty 
and even more of that, in all sizes, shapes and colors. We don't need 


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