The infamous Mozilla core editor

Jörg Knobloch jorgk at
Thu Mar 5 22:13:16 UTC 2015

Hi all,

I would like to raise the issue of the Mozilla core editor.

So far I haven't heard many good things about it. What was said is that 
the module, part of Gecko and managed within Mozilla Central, is not 
actively maintained. Ehsan Akhgari wrote in bug 1100966, comment #26:
"We have no paid staff who is actively working on the editor code".

Let's step back and think what is Thunderbird. To me, Thunderbird, apart 
from offering other useful functions like calendar, chat, etc., serves 
as an e-mail client, that is, a program to read and **write** messages.

And in fact, these messages are written using the core editor. Whilst 
the core editor is not used much in Firefox, to my knowledge only in 
<div contenteditable>, it is of paramount importance for Thunderbird. If 
the editor doesn't work, then the whole program is ... well, how to say 
it nicely ... very much impacted.

I am not tired to repeat that the editor has a few idiosyncrasies that 
users get confronted with on a daily basis. Amongst them my pet-hates: 
The type-in font gets lost (bug 756984) and spell check indicators 
disappear (bug 1100966). In other cases the editor just doesn't live up 
to the standard of a basic text capturing tool. Over time, these may 
also be addressed. I have worked with Ehsan on both bugs mentioned, and 
he promised a fix for bug 1100966 after identifying the problem in the 
code that merges ranges. I will see what can be done about the other bug.

At times the editor may change and break Thunderbird, as in bug 1139524. 
In these cases the Thunderbird team can just react quickly and adapt the 
Thunderbird code.

IMHO in the upcoming negotiations with Mozilla one of the points to 
discuss is the Mozilla support for their own core product, the editor. 
Also, we should stop the "us against them" attitude. The user has no 
idea what the internals are, so our aim should be to work together on a 
great product and draw expertise from wherever it is available.

Kind regards,
Jorg K.

P.S.: Another point that makes Thunderbird look real bad are problems 
when entering the recipients (see auto-complete issues). IMHO, typing in 
addresses and message body are the two areas where no obvious and 
blatant errors should exist.

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