Future Planning: Thunderbird as a Web App

Mark Banner mbanner at mozilla.com
Fri Sep 18 08:03:06 UTC 2015

On 18/09/2015 00:03, Kent James wrote:
>  (web app does not imply cloud-based, only that the underlying 
> platform is js/html).
How about calling it something like "Thunderbird post-XUL" or 
"Thunderbird on web tech"? The issue with "Web App" is that this is 
going to pre-load people's thoughts about what you mean with something 
completely different.

> Second, more and more users are using a variety of platforms, 
> including not only our traditional desktop environments but also 
> Android and iOS (and other mobile OSes hoping to join them).
I would recommend talking to people from the Android/iOS teams. For 
example, they switched a lot of the Android front-end implementation 
from XUL to native android a few years back because of performance 
issues. Obviously all the backend is still the existing gecko & I 
believe some js base, but just switching isn't necessarily going to give 
you this for free.

Going with the mobile theme for a bit, I think consideration needs to be 
given about what a mobile Thunderbird would look like. Something that's 
as fully featured as desktop is likely to be very difficult to do a good 
UX for and is likely to be a lot slower.

Hence if you're looking at rewriting a lot of the back-end, then it 
would be worth giving a thought to how it would operate/be constructed 
in a mobile world where you don't necessarily want all the features. For 
example, lets assume filters aren't required on mobile (I don't know of 
a mobile app that'd do that) - it be good to have that part of the 
back-end "plug-in" when required, potentially with hooks like today's 
add-ons can use, rather than for it to be built-in permanently even 
though there's no filters included.


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