Fwd: Re: Thunderbird Project as 3rd-year Engineering Group Project

Axel Grude axel.grude at gmail.com
Wed Feb 3 09:21:25 UTC 2016

Hi Kent. / James

Well we have been knocking about the idea of replacing the HTML editor (which is 
currently the generic component from m-c) of Thunderbird for years and it always been 
deferred to some day in the future. Also there have been numerous suggestions of 
integrating other existing editors. Without a dedicated developer I am very much 
doubtful this is ever going to be fixed within the scope of a bugzilla bug.

Might this be in scope for a team of five people? If you think it is suitable, I could 
dig out some of the conversations and suggestions that were made and collate them. I 
would also offer to work as a design reviewer / adviser for this particular task as I 
think it is very important for the future of Thunderbird.

just an idea,

*Axel Grude <mailto:axel.grude at gmail.com>*
Software Developer
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, QuickPasswords, Zombie 
Keys, SmartTemplate4)
AMO Editor Get Thunderbird!

> *Subject:* Fwd: Re: Thunderbird Project as 3rd-year Engineering Group Project
> *From: *R. Kent James
> *To:* Tb-planning
> *Sent: *Tuesday, 02/02/2016 22:38:59 22:38 GMT ST +0000 [Week 5]
> I've had some discussions with James Quilty about major student engineering projects 
> involving Thunderbird. Here is his proposal, and he is asking for specific 
> suggestions of appropriate projects.
> -- 
> R. Kent James
> Chair, Thunderbird Council
> @rkentjames
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Hi Kent,
>  Here's the proposal I made for a 3rd-year engineering group project working on part 
> of Thunderbird, edited for coherence. I'd be happy for this to be forwarded to a 
> mailing list for wide consideration.
>  The School of Engineering and Computer Science <http://ecs.victoria.ac.nz/> at 
> Victoria University of Wellington runs group projects as part of its project 
> management course. The School has students from three specialisations, Electronics 
> and Computer Engineering (ECEN), Software Engineering (SWEN) and Network Engineering 
> (NWEN). I'm running these courses from this year.
>  I'm looking for suitable projects for a team of 4-6 students which could run across 
> our academic year (March-October) with a workload of about 5 hours per week for a 
> total of around 150 hours. Both figures are per student. The purpose of the project 
> is to give the students practical experience in applying the project management 
> tools they are learning about in
> lectures. An achievable but challenging project for SWEN (and NWEN) students would 
> be really good - this is where I thought a Thunderbird project might be appropriate.
>  To give you an idea of what students have been able to produce last year in a 
> half-year project, please see the WaiNZ <http://wainz.org.nz/> homepage. The map UI 
> and the Android, iPhone and Windows Phone apps were all produced or refined in a 
> half-year project. I'd like something with similar scope for 2016, just run across 
> the full year. If you want to know what kind of background the students have by 3rd 
> year, please see the SWEN and NWEN course descriptions on the School's homepage. One 
> relevant course SWEN students may take in 3rd year, for example, is a course in UI 
> engineering.
>  Any project for the students would have to be "SMART":
>   * Have goal or end-point that can be specified and refined through student
>     discussion with the client. For example, a project involving the completion of a
>     coherent set of bug-fixes and/or enhancements.
>   * Produce measurable/testable effect - something that can be observed in Thunderbird.
>   * Be reasonably achievable in about 150 hours per student (about 900 hours for a
>     team of six students).
>   * Delivered by/at the end of a single academic year.
> What I have in mind when I write "coherent" is bugs or enhancements all related to, 
> say, one component of Thunderbird. It shouldn't be a grab-bag of miscellaneous work, 
> nor a year experiencing "business as usual" in Thunderbird development.
>  An example, (somewhat trivial and completely focussed on my own niggles with 
> Thunderbird) would be a project to complete a set of bugfixes and enhancements to 
> the Attachment pane UI for incorporation in an upcoming release. There are a set of 
> bugs and RFE's already filed, and it's a reasonably self-contained part of the UI.
>  It's not important for the students to write new code for brand-new functionality. 
> Some code maintenance and migration is perfectly fine, even a desirable experience, 
> but I do think it's important that their projects are not dominated by migration or 
> bugfix work. If it were, then I fear there could be limited opportunity for them to 
> practice project management and/or they will lose interest.
>  Other projects up for offer in 2016, to give two examples for context, will be (1) 
> making a DIY laser cutter with a usable software and network interfaces, and (2) 
> making a 3-in-1 oscilloscope, function generator and digital multimeter with 
> undergraduate-friendly UI for use in our teaching labs.
>  What I am asking from you for a Thunderbird project is for a useful project of 
> about the right scope and difficulty to be identified, for a 1-page high-level spec 
> to be prepared before 29 February (NZ time!) and for someone to commit to being 
> acting as the client for the project over the year. I'd anticipate a time 
> requirement of 1-2 hours per week over the course of the project to interact with 
> the project team to answer the usual questions clients are asked (usually clarifying 
> what the client actually wants).
>  One thing the School does advise external clients for these sorts of undergraduate 
> projects is to not rely on the student team to produce a 100% functional working 
> result, and to not entrust them with a project which is mission-critical. That's not 
> to say that we haven't had some very successful projects in the past.
>  I'd love to hear ideas that people involved with Thunderbird development would have 
> after considering what I've written above and I'd really like to have a Thunderbird 
> project as part of our group project work this year!
> Regards,
> James.
> -- Dr. James Quilty Senior Lecturer School of Engineering and Computer Science, 
> Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand. 
> Phone: +64 4 463 5233 ext. 4090
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at mozilla.org
> https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning

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