Thunderbird Project as 3rd-year Engineering Group Project

James Quilty James.Quilty at
Fri Feb 12 12:21:06 UTC 2016

Hi Everyone,

 Thanks for the great suggestions for Thunderbird projects which would
be suitable for a group project!

 To summarise the suggestions thus far, I believe that the following
projects have been proposed by the following people (in chronological

 1. Replace the HTML editor (Axel Grude; Tanstaafl; Joshua Cranmer).

 2. Ensemble Project - new Address Book (Tanstaafl; Joshua Cranmer).
    Sub-project: Implement CardDAV in the Address Book (neandr; Dave

 3. JSification of the main UI code (Tanstaafl).

 4. Chat projects (Patrick Cloke).

 5. Improving the usability of encryption (Magnus Melin).

 6. Enable Boolean expressions in Filter UI (Axel Grude).

 7. Implementing the thread pane in HTML (Philipp Kewisch). [Sub-project
    of No. 3, above?]

 8. Gmail integration with Thunderbird (Jim Porter).

That's a really good set of projects to choose from! If I've missed any
suggestions, please feel free to amend the list.

 With regard to scope, Magnus said it perfectly: "Ideally it should be a
lot of smaller related bugs so that you can move forward and feel you
achieve something." It would also give the opportunity to revise the
work plan if the project is ahead or behind schedule.

 While I did write that the students will be spending about 150 hours
each on the project, this will include the time they spend managing the
project and the technical work achieved will likely be a lot less than
900 hours for a team of six students.

 If there is sufficient interest from the Thunderbird community and
there were people willing to be mentors, two (or even three) Thunderbird
projects could be offered. The projects I think would be best suited to
the course and most attractive to the students are:

 1. Gmail integration with Thunderbird.
 2. Encryption usability enhancements.
 3. Ensemble Project.

Closely followed by: 4. Chat project(s). I'd like to hear everyone's
views on my ranking.

 Patrick, I'd like more details about the chat project(s) you had in
mind if you're keen for a project to be offered. I think chat clients
are something the students generally find attractive.

 The Filter UI enhancements would be great, but I wonder if there's
enough work there for a team and how attractive it would be on its own
to students in their very early 20s? Axel, if there were some related
work which could be combined into a larger project I think it would work

 I agree that the Compose UI enhancements and JS/HTML rewrite of UI are
really important, but they feel too large in scope for group projects at
this point. It's an opportune moment for me to mention that our
honours-year (4th year) individual projects are also just about to begin
and represent 300+ hours of a more experienced student's time, similar
to Google Summer of Code. I'd be happy to offer a 4th-year Thunderbird
project, but there would be no guarantees it would be filled. Anyone
interested should please contact me directly, the deadline for this is
21 February.

 If there are any other group project suggestions, I'm very much open to
hearing about them.

Thanks to all who have proposed projects thus far,

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