Proposal to start a new implementation of Thunderbird based on web technologies

The Wanderer wanderer at
Wed Apr 12 15:50:11 UTC 2017

On 2017-04-12 at 11:10, Tanstaafl wrote:

> On 4/12/2017, 10:04:01 AM, The Wanderer <wanderer at>
> wrote:

>> On 2017-03-24 at 13:04, Ben Bucksch wrote:

>>> 0.8. Be close to the existing Thunderbird
>>> Even though we write almost all code from scratch, we will save a
>>> lot of time by having a clear goal: We want to replicate the
>>> current Thunderbird, from an end user perspective. That means,
>>> the user will find the same 3-pane window layout, the same way
>>> how folders and message lists and the thread pane operate. The
>>> theme will be similar. Existing Thunderbird users should feel
>>> right at home.

>>> We retain the overall UI and most features and qualities like
>>> performance, even if we do not copy all little details.
>> What about those of us who prefer a Thunderbird UI more like that
>> which came *before* "current Thunderbird", and apply various hacks
>> (add-ons, userChrome.css, et cetera) to restore aspects of that
>> UI? That is, those who may have felt "right at home" in a previous
>> Thunderbird version, and felt that a later version took that home
>> away from them.
> I think the main goal here should just be that we also want to
> duplicate and enhance the ability to customize the UI, so that, even
> more than now, we can modify the UI to the way we like it.

I would mostly agree, but Gervase's reply leads me to conclude that
others may not.

> That said, it is still very customizable. To date there is only one
> UI change I am unable to recreate from the older version 2 that I
> would still like to be able to change - put all buttons on one
> toolbar, ie the menu bar (yes, this can be done), show the menu bar
> above the tab bar (can this still be done?), not show the tab bar
> when only one tab is open (this can not be done when the window is
> not maximized and), and shove the menu bar up into the Window
> Titlebar). This is currently impossible to do.
> Allow both mail.tabs.drawInTitlebar and mail.tabs.autoHide to be
> True when window is maximized
> Allow grabbing blank space on the Menu Bar to move the window

So far as I recall, there are only two main things I still want from the
Thunderbird 2 UI which I've been unable to regain:

* Tab-free access to all features, including e.g. the Add-ons Manager.
(I don't want a tab bar in my Thunderbird, and anything which would open
in a separate tab I want to be in a separate window instead.)

* Quick-filter functionality in a text-box widget, rather than a
separate toolbar. (I've actually stopped using quick-filter
functionality entirely since that change came in, since the appearance
and disappearance of that additional toolbar is just so unpleasant for me.)

Neither is likely to ever come in "current Thunderbird", and it's far
from clear that either would come in a complete rewrite either, but I
think the odds are better in the latter case.

(Then again, I'm still using Thunderbird 31, because I haven't been able
to take the time to do upgrade testing in a VM so I don't risk my live
data on something that might have negative UI changes and no way to
revert them. So it's entirely possible that there have been other UI
changes I haven't yet taken into account.)

   The Wanderer

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.         -- George Bernard Shaw

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