Discussion about Web App Thunderbird

Eyal Rozenberg eyalroz at technion.ac.il
Sat Apr 6 21:38:13 UTC 2019


Magnus, I believe you're presenting a false dichotomy:

1. You're referring to the Thunderbird codebase as though the Javascript
is the alpha and the omega, while in fact it is only part of the picture.
2. You're implying that everything that a "web application" (Web browser
 extension?) cannot rely on is technically problematic, or something
unstable that will keep changing.

The C++ code in Thunderbird is no less important that the Javascript
above it. They're both critical. And like I suggested in an earlier
message - that's the part of the code whose development and
modernization are key IMHO to Thunderbird's future success. That's not
going to happen within a browser (unless you're suggesting a
Seamonkey-like piece of software).

Also, from my experience as an extension developer - most of what "keeps
changing" has not been the non-browser parts of our code. On the
contrary, that has been awfully stable - to the point of stagnation.

You claim that that we don't want to have to think more than necessary
about the platform; - perhaps. But we definitely do want to think about
the platform at least as much as is necessary. And we haven't been,
perhaps for over two decades at this point.

Eyal




On 06/04/2019 23:53, Magnus Melin wrote:
> Let me clarify my view a bit. I'd like Thunderbird to get into the state
> that most things /could/ run as a web application. There is an emphasis
> on could, and no need to worry the desktop version would be discontinued.
> 
> The aim is to move towards more normal pure JavaScript and less reliance
> on XPCOM. Let's see how far we can take that. What you get is less
> reliance on internal interfaces that will keep changing. Way easier to
> find people to work on the code, so more contributors. Tools. Easier
> debugging. Possibility of library reuse, and with this the possibility
> of outside collaboration. Maybe a version you could run as a webmail
> interface, maybe in mobile - at least for partial functionality.
> 
> What I want is that we could focus mostly on the mail specific features,
> and make them great. We don't want to have to think more than necessary
> about the platform. To do that it appears logical to go with the flow
> for the rest of the underlying platform. That platform is all about
> making winning web technology.
> 
>  -Magnus
> 
> On 05-04-2019 20:59, Ryan Sipes wrote:
>>
>> Renaming the thread.
>>
>>> Can you elaborate on this?
>>>
>>> I for one do not want a browser based app.
>> You are already using a browser based app, built on the Mozilla
>> platform (i.e. Firefox).
>>
>> But I understand your concerns (I don't like Electron apps anymore
>> than the next guy). I'll let Magnus share what this future might look
>> like. But when running for Council he said:
>>
>>> My vision for Thunderbird is that we'd eventually (a few years) get
>>> to the state that it could be run as a super fat, privileged web app
>>> with good system integration - this way we can best leverage the
>>> Mozilla platform we're bound to. In parallel we should get much
>>> better with utilizing the data contained in mails, to help users be
>>> more productive and make them look good doing so. Developing the
>>> overall product concept is also important.
>> So that is one potential path forward, but there has been no agreement
>> on this - I was just laying out one option that has been raised that
>> was relevant to the discussion in that other thread. Magnus also uses
>> the word /"could" /which I think should be considered in this
>> discussion. Having it possible to run Thunderbird in a browser doesn't
>> mean that is the only way that it could be run.
>> Ryan Sipes
>> Community and Business Development Manager
>> Thunderbird <https://thunderbird.net>
>>
>> On 4/5/19 11:49 AM, Disaster Master wrote:
>>> On Fri Apr 05 2019 13:40:42 GMT-0400 (Eastern Standard Time), Ryan Sipes
>>> <ryan at thunderbird.net> wrote:
>>>> We are headed towards a Thunderbird that could be run in a browser (or
>>>> at least that is one vision for the future that Magnus talked about in
>>>> his run for Council). As we get closer to that we could approach MoCo
>>>> and the Firefox team and see where we can work together.
>>> Can you elaborate on this?
>>>
>>> I for one do not want a browser based app.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> tb-planning mailing list
>>> tb-planning at mozilla.org
>>> https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning
>>
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> 
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