[Council Update] More new hires, council elections, and an overview of technical improvements

Philipp Kewisch kewisch at thunderbird.net
Thu Apr 11 08:11:58 UTC 2019

Hello Thunderbirdists and Thunderbirdistas,

A lot has happened since the last update, I’ll try to keep it short and
to the point.

In the last few months, we’ve had a few new additions to our team I
would like to introduce. First up there is Khushil, who is our first
ever intern. He is supporting the work on removing XBL code from
Thunderbird. Kai is an expert on security and is joining us to make sure
Thunderbird stays safe and improve security and privacy features.

Next we have Paul, where I am particularly excited he has returned. Paul
was a Google Summer of Code student for Lightning, and will hence be
working on the calendar code, among other things. Finally, Alessandro
has joined us, bringing considerable know-how in user experience design
and development - a great combination for moving us forward.

Please join me in welcoming them to the team.

We’ve also successfully voted on a new council. Philippe has
unfortunately left the council, but instead we gain Berna Alp from the
pEp Project. We’ve already started onboarding her and are looking
forward to fruitful discussions on the future of Thunderbird.

On the partnership side we are getting very close to an announcement, we
are wrapping up some final engineering changes. I am very excited about
this new addition, I think it is super helpful. There are a few other
interested parties we are having discussions with, we’ll update you as
soon as there is something we can share.

Please also see these technical improvements that Magnus has shared:

  * We set up internals to allow using Custom Elements in Thunderbird,
    to allow XBL conversion work to happen.
  * Since starting the Thunderbird De-XBL work, over half of the
    XBL-bindings have been converted.
  * A whole bunch of work was put into allowing (for now) to load
    overlays in a similar way as XUL did for legacy XUL add-ons.
  * Toolkit removed support for bootstrapped add-ons, and we adapted to
    this too. They are still supported in Thunderbird for the time being.
  * Our add-on system is growing support for WebExtension style add-ons.
    APIs for many things have been created. This is what we recommend
    add-on authors to base their code on going forwards. Documentation
    can be found at
  * Our automated testing suite now has support for Mochitests, which
    allows us to better test the Thunderbird user interface.
  * RDF usage almost removed.
  * The account setup now has support for Exchange Autodiscovery.

Alessandro is working on a thunderbird.net website redesign and has been
soliciting feedback from the community in various postings, such as
https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/tb-planning/2019-April/006519.html .
Draft code is expected to be coming to a GitHub repo soon.

Work has also begun on a Thunderbird developer website that will host
the information needed to get started hacking on Thunderbird and
add-ons. You can find that website at https://developer.thunderbird.net
- bear in mind it is still a work in progress and all contributions are

On behalf of the Thunderbird Council, we have been super grateful to
serve the community over the past year and are looking forward to
another year of improvements.

-- Philipp, on behalf of the Thunderbird Council

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