Add Ons handling

Graeme musiquegraeme at
Mon Mar 25 09:41:41 UTC 2019

Great news! Really good.  I don't know if it's included in what you have planned exactly 
but I really think a maintained set of pages like we used to have for addon creation with 
examples would really help.


On 23/03/2019 21:56, Christopher Leidigh wrote:
> All
> I'd like to introduce myself and at the risk of being a bit precocious
> for a newbie, offer thoughts on the add-ons situation.
> I'm Christopher located in Providence Rhode Island south of Boston, MA
> in the US.  I have just recently volunteered to join up to work
> close to full-time and at least initially focused on add-ons. I have
> started working with Ryan to gear up and dive into several issues and
> needs in this area.  How I got here is directly relevant to some of the issues
> being raised.
> I have been a Thunderbird user practically from day one. I also have
> setup my wife's business of 3-4 people utilizing Thunderbird and a variety
> of extensions.  Recently  the office told me something said stopped working.
> Since I am not in the office and was not aware of the failing add-ons due to
> the recent Thunderbird updates.
> I started looking into things, first the add-ons and subsequently the status
> of Thunderbird itself.  Echoing some of the other comments in this thread,
> I really started to worry that Thunderbird was spiraling downward.  Since
> I have time, I cold contacted 3 separate authors of the 4 important add-ons
> for wife's office.  My experience was the following: first, I had to  find
> how to contact them , then I had to ask and propose that I become a co-author
> to continue their add-ons.  Fortunately all three were open and interested.
> Over the past two months I have updated all four for TB60, the most popular
> with about 9k users for TB66 with ongoing experiments for the others.  So let
> me describe my impressions from this:
> - I did not find the type of community support sites similar to the Visual
> Studio Code project (been working on this for two years)
> - Disqcus has practically no activity
> - The MozillaZine site was reasonably active, in fact several people were helpful
> and working together specifically on getting some unofficial upgrades
> to various add-ons.  This was despite the fact that the particular board (Thunderbird 
> builds)
> was not for development questions.
> - I read numerous comments and blog entries about developers frustration
> about the required changes and direction of Thunderbird.
> - While the required changes for TB60 were relatively straightforward, the
> implied requirements for TB68 appeared significant , but most importantly
> completely ambiguous.
> My next step was to reach out to get a better idea of what's going on and
> look into helping out for all the reasons above.  Here are several of the areas
> Ryan and I have been discussing working on:
> - A "hook-up" effort/program to more efficiently and easily join up new
> developers with existing add-on authors not able or not interested in supporting their
> addons.  I have envisioned both a personal (official) effort as well as information
> and infrastructure on the ANT site.
> - Break-Down and analyze the state of all add-ons and authors (Ryan has started out this)
> - Try to get some interviews and direct feedback from some of developers
> - Determine any tools and infrastructure to ease the transition
> - Get some more regular community communication going
> - Look at Reachout methods to encourage community expansion (colleges, GitHub et cetera)
> - Create a crack team for transition help (perhaps operate as care holder authors 
> temporarily)
> - Continue transition documentation and examples (I have some started on this with 
> Thunderstorm
> repository focusing on side-by-side legacy versus web extension help/examples)
> There are other things as well, but I probably already bent too many ears...
> Re: some of the options discussed specifically about out on abandonment:
> - I agree with the idea of retaining as many developers as possible, not alienating
> - I agree with the open source licenses and forking should be acceptable without 
> additional terms
> - If we can do some of the items above with success combined with coordinated efforts
>   to takeover/transition add-ons with author cooperation, that will be best.
> - I think it's reasonable to have a policy on both abandoned add-ons and forked
>   projects.
> - All add-ons should be encouraged ( required?) to be hosted on a public repository
> - If we have scenarios where we will remove add-ons from the server, they should go into
>   a public repository of shelved add-ons.  (I believe there is something like this for 
> legacy
>    Firefox add-ons on GitHub)
> - One issue indirectly raised, but not discussed - how to deal with developers receiving
>   donations, one could imagine some bad scenarios taking over an add-on with money flowing.
> Sorry if this was too much rambling, hopefully useful.  I am really hoping to push forward
> on as many of the above action items as possible, but with good agreement.  I am willing 
> and able
> to be guided/assigned items since I do not want to pretend to come in with a bunch of 
> preconceptions.
> Regards
> Christopher Leidigh
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