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Feature name: "Poptarts

Current Developer: David Ascher

Relevant bugs:

High level description

The idea here is to provide non-modal notification of important events that require user intervention. It's part of the overhaul of "notifications" that got started w/ the Activity Manager.

The Activity Manager window is the historical record of past notable events, current errors, and in-process long-running operations.

The Status bar is going to unobtrusively display ongoing operations so that users get an 'ambient' feel for what Thunderbird is currently doing.

The poptarts, the topic of this feature, is to identify specific alert conditions that warrant intruding on the user's consciousness, but don't need to take over their current task. Thus, poptarts are not _modal_.

Poptarts should be displayed in a non-central part of the window (typically bottom right of the window), be of a design/color that makes them stand out, and contain enough text that in most cases users can at a glance understand what they're about. For example, a small rectangular area that says

 "Could not send email (network unreachable); retrying in 1 minutes" 

is a good candidate for the poptarts, as it indicates that there's something "wrong" going on, which could explain unexpected behavior.

Test steps

Initial landing

When the feature lands, normal operation should result in no poptarts, by definition. Poptarts should be displayed when specific classes of errors or alert conditions occur. We still need to list out exactly what those are, but some are listed below.

Regardless of which poptarts show up, the following should be true:

  • poptarts should not obscure one another
  • clicking on the x in a poptart should make it (and only it) go away

In the initial landing, all "error" activity manager events will create poptarts. We'll likely refine the set of errors that trigger poptarts in a later landing, based on experience.

For testing purposes, we're going to maintain the set of activity manager events, and their categorization (error, events, processes) here.

As an example, the following should work:

  • make sure Tb is configured to check email automatically (the more often the better)
  • disconnect all network cables & turn off wifi if applicable
  • you should see a poptart complaining about network being disconnected
  • reconnect network cables and ensure that the network is detected
  • the poptart should go away

followup landings

In followup landings, the following will be likely added:

  • there should be a way to dismiss all poptarts
  • for at least some poptarts, clicking on a poptart should bring up some specific interaction that helps explain the poptart or resolve the issue.