Features/Thunderbird/App Tabs

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App Tabs for Thunderbird
Stage Draft
Status `
Release target `
Health OK
Status note `


Product manager `
Directly Responsible Individual Mike Conley
Lead engineer `
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead `
UX lead Blake Winton
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks


Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

Starting in version 4, Firefox made it possible to "pin" a tab. This meant shrinking the width of the tab to contain its favicon, as well as persisting it to the left of the tab selector. Scrolling the tabs would not affect the position of the pinned app tabs.

We would like something similar for Thunderbird. This would play very well into the tabbed UI trajectory we seem to be following, and would allow:

  1. The singleton inbox tab to be pinned per window
  2. The singleton chat / IM tab to be pinned per window
  3. Calendar / chat tabs to be pinned per window
  4. The future-addressbook-in-a-tab to be pinned per window

2. Users & use cases

This would visually affect users who do not autohide the tabs, since the appearance of the inbox tab would likely change.

This would also potentially impact users who use chat, and Lightning in Thunderbird, since we would probably also make those be app tabs.

3. Dependencies


4. Requirements

Thunderbird's app tabs should be essentially feature equivalent to Firefox's implementation.

  • Special tab types (Inbox, IM, Calendar, Tasks) in Thunderbird should be able to declare themselves as app tabs, and be opened as such.
  • The user should be able to pin any normal tabs as app tabs
  • Unfocused app tabs should visually indicate when their title has changed
  • Pinned tabs should not scroll when scrolling unpinned tabs.
  • The position of pinned tabs might change depending on locale (RTL vs LTR) - we'd likely follow Firefox on their implementation.



Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority Unprioritized
Rank 999
Theme / Goal `
Roadmap Thunderbird
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Thunderbird
Project `
Engineering team Thunderbird

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` Here is the link to the meta bug for Firefox's implementation of app tabs:


Here's the first patch where the initial work landed, which probably gives us clues on where to look for things to port from Firefox:

Security ` `
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance ` `
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `