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Comments on 'Better Extensibility'

Personally, I think it'd be better to simply point tb extension developers at #maildev on IRC. There's so much that can be learned just by reading scrollback, and splitting up the mail-expertise and mail-scrollback would seem like a loss to me. Also, splitting channels makes it less likely that someone will be around to answer a question in either channel, which just leads to frustration. --jminta

Sounds good. I've adjusted the copy. --davida

As an extension developer, one thing that frustrates me is that some key functionality is not exposed to extensions. For example, deleting messages seems to be handled without JS exposure, and some areas of composing messages, specifically reply-all functionality, is likewise not exposed or broken. It would be great to expose more to the extensions. --Watusimoto

reply: These are exactly the kinds of problems Steel is aiming to solve. If all goes according to plan, extensions will have this functionality exposed in TB3. --jminta

The enigmail developers according to this thread are unable to permanently decrypt messages due to the lack of the appropiate API in Thunderbird. I assume the same problem occurs for S/MIME. Among other things this would let you search the messages or access them without Enigmail (for example view archived messages). There are plenty of ways to protect the contents of the profile if thats an issue. Tanstaafl 21:18, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Comments on Lightning integration

If you choose to integrate lightning and move TB3 towards a heavier email application like Evolution/Outlook etc. it should be considered to provide a Thunderbird lite version without lightning etc. similar to outlook express.

Newbie(kulic): Subject Lightning/iPhone Lightning extension featuring implementation capabilities of David Allen's GTD would be nice. I currently use the Lightning extension in Thunderbird2 and designate a different calendar for each generalized project. It's a kind of workaround, but it's pretty good. It might be nice to have an option for the tasks to be visible on the calendar by date. Something like that. Ultimately, (maybe Thunderbird 4 or 5) want to be able to have paperless sync (very customizable and extensible along the spectrum from complex to simple) of GTD material, and of course have it sync with the iPhone. This would consist partially in continuing sync support for iPhone calendar(through Google and maybe also in parallel simply via wifi (a la AirShare)), but also might necessitate an iPhone Lightning App. (sorry if this difficult to trace threading):...Currently I've been compiling DailyAgenda txt files in Notepad and transferring them via Airshare to the iPhone for reference throughout the day. Obviously it would be nice to have what everyone calls seamless integration, and not have to draw stuff through all these different programs. ...(from GTD we would also appreciate tagging and view by context, as so much of what needs to get done at any given time depends on where we happen to be,.. so, in the Lightning roadmap it's good to have these things in mind. --Currently (in Thunderbird2) I find that in the process of unchecking and checking different calendars, the task list population lags somewhat. Is that latency programmed in? If so it would be a simple thing to remove. It takes too much time. I need to be able to check and uncheck those things fairly quickly in order to compare different sets of tasks. --It might also be nice to have the ability to add attachments to tasks, like PDFS and other supporting materials. Typically I'll go through a brainstorming session for a particular project/task and the relevant notes will be in a .txt file. It would be nice to be able to simply drag that into the taskCreation window; integration in other words. A lot of things necessitate supporting documentation of some kind, which can take the form of htmls, PDFs, even pictures. In terms of coding, I would imagine that you wouldn't necessarily want to replicate the actual file, but rather have shortcuts. Although in some cases maybe you would want actual files replicated, otherwise there wouldn't be access off the local machine, (ie in iPhone).

  • Again, these may be longer term considerations. Like Thunderbird 4 or so. But some of it could have relevance for the Thunderbird3. Remember the biggest thing going on right now in the iPhone world is in the Organizer dept (and integration), and GTD (if it's done right) is the most flexible and universally workable operating paradigm for that. It's just a question of integration. And I don't think everyone is (at all) comfortable uploading their lives(this is common now) into Google servers or whoever else is running sync servers(a lot of companies are). It's just a bit too much of a security risk. So I would continue to support Google sync capabilities but ultimately want to be able to sync by wiFi also without any of that. Not sure about the iPhone API, if it supports wifi sync. But something to look into.

Okay, I've rambled enough.

Comments on Usability (IMAP support)

A main focus on usabilliy should be better IMAP support. In particular its important to have an option to save a copy of all emails locally and an improved download mails and work offline mode. It should generally be possible, when using IMAP and being offline, to write an email and send it. That mail should be copied to the local sent mail folder and be marked as unsent. Then when going back online the mail should be sent out and synchronized with the remote IMAP folder. Particularly attachments should be downloaded and saved locally for further reference. IMAP localization should be improved / currently use of German IMAP folders (e.g. with GMX) requires a lot of nasty hacks in prefs.js / users.js and about:config

Most important is a working export function to save mails / contact
list AND account settings / global settings

Right now even silent deletion of Emails happens in specific situations when using IMAP:

I'll take it one step further: Why is there an offline mode at all that users need to manage? That's _so_ 1990s. If TB can connect to the server, sync. Otherwise, I'm (silently) in offline mode and always have access to _all_ my mail. Wireless networks come and go, and TB should be aware of the occasionally connected world. --Bob 10:39, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
It would be nice if it wasn't modal but its important to keep the ability to control what remote folders have local copies since there are plenty of users that don't want offline copies and dropping it would also annoy users who rely upon the "MIME Parts On Demand" preferences to avoid fetching a large attachment when reading a message. Tanstaafl 22:04, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

It would be useful if the contents of the IMAP offline folders could be transparently searched first when searching remote folders. i.e. use them as a IMAP cache like Mail.App does. That might also make it easier for somebody to resurrect old functionality such as the ability to search the entire message (the old definition of "Body" - it searched headers/message bodies/attachments) without having to specify exactly where in the the message what you're looking for is stored. Tanstaafl 22:04, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Comments on 'Architectural cleanup'

I know some people don't share my love of JavaScript, but I'd like to see the architectural cleanup include an audit of mail components for possible candidates to move from C++ to JS. Firefox has gone this route for components not on perf-critical paths, for example the search service or the download manager. Advantages include virtually crash-proof code and no reference counting. Also, it seems as though Mozilla2 will be moving even more things to JavaScript (with ES4), so getting a head-start on this would be good. --jminta

I'm not sure if it has been mentioned elsewhere, but the move away from mork for the .msf files seems to be a good opportunity to dump mbox as well (and replace it by maildir). It occurs to me that common agreement was already reached on this issue, which is tracked in bug 58308. As a placeholder I've added it here--GustB 12:46, 4 February 2008 (PST)

Its not clear to me that "common agreement" was reached on replacing mbox with maildir. I periodically see a few posts in the mozillaZine forums from people asking for this, but most users have no idea what it even is because they are using Windows. Many of the comments in the bug report advocate supporting both formats. Tanstaafl 09:33, 2 March 2008 (PST)
I refer to comment 75 of bug 58308. Or comment 18 of bug 290057. Just search bugzilla for maildir --GustB 04:58, 7 March 2008 (PST)

Is the de-morkification the first of a two step process, where its changes eventually get replaced by Unified Storage? Tanstaafl 09:33, 2 March 2008 (PST)

A common problem that I see in the mozillaZine forums is users panicking due to Thunderbird appearing to lose all of their data the next time they start it. There are arguments whether this is mainly due to prefs.js getting corrupted or a old bug where Thunderbird sometimes forgets about the existence of a profile in profiles.ini but I'm surprised some minor architectural changes to work around this issue weren't considered. Tanstaafl 14:33, 1 March 2008 (PST)

Another group of problems is the MIME handling, summarized in Fix some longstanding bugs. Certain highly visible bugs related to MIME-type parsing (e.g., with quoted-printable HTML messages) and attachment handling (management of Content-Type associations and actions) should be addressed, a comment in one of the bugs suggests a major overhaul of the MIME module code. --Rsx11m 14:34, 2 March 2008 (PST)

Comments on 'Increased Adoption'

The item 'GMail IMAP support' can probably be a subpoint under 'Simple Account Setup', as it is an example of an ISP-specific setup. My concern here is that it would involve a lot of work to cover all possible ISP setups across the world, not to mention non-public corporate or institutional setups. Thus, equal effort should be given to the extension of the Account Wizard to allow alternate encryption and port settings to be entered already during the initial setup. A partial patch is pending review for more than two years now in bug 221030. --Rsx11m 21:13, 24 February 2008 (PST)

I've expanded on this in Talk:Thunderbird:Easy Account Setup. --Rsx11m 12:20, 9 March 2008 (PDT)

I wish I knew of a better place to leave this feedback. Here are things our company would love to see in Thunderbird that all users would love. 1) Fix that "Mail Server Password Required" bug/issue. Whenever our imap accounts lose connectivity with have to repeatedly enter our passwords and click remember our password over and over again. It's an exercise in futility. Thunderbird should simply reattempt connection and just let the user know connectivity is lost and they should retry later. 2) Ability to drag emails to local folders/desktop etc. 3) Ability to select and save a group of emails to a folder. 4) A better method of sending feedback on Thunderbird. Thank you.

I'll leave this feedback here, as I hope it will be more visible than it has been in the past in other locations. In order to appeal to current users of on OS X, it is vital to include a built in way to import settings and mailboxes, and to provide integration with the system wide address book application. I firmly believe that these 2 features alone will have the largest influence on getting mac users to adopt Thunderbird.

Increased Adoption: IMAP

Nowadays people want all their email online and having the mail offline is a big disadvantage of Thunderbird with only POP3 compared to feature rich web interfaces like GMail's.

Rage Against The Account Machine

Rage Against The Account Machine explains the problems with the current (Thunderbird 2.0.0.x) approach to accounts. Among these problems is that Thunderbird 2.0.0.x demands that the user create and configure an account before doing anything else. If the user declines to do so (because, say, the user needs to express a thought in writing before the thought slips from the user’s mind), Thunderbird 2.0.0.x quits. This behavior is hostile and discouraging to the user. Implementing the proposals in Easy Account Setup and Autoconfiguration would be a huge improvement but still not enough to achieve best‐in‐the‐field usability. Rage Against The Account Machine is a proposal to eliminate Thunderbird accounts as we know them, eliminating the need to set up accounts in the process. —Etan Wexler 16:28, 25 June 2008 (PDT)

Comments on 'Getting Involved'

You mention that there are currently 1300+ RFE's for Thunderbird pending, this does not include some 800+ RFE's for the MailNews Core modules. About 120+ (total) of those RFE's have at least partial patches up for review, thus would be easier to add than others. It may be worth to go through those to determine which ones fit into the concepts for TB3, and to give them some increased priority. --Rsx11m 21:21, 24 February 2008 (PST)

A link to the Thunderbird:Fix some longstanding bugs article should be provided in addition to Thunderbird:Thunderbird 3 Possible Bugs as all of those are probably likely candidates for priority fixes. --Rsx11m 14:58, 2 March 2008 (PST)

I'd like to try out TB3 to see how it's UI looks like, yet I can't afford loosing any mails (not even already read ones). It would be nice if there's a "read-only" mode during installation or running.

Goals of the Thunderbird 3

IMO people don't want to get yet another mailer, people want to get a modern communication center which handles all kind of personal information. This essentially means a TB3 has to be able to synchronize these information to any kind of external storage (devices). It has to be realized that synchronization will become the main data exchange protocol anytime in the future and might even supplant POP3/IMAP/SMTP later on. Therefore it's essential to plan to base the internal structure on e.g. SyncML (OpenSync) and move the older protocols into addable/removable plugins. This would allow to open up TB3 for future uses which aren't known so far. Besides TB3 would get a simple internal structure to handle all currently known whishes.

So first action should be to add synchronization to the goals of TB3. The second action should be to analyze OpenSync and determine how feasible it is as the base of TB3. Third action should be to define the necessary APIs of the needed plugins, e.g. check if access to SQLite could be realized as a plugin and used as the information storage engine. A concept of this kind probably is robust enough to handle many more whishes without making it more complex. Many if not most wishes might simply be realized in an appropriate plugin. Anonymous

I suggest you add a lower level goal of providing a help system, to help meet the high level goal of To improve usability". See Tanstaafl 19:46, 24 March 2008 (PDT)

None of the goals address process issues. Or perhaps I should say helping to get users more involved.

  • Its quite common to have bugs sit for years as new or unconfirmed with no assignment to a developer, let alone a comment by one, and then sometimes be closed automatically for inactivity. This discourages users from filing bug reports. (wsm: progress is being made in this area, but the user community needs to become more involved in QA activities to make this important issue a reality.) As an aside telling somebody "Also, please do not file bugs on browser/email software older than two weeks - first, download a newer build of Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, or Camino and check that the problem is still present." who only uses released versions doesn't exactly make them feel welcome. (wsm: guided bug form is not controlled directly by Thunderbird team - it does need some improvement)
  • Lots of people add comments in the appropriate planning documents talk page lobbying for certain features. When the next major release is released we all scratch our heads trying to figure out why certain features were implemented, and whether there is a chance that what we wanted will get implemented in the next release. It would help if you publish a one page document describing the criteria you use to determine what to add/implement for each major release beforehand, and afterwards provide a short document listing the top 30 features that were considered, showing how they were ranked/scored, and where the dividing line was. This wouldn't take much time, and might help provide more useful input from users next time. Tanstaafl 19:46, 24 March 2008 (PDT)

Allow for completely hiding the folder pane. The folder pane is only needed when switching between folders. But switching between folders could be easily be done through a popup box (as in SeaMonkey). This would allow for a dual pane instead of the usual triple pane layout, occupying much less screen area. (wsm: for all 3 views types this can be achieved by dragging the splitter to the far left margin - but it does not persist across restarts).

When I will migrate to Thunderbird

I wanted to let you know what conditions would need to be satisfied in order for me to migrate from Mac Mail to Thunderbird:

1. If there was seamless email encryption enabled by default, you would pretty much have me sold.

2 If there was a nicer looking skin enabled by default, + the features and ease of use were just as good as mac Mail, I would migrate.

Right now i think thunderbird as being a. not as pretty as my other apps, It really makes a difference to me, and I know it makes more of a difference to most people than they are willing to admit. b. a little harder to use than mac mail. c. nothing special to bring me over.

Just thought I would let you know. I do want you to know that you have the advantage over mac mail, I will select open source software over proprietary.

Thanks for this very reasonable mail software! Is just not my best option at present.

Regarding "If there was seamless email encryption enabled by default, you would pretty much have me sold", what specifically is missing from Thunderbird? It has supported S/MIME for years. I sign all my work-related email, and encrypt about 10% of it. If there are specific bugs that are keeping you from converting, let's see if there are existing bug reports out there. I have my pet peeves as well and it would be good to see if there is any overlap.
--Bob 09:20, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
I am not saying that S/MIME is not integrated. I know it is. I know it works well. My point, which I don't think i made clear, is that its a hassle, and most people don't bother with hassles. To my understanding Thunderbird does not encrypt by default if the other side will accept an encrypted email. This is the automated system I am thinking of. If I use Thunderbird, and another computer uses Thunderbird and another uses thunderbird, the email is seamlessly encrypted. Without me doing a thing. Perhaps not just thunderbird, any email client who is willing to partake in a seamless email encryption handshake. I have seen some implementations where the fist email that is sent is not encrypted, but is used to determine what the other client is able to do. etc. etc.

Drsassafras 14:27, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Printing emails

Looking for progress on this need, didn't find anything recent: Sometimes I need to print out an email but find too much paper is consumed by useless parts. I can "edit as new" and select what I want and paste into a word processor, but formatted html emails no longer resemble the original at all. I have to manually reorganize the parts to make it printable. That is way too much work. I can use a screen capture program if what I want will fit on one screen (not usually). And that makes a gif file, which has to be loaded into an image editor to print; still a lot of steps for what should be a basic feature. So a basic need for development is to be able to select a contiguous segment of an email, including graphics, and send to a printer. Even nicer to be able to select a rectangle, like a screen capture, but which can span the whole email if needed. As a minimum, to able to File/Save As Image (saving the entire message as .bmp or .gif to crop and print in an image editor; would be better to save as .rtf or .doc, but not sure how consistently that would work). I am not a programmer so I have no idea if this would be hard to do.

TB3 should also fix the "bug" (see countless comments via Google etc) that causes TB not to use the default windows printer. If TB wants its own printer option, then that should be put clearly in "Options" then allow "Use default" or "Use [list of avail printers}"

Options and preferences cleanup

We have started a possible cleanup of the Options in Thunderbird 3, to make it more like FF3, and remove Deprecated options, include new ones, and track other issues with those areas. Thunderbird:Preference Settings

Hiding of status windows (i.e. smtp send progress)

I apologize if this may not be the right place to voice this request, but I feel- and I speak for a group of Tb users in Houston- that the smtp send progress window that pops up when you click send should have an option to disappear into the main Tb window, seamlessly integrating the process, but still showing the progress. I might just be picky, but this is frustrating to me and I wish it would just go away sometimes! haha I've just joined the testing and QA groups because I love the product, the concepts of Mozilla and the principles of the organization. Way to go, Team!!


Extensibility: changing messages, ala Enigmail

(I'm copying my post from a possibly unread forum elsewhere.)

I would like to be able to have all sent/received messages encrypted, but have the stored local copies stored in a decrypted format. Word from the Enigmail team is that Thunderbird doesn't expose an API which would allow them to do that, yet they would also like to be able to do that.

See in their forums.

I noticed however that Thunrderbird 3 had several architectural changes, or API changes. Will this enable the enigmail team to implement the feature of storing messages in a decrypted form. If I understand correctly, basically they need a way to change the content of the message.

Or perhaps somebody from the Thunderbird team already knows how they can do it -- I see that the "Delete" attachments extension must be able to modify messages, so perhaps it can already be done.

This feature would help a lot of people in decided to adopt Enigmail, and I think then the integration would go from good to great and even more people would use Thunderbird.

Mortoray 20:49, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

a humble request for a feature for Thunderbird??

could I please request a feature for the next Thunderbird??

the only thing I've found I would like to see is the ability to open lightning from a shortcut on my desktop... in the same way I can with the addressbook... I realize I'm not the only one to ask for this feature and hope it makes it to the next Thunderbird

thanks and good luck

Additional Features Requests for TB v3: Message Filter Organization

Some serious TB users have large amounts of Message Filters (250+) and need help organizing the volume of filter items.

- Users frequently organize filters by "type" (Work, Email List, Company, Organization, Vendor, Personal, Junk, Spam, etc.) as well as Name or Title but in v2 there is no current organization of filters into Folders or Groups, please add a Folder or Grouping mechanism. Minimum of one level, but multi-levels of Folders or Groups would be better.

- Provide a search mechanism for finding existing filters by Filter Name and/or by inside filter data field.

- Provide an import and export function for Message Filters for average users (beyond developer or administrator access at the file level to the text file rules.dat).

- When Adding a New Filter, add the Filter in the same place as or beneath the previously selected filter, and not at the very top of the filter list as in v2.

- Add drag and drop movement of filters between other filters. Otherwise, add Message Filter "Move to Top", "Move to Bottom", "Move Page Up", and "Move Page Down" functions.

- Provide a way to add a New Mail Folder within the Message Filter screen, because not everyone creates the folder first before creating the message filter.

- Make the List View of Message Filters more like the List of Email Accounts with Mail Folders make them all in the same List view. This way Message Filters can be moved from one Email Account to another.

- Provide a visual reference icon change (folder icon with small filter icon in lower right corner) on the Mail Folders to show if a Message Filter applies to that folder. Also, make a menu item and context menu option to jump to that Message Filter on a selected Mail Folder that has a related Message Filter.

- Add Message Filter search parameters beyond the default email header fields like To, From, Date, etc., so users don't have enter custom ones. Namely the following parameters: Reply-To, Sender / X-Sender, Message-Id, X-Spam, Received, X-Nonspam, References, User-Agent, X-Priority, X-Mailer, etc.)


Requested TB v3 Enhancements: Advanced Server-Like Ant-Spam, Message Filter, or Junk option Options: (For the following advanced lookups, provide options with user inputs to assign individual lookup servers that will perform the various DNS and List lookups.)

- Check the initial Received line and compared the initial outgoing SMTP server vs. established RBLs - Realtime Black Lists (see and other lists).

- Check DNS Zone records of the FROM/REPLY-TO/SENDER sender's domain for a SPF (Sender Policy Framework) zone record and comparing to outgoing or sending SMTP server.

- Check initial SMTP server IP vs.'s list of dynamically allocated IP address space, i.e check is email is send from a Botnet / Zombie infected computer (a dynamically allocated IP of a dialup or otherwise connected home user infected with code that is sending out spam)

- Perform a mail server check on the sender FROM/REPLY-TO/SENDER email address. Ask incoming mail server (looked up via DNS MX record) if user exists.


Disable column sorting?


When I use Thunderbird my newest email appears at the top of the list window, right underneath the column heading buttons.

I like new email to appear at the top rather than the bottom, but often find that I mistakenly click the column heading instead of the new email - which of course reorders the whole list, and the unread email is sorted out of sight until I re-sort the columns.

Is there a way to 'lock' the column resort function of these buttons? (Perhaps making the sort function a right-click menu option instead?)

kind regards, Chris

The MailTweak plugin has a "column lock" preference that you can turn on. This forces you to have to shift click on the header to resort it. This prevents accidental sorting.


Integration with other Desktop Applications / Desktop Mashups

Thunderbird would greatly benefit from an API supporting more integration at the desktop. As a general goal would be to allow the exchange of data making it possible to create small scripts or applications similar to Mashups on the Web so that such Desktop Mashups can combine the strength of different applications and simplify specific tasks. For example, we should be able to include links to an email in a calendar or a ToDo list so that we can open this email from the other applications. Details about the concept and more examples ...

A 'Command Line' with Support for Javascript like Firefox's URL or Firefox Ubiquity

The ability to write small scripts for specific tasks would introduce a concept to Thuderbird that has been very successful for Firefox. Bookmarklets combined with 'smart keywords' became a very powerful tool for customizing the browser and simplifying repetitive tasks. Firefox Ubiquity further improves this concept and makes it easier to develop the scripts. With Thunderbird, I would like to jump to specific folders using the 'command line', to search emails using 'smart keywords' to focus on From, To, Subject, etc., or send the selected text of an email to another desktop application such as a calendar or a notes list. I think a Ubiquity-like feature would substantially change the usability of Thunderbird and also support the integration with other applications described above as Desktop Mashups.

Default to SSL on new account setups

Please consider having Thunderbird 3 default to SSL for new POP / IMAP setups. Defaulting to the insecure settings often leave non-tech savvy persons with sending their login information (unknowingly) plain text. Very few if any mail systems are plain text / insecure only these days.

Comments on New Message Alerts

It seems like there should be an option to suppress new message alerts when the Thunderbird is the active program. I like the alerts to appear when I have Thunderbird minimized because they draw my attention, but they're a small annoyance when I first open the program because I can already see for myself that new mail has arrived.

Is there some way to add more control over the message alerts so I can decide when they appear - instead of just turning off the alerts entirely?

Comments on New Message Alerts

It seems like there should be an option to suppress new message alerts when the Thunderbird is the active program. I like the alerts to appear when I have Thunderbird minimized because they draw my attention, but they're a small annoyance when I first open the program because I can already see for myself that new mail has arrived.

Is there some way to add more control over the message alerts so I can decide when they appear - instead of just turning off the alerts entirely?

Addressbook functionality

Many features of the addon "More Functions For Addressbook" could be just implemented in the official Addressbook, but if I may suggest one: "<Person>, <Jobname> @ <Organization>" as title of the visiting card (contact details), instead of "Card for <Person>". The words "Card for" are not really carrying any information, and are shown using the biggest font... What is more, the space on the right stays unused...

Hope it's not to late, it's the rigt place to write it, and it's also not a very difficult thing to do. I have once made it on my computer, but after updating the "MoreFunctionsForAddressbook" addon, the code was overwritten. I may make the code available.

Njpl 15:56, 22 August 2009 (UTC)