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Ideas for Thunderbirds UI

  • All-in-one Sidepane: The Account pane should work like the All-in-one sidebar extension for Firefox, but shift between different Smart Views, Calendar (if Lightning) and Adress Book (like the Contacts sidebar). Extensions may add even more Sidebar options (for instance User talk:Dasch/Thunderbird/Message Categories.
  • Tabs: There's many opinions on how tabs should work in TB. Here's my version:
    • Tabs are above the 3-pane view.
    • You may open things either in a new window or a new tab. This includes messages, threads/conversations (see bug 241197 about flat thread views), compose messages, folders, accounts, calendar, adress book etc.
    • The look of the new tab depends on what it shows. Message tabs show only the current message, folder views hides the folder pane showing the Message list pane and optionally the Preview pane, account views shows as a 3-pane with all folders of that account only. Address book, Compose and Calendar is a bit more cumbersome as they have different menus and toolbars than the main windows. There are two solutions to this:
      • The standard should be that most of the options in the separate menus and toolbars of these windows are unavailable if they are only in a tab. Only the most basic, like Send should be available all of the time (though greyed out if you're not in a Compose tab). To access all options you would have to open them in a new window.
      • The non-standard (extension) solution is to have toolbars and menubars inside the tabs and panes, and as special context menus.
      • The behaviour of extensions like Quick Reply, Contacs Sidepanel and lightning should be inspiration for useful ways to overcome the above problems.
  • Gmail-like: Showing threads as flat conversations like Gmail does would be a nice option (see bug above). The Quick Reply-extension could be eloborated somewhat and included with this option to mimic this even further. At the moment it is not updated to go with TB 1.5 or newer builds, but it works if you edit the max-version manually.
  • Splash screen: The default start screen is now the 3-pane view. For a more modern look, a splash screen could be the start screen. This splash screen would show new messages in folders, feeds and news, much like the new Smart Folder Views feature. Options could be: Show all new messages, Middle Click on a folder to open that in new tab. Click a folder to get an informative list of new messages in that folder, Middle Click on of them to open message in a new tab. (The splash screen requires that TB checks for new messages in all folders at start-up).