[Maildev] Integrating popular and useful extensions into TB

Jonathan Kamens jik at kamens.us
Sat Dec 9 18:10:42 EST 2017

On 12/9/17 5:14 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> Jonathan Kamens wrote on 09.12.17 22:27:
>> On 12/7/17 2:06 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>>> What concrete help would you appreciate most from the TB project?
>> I would like there to be a comprehensive, accurate, maintained web
>> site documenting the breaking changes in each release of Thunderbird,
>> all in one place
> I think we have such a page, I saw one recently. Fairly rough, but
> looks actively maintained. I don't have the URL handy, but Jörg can
> post it.

It has been discussed here. It has been discussed on other mailing
lists. I've seen some of these discussions; you probably have as well.
You may be confusing a list somebody posted in one of those discussions
with a Wiki page.

Searching for "Thunderbird add-on breaking changes" in Google does not
turn up such a page in the first page of results. If it's not on the
first page of search results, it might as well not exist. And if you
keep paging through results you can go several pages in and still not
see find such a page; I eventually gave up. I also tried searching for
"thunderbird add-on api changes" and "thunderbird extension api changes"
with similar results. If such a page exists, it is apparently very
cleverly disguised to make it difficult to find.

>> with clear instructions, and wherever possible sample code,
>> explaining how add-on maintainers can fix their code to recover from
>> each breaking change
> That we don't have, but any add on author who found one could add it
> to the page.

It is INCREDIBLY frustrating when, as an add-on author, I stumble over
these changes and then I have to stumble around the internet with my
hands in front of me like a blind man, trying to feel out what has
changed, why it has changed, and what I need to do to recover from it.

This is by far the most unpleasant aspect of maintaining add-ons.

The people who work with the Thunderbird code base on a regular basis
are in a MUCH BETTER position to know when things change and what needs
to be done to recover from the changes.

Once again: don't ask me what I need, and then when I tell you, turn
around and tell me that I don't actually need that.

If you guys are serious about supporting the Thunderbird add-on
ecosystem and encouraging people to continue maintaining existing
add-ons and write new ones, then I strongly recommend a change in
mindset. Treat add-on maintainers as customers and give them everything
they need to succeed; don't treat them like peers in the great
open-source project that is Thunderbird. That's not what they are. They
are consumers of the Thunderbird add-on framework and API, and most of
them want nothing to do with helping to maintain the framework, the API,
or its documentation. They just want to write and maintain add-ons. Stop
asking or expecting them to do more than that.

>> I would like there to be a mailing list that add-on maintainers can
>> subscribe to whose one and only purpose is to announce each breaking
>> change as it is discovered and point add-on maintainers at the
>> instructions on the aforementioned web site for how to deal with that
>> particular breaking change.
> Good idea. You might be able to subscribe to the wiki page, though.

Sure, if the wiki page actually existed and had the content on it that
I'm asking for, I could do that.


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