[Maildev] Integrating popular and useful extensions into TB (Ryan Sipes)

Ryan Sipes ryan at thunderbird.net
Sat Dec 9 23:49:44 EST 2017

Hey all,

I think I'm caught up enough, trying to read through all of this thread 
this evening. Here is my take: Jonathan is concerned about two things, 
our ability to roll popular extensions into mainline Thunderbird and the 
lack of good, solid, up-to-date documentation surrounding add-ons.

I think we, as a community, should try and be open to Jonathan's 
feedback (and all feedback we get from add-on authors). What he's saying 
is something we all know (hopefully), and that is that Thunderbird is 
not the easiest platform to target at the moment.

What I propose: I'm looking at doing an add-on authors tour and talk 
about what can be done to improve their lives. Jonathan, if I could 
speak with you on IRC or in a chat of our own and put together some 
changes you'd like to see - that would be great. Some kind of mailing 
list and maintained documentation (I can oversee this) on breaking 
changes that are Thunderbird specific and in a place everyone knows 
about would be great. I'll see what I can do.

Finally, something that we need to start being aware of. We, as 
maintainers, Thunderbird core developers and team won't always get the 
feedback we want, or comments that we completely understand. Our 
knee-jerk reaction needs to be trying to understand what is behind the 
feedback. If someone says they wish Thunderbird was more like Outlook or 
that our documentation sucks - our reaction should be "Why do you think 
that? What do you think some options are to improve this?"

This isn't the first bit of feedback we've heard from add-on authors in 
regards to Thunderbird being difficult to target, we can do better on 
this and I'll solicit some feedback from add-on authors in the form of a 
survey next week on how we can improve. Also, I think we should do a 
couple of hangouts/chats to continue getting ideas from those writing 
add-ons on what we can do to make life easier.

We're all on the same team, we're all working on an awesome project 
together. Let's make an effort to understand each other.

Ryan Sipes
Thunderbird Community Manager

On 12/9/17 5:07 PM, ace wrote:
> ----- Pôvodná správa -----
> Predmet: Re: [Maildev] Integrating popular and useful extensions into TB
> Od: Jonathan Kamens <jik at kamens.us>
> Pre: ace <acelists at atlas.sk>, Thunderbird email developers
> <maildev at lists.thunderbird.net>
> Dátum: Sat, 9 Dec 2017 18:15:16 -0500
>> On 12/9/17 5:56 PM, ace wrote:
>>> I do not understand the uproar and requests from addons authors towards
>>> the TB developers to create lists and solutions for changes in
>>> Firefox/Toolkit (!) when this information is readily available on the
>>> Mozilla wiki and has Firefox teams behind it maintaining it
>>> (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox/Releases).
>> Yes, it's sort of obvious that many of the people on the Thunderbird
>> development team do not understand add-on maintainers well.
>> The vast majority -- and I mean the VAST majority -- of information in
>> the Firefox release notes is entirely irrelevant to Thunderbird add-on
>> maintainers.
> The VAST majority of the changes is done in Firefox code, see
> https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Add-ons_Guide_57 . All of the
> linked information (on the Firefox page for developers) is relevant to
> addon authors. Unless they have a binary or Webextension addon, none of
> which work on TB.
>> Expecting Thunderbird add-on maintainers who do not understand the
>> Firefox code base to be able to wade through those release notes to pick
>> out the tiny bits of them that may be relevant to them is incredibly
>> unreasonable.
> I'd expect any programmer with a chunk of code he maintains can grep
> through it to see if he incidentally uses any of the interfaces or
> objects clearly listed on the Firefox page. The addon authors use the
> common Firefox AND Thunderbird-specific interfaces. Ignoring the vast
> majority of the changing codebase (Firefox) is unreasonable.
>> Not to mention the fact that as Thunderbird and Firefox diverge, the
>> Firefox release notes may not even be accurate for Thunderbird.
> Yes and they diverge in a way that allows addon author to do less changes.
>> See my previous message to Ben. I am giving you the perspective of an
>> add-on maintainer here. You can listen to what I am saying and perhaps
>> learn something useful from it, or you can tell me I'm "wrong" for not
>> agreeing with you about what my "job" is as an add-on maintainer.
> I try to listen and understand. I just do not understand the logic. A
> proposal was done to authors NOT maintaining their addons (OK some of
> the addons listed are maintained, but that needs to be determined for
> each one in a latter phase of the task). You object to the proposal even
> though you seem not to be in the target group (you responded and told us
> you do not needed it). So what is the point?
>> One of those paths is likely to encourage more people to create and
>> maintain add-ons, the other one isn't. Which is which, I leave as an
>> exercise to the reader.
> Yes, but encouraging people to create more addons that they then leave
> behind and expect to work unchanged for 10 years by ignoring all news is
> also no help to anybody.
>> I think I'm probably all done with this conversation. I've said my
>> piece. Do what you will with it.
> Thanks that you have the manpower to maintain your addon (we don't) and
> we can enjoy it on TB 59.
> aceman
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