Mark Banner's thoughts on Thunderbird, Mozilla, Bellringing and more.

Getting Thunderbird 3 out the door

August 18th, 2009 Posted in Mozilla, Thunderbird

Last week some of the Thunderbird drivers got together and had a discussion about Thunderbird 3 and the possibilities for future versions.

Up until now we’ve been very focussed on the features that we want to get into Thunderbird 3. We have realised that this is now becoming the wrong approach – Thunderbird 2 was released a long time ago – based on the Gecko 1.8.1 code base (we’re now on Gecko 1.9.1). We know from feedback that the Thunderbird 3 builds are much more stable and improved over the Thunderbird 2 builds – it is now time to get Thunderbird 3 to users.

Therefore we are looking at shipping Thunderbird 3 as soon as possible. This will mean that we won’t have time to fit everything into Thunderbird 3 that we would like to get in. What we have decided do is to release Thunderbird 3 and then look to have another version in a short period of time following that. The important items that don’t make Thunderbird 3 will be high priority for Thunderbird 3.next.

For the blocking lists, this means we’re currently reducing the size of the list by about half – some of the bugs have already been updated and we are working on the rest.

For future Thunderbird development, we are moving to a more agile development process. We need to move to development cycles with shorter iterations to encourage faster evolution of the user experience, as well as to alleviate pressure to land features before they’re ready. As part of this we will be experimenting with new features/development via extensions and then landing in the extensions within the main Thunderbird code base. This has a couple of advantages – we can ship versions of Thunderbird without being dependent on the state of partially completed features, and by using extensions we’ll know the extension points are available for extensions developers to use.

  1. 7 Responses to “Getting Thunderbird 3 out the door”

  2. By Al Billings on Aug 18, 2009

    If I was you (and I am in a way), I’d set a date a month or 45 days from now and say, “We are code freezing Thunderbird 3 on this date.” Spend the time from now to then nailing down all blockers and ship it out the door. Then iterate on a 3.1 to go out six months later. Get those TB 2 users to major update and off of that old codebase.

  3. By Mitchell Baker on Aug 18, 2009

    Sounds great. I am very eager to see all the progress to date get into peoples’ hands.

  4. By Noel Grandin on Aug 19, 2009

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, it’s so great to hear this.

    Plus, getting something out the door will let people know in a very visible way that Thunderbird is moving forward, which should help shake loose some more community support.

  5. By Michael Lefevre on Aug 19, 2009

    I don’t disagree with the plan in general, but a bit disappointed that bug 28211 has been pushed from being a 3.0 blocker to the indefinite future. Being able to save outgoing messages to a remote folder is a rather important feature of an email program these days. The background sending stuff would be nice, but that old bug is a dataloss bug in its own right.

  6. By Standard8 on Aug 19, 2009

    @Al well we’re more-or-less doing that. The dates that we want to hit are there, and I’m kinda hoping we can move them forward a bit.

    @Michael Yeah, unfortunately some things are getting cut. The problem with that bug is it is complex to fix it without send in background and other changes. It is highly likely that send in background will be implemented in either the next version or a version after that – it is just the fact that the significant changes required pushed it out.

  7. By Josh Geenen (pi) on Aug 28, 2009

    That sounds like a good plan to me, especially the extension previews/experiments. Let me know if you need any Address Book-related extensions written.

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Aug 24, 2009: Thunderbird 3: Entwickler wollen ihn bald veröffentlichen | Pascals Blog

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.