You can continue to iterate the tab application by creating a new click handler, however at that point it might be worthwhile to start with the extension code instead of working in the error console.
Jetpack for Thunderbird
In the hopefully not too distant future Thunderbird will gain Jetpack as it’s new extension model and it will be no longer necessary for add-ons like this these be created but instead a simple Jetpack which can do the same things without restarts or complicated installs.
If you’re a Google Calendar user like myself you might want to check out this really simple add-on for Thunderbird, which should be available as an official add-on for the coming Thunderbird 3 release.
The Google Calendar Tab
As simple as it sounds, this adds the Google Calendar web interface as a new tab directly into Thunderbird. Creating and viewing events works just as it would in a browser like Firefox.
If your calendar is setup to show popup alerts you’ll continue to see them from the calendar tab while in other, mail, tabs.
Here’s my family Pinochle game reminder alert showing.
There is no official release of this extension yet, however you could grab the latest XPI, download and install it into the latest (at least rc1) Shredder release.
It’s easy to get started integrating a web application like Twitter, Remember the Milk, and other sites into Thunderbird. Once you get the initial pieces you can start working on better integration into your email conversations.
If you’re interested in creating an extension similar to this one, here are a couple links you probably want to check out:
This calendar extension only handles a single url for Google Calendar. If you’re looking for actual calendar integration with different calendars, including google calendar, you’ll want to check out the Lightning Calendar extension which also runs inside Thunderbird tabs.
Lately I’ve been working a lot on the Thunderbird add-ons developers user experience. Often times designers don’t get to work on developer experiences because developers tend to do those pieces themselves without much design. With a lot of others I’ve spent a good amount of time working on the whole experience of development, docs, and extension types so hopefully the Thunderbird 3 add-on developer experience will be significantly better.
To get into the user experience of an add-on developer I recently made a Jetpack, Bugzilla Air Traffic Control, to examine what it is like to develop inside Jetpack. I’ve also been creating a number of example extensions that take advantage of the new code that has landed in Thunderbird recently and learn the pitfalls of extension development.
To demonstrate the awesome interactiveness that I didn’t add to my email extension I also have a pure HTML demo available. Try out the email cube test demo for yourself. This demo requires Firefox 3.5, go get it if you don’t have it.
If you’re asking “why email in a cube,?” then I’ll ask you why not? This demo reminds me that Thunderbird has all the same Firefox goodness that’s coming out in 3.5 but we have yet to take advantage of much of it. Hopefully as we make more progress in the coming months we’ll do just that.
And if you’re asking yourself… Is this what Bryan gets paid to do? Well then we’re asking ourselves the same question; though I don’t think I’m referring to myself in the third person.
One still missing piece has been adding a signature manager. Previously I mentioned that we could create a new dialog window for managing signatures, however several comments posted and emailed made me want to look into other possibilities.
So here’s a mockup of a possible layout for the Signature manager to be in the Thunderbird preferences, under the Composition tab. (tabs within tabs… whoo hoo!)
I keep offering a possible script signature in different mockups and yet there hasn’t been any mention of how you’d add a script signature yourself. My feeling is that we can leave script signatures up to extensions and extension developers. It might be nice to offer a script signature by default and perhaps this would lead more people to try out extensions that provide script signatures, however I don’t have a plan to create a default interface for them yet.
Here’s a pretty simple way to introduce signature add-ons specifically to the signature preferences. There are some open ended pieces of this that need to be worked out. What does the add-on manager look like when it opens up from a link like this?
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated as always.