Thunderbird Conversations 3.1 Released

Thunderbird Conversations is an add-on for Thunderbird that provides a conversation view for messages. It groups message threads together, including those stored in different folders, and allows easier reading and control for a more efficient workflow.

Conversations’ threaded message layout

Over the last couple of years, Conversations has been largely rewritten to adapt to changes in Thunderbird’s architecture for add-ons. Conversations 3.1 is the result of that effort so far.

Message Controls Menu

The new version will work with Thunderbird 68, and Thunderbird 78 that will be released soon.

Attachment preview area with gallery view available for images.

The one feature that is currently missing after the rewrite is inline quick reply. This has been of lower priority, as we have focussed on being able to keep the main part of the add-on running with the newer versions of Thunderbird. However, now that 3.1 is stable, I hope to be able to start work on a new version of quick reply soon.

More rewriting will also be continuing for the foreseeable future to further support Thunderbird’s new architecture. I’m planning a more technical blog post about this in future.

If you find an issue, or would like to help contribute to Conversations’ code, please head over to our GitHub repository.

Thunderbird 13 second and third beta releases via new automation

I was going to write this post yesterday, didn’t quite complete it and so it gets an updated with activities of the last 24 hours as well.

Some people had noticed the extra long delay between the first and second betas of Thunderbird 13. Whilst we sometimes don’t publish a beta every week, in this case we were busy finishing off a transition that had started some months previously.

The transition has merged the Thunderbird build automation system onto the same system used by Firefox – we are now running side-by-side, using the same hardware.

The whole transition has been a big benefit to Thunderbird, we’ve brought the Thunderbird build systems up to date, removing a lot of the hacks that were specific to our comm-central based builds. In doing so, we’ve picked up lots of new things: an up to date tinderboxpushlog, self-serve build apis to allow any developer to request new builds and cancel running ones, the hg share extension reducing check out and build times, the latest release automation which includes automatic emails and better parallelism. I’m sure that’s just a small selection.

Ongoing this will help keep Thunderbird much more up to date, we’ll be able to keep in sync with Firefox a lot easier when it comes to the mechanics of building, signing etc. I’ve also got some ideas for where we can add/improve automation for both Firefox and Thunderbird, so I’ll be putting those forward soon.

Back to the events over the last 24 hours. Yesterday we finished shipping the second beta of Thunderbird 13, this was the first release that had been run on the Firefox system, and took about a week or two to complete as many parts had been missing or not quite there. A few hours after that I sent the go for the third beta, and guess what, we’ve just pushed that build out to the beta channel. Apart from a couple of minor hiccups, the automation worked fine. Wow, awesome!

This is a great achievement, and Thunderbird build and release is now in much better shape than it was a few months ago. I’d like to thank John O’Duinn and Chris Cooper for making this happen, and a huge thanks to John Hopkins who I know spent many hours working on the actual transition and the rest of the release engineering team who have been helping out with questions, solutions and fixes.

Removed Thunderbird release symlinks for dead branches on FTP

Since the Thunderbird 2.0 days we’ve had “latest-X.Y” symlinks on FTP for all major versions of Thunderbird. With rapid release, this has quickly caused an explosion in the number of them, cluttering things up (as Firefox have already realised and taken action).

In bug 697050 I have just removed all of the ones for the dead branches (2.0, 3.0), and also the ones for all rapid releases (5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0). From now on, there will be no new branch based symlinks, simply a “latest” symlink that points to the latest rapid release.