Closed Bug 253334 Opened 16 years ago Closed 2 years ago
Thunderbird needs a Help Viewer
We need to get Firefox Help "ported" to Thunderbird. I'll get some work on this soon. Currently, the viewer is completely broken in Thunderbird. Hopefully it won't be too hard getting it back up and running. We also need some documentation for the Viewer. There is a little bit on MozDev, but it isn't complete and probably obsolete.
Status: NEW → ASSIGNED
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All
Target Milestone: --- → Thunderbird1.0
Note that the current toolkit help viewer has several bogo-dependencies on browser - see all the chrome:// URLs referencing the browser package in help.xul . Gerv
Nominating for blocking-aviary1.0 in Thunderbird. I think local help and a decent viewer for it are important - for Firefox parity, for a start. Gerv
Here's a list of things that at one time needed fixing in the Help Viewer for Thunderbird. I don't know how many, if any, are still valid. (I'm pretty certain, however, that the Help Viewer overall is still dysfunctional. Thunderbird changed too much between versions for the few interested in maintaining Thunderbird Help at the time to keep up.) http://mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=5373 - Find button doesn't work http://mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=5374 - Customize button only works once http://mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=6005 - TB Help doesn't work It should be possible to start adding TB Help but keep it from building (#ifdef USE_BETA_TB_HELP_VIEWER), if anyone has the time to try integrating it into mozilla.org code.
we weren't planning on having this for 1.0. too late to start now anyway.
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0? → blocking-aviary1.0-
Assignee: mscott → nobody
Target Milestone: Thunderbird1.0 → ---
Since there isn't going to be a help viewer by 1.0., I think that a much easier enhancement that could (and should) be implemented by 1.0 is to have Help > Mozilla Thunderbird Help direct users to a Thunderbird Support page at mozilla.org. Such a page currently does not exist. Currently, users are directed to http://texturizer.net/thunderbird/ which does not function very well as a comprehensive Help site. It does give some good general information and some good tips, but the information there is too limited, and some of it is unfortunately out of date and therefore confusing. For instance, the information about profile folders is still referring to .slt directories even though these are long gone. Likewise, people who want to know how to set up multiple SMTP servers, create a signature, or recover a quarantined Inbox will not find that information at texturizer.net. A simple improvement to TB's Help would be to have it direct users to a page like the Firefox Help page: http://www.mozilla.org/support/firefox/. It could link to the nidelven tuturial, texturizer.net, the knowledge base, and the forums, and present users' support choices in a more systematic manner. As it is now, the TB support info is scattered around different places, and it would good to at least make TB's Help menu lead users to a single page where the various support options are laid on clearly on one single page, as they are on the Firefox Help page. I hope this is something that can be done by the 1.0 release.
Scott: what is ETA for Tb 1.0? You're talking like it's planned for next week. Please, think about l10n teams. We *need* at least 2 weeks for QAing Tb 1.0...
*** Bug 271071 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I made a help viewer extension for the Thunderbird. This is based upon CalenderHelp 0.0.2 (Many thanks to CalenderHelp project) and modified for Thunderbird. Toolbar icons are copied from FirefoxHelp. Some documents are updated and added "How To Share Mail Between Windows and Linux". I tested it on Win2k and Tb 0.9 nightly build after 0.9+(20041113). It works fine except for some bugs. 1. Can't jump on single page link. 2. Can't work reload() function. (So, I disabled it) 3. An error is displayed in JS console when click "done" button of customize toolbar dialogs. (*1) 4. Need "xhtml11.dtd" for general HTML entities. (*2) 5. Help buttons in Options dialogs are works on Tb 0.9, but documents are not enough. (*1) JS Console displayed: Error: sidebarButton has no properties Source File: chrome://help/content/toolbarCustomization.js Line: 23 (*2) "xhtml11.dtd" has containd with extension. This is my first post to bugzilla. Thanks for your help.
This is a screenshot of Masahiko's viewer that he sent me. Thought that it'd be useful to attach to see the work that he's done.
I'm looking into getting Help working with Thunderbird, and as I finally have the time this weekend to get my computer working again, I should be able to start looking into this soon. I expect to get this working by the end of the year, but I can't promise it'll happen. The presence of a working Thunderbird Help extension does mean that it's much more likely to happen, tho.
Assignee: nobody → jwalden+fxhelp
(In reply to comment #10) > I'm looking into getting Help working with Thunderbird, and as I finally have > the time this weekend to get my computer working again, I should be able to > start looking into this soon. "This weekend" didn't actually turn out to be when I thought it would be. I've determined I have a hardware problem with my laptop. Windows is completely unusable. As I have Linux and shutdowns occur much less frequently there, I didn't think this would be an overly large problem. However, when I recently got the Firefox building process working correctly again after a complete wipe, I found that I could consistently cause a system shutdown during the final steps of the build process (right after TestGtkEmbedNotebook, if I remember correctly). Thus, Firefox (and, because that codepath is also in Thunderbird builds, Thunderbird) builds can't happen on my machine. I have not worked with Thunderbird builds with Thunderbird Help at all recently. Consequently, I can't and wouldn't feel safe making a TB Help patch and hoping for feedback without at least being able to build it myself. I hope to contact Dell sometime today after I've had some sleep, so as soon as I get the laptop repaired I hope to have a patch for this. Fixing this will make Help more robust, and it's required for the future xulrunner/libxul world. Rest assured, however, that this is the highest-priority bug on my plate when I can build Thunderbird. (Bugs which can be absolutely safely fixed without making a build are higher priority for now, obviously.)
Status: NEW → ASSIGNED
(In reply to comment #8) Masahiko: Exactly what changes did you make to the docs in the attached Thunderbird Help extension? I'm looking to start work on TB documentation, possibly as early as sometime next week, and in order to upload the docs I need to know that they're okay to be committed to source. For this to happen, I need to know that each contributor to the docs is okay with his changes being released under the MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license. (I also want to add that info in a comment to the top of each of the Help docs.) Also, tho not quite as important right now because fixing the viewer requires more time than I have now, I need to know about licensing for the Help Viewer code itself. I imagine it's likely fine, as most of it's just copied from the Firefox Help Viewer, but if there are changes needed to make it Thunderbird-compatible, I need to know about those. Don't worry about the timing too much (I'm somewhat busy for the next week or so), but if you could post both bits of info here by the end of the year that'd be great.
(In reply to comment #12) > (In reply to comment #8) > > Masahiko: > > Exactly what changes did you make to the docs in the attached Thunderbird Help > extension? I'm looking to start work on TB documentation, possibly as early as > sometime next week, and in order to upload the docs I need to know that they're > okay to be committed to source. For this to happen, I need to know that each > contributor to the docs is okay with his changes being released under the > MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license. (I also want to add that info in a comment to the top > of each of the Help docs.) I'm sure it's Nilson who wrote them. I was actually told that the MPL only covers code and not documentation. I don't know if it is true but someone told me that. > > Also, tho not quite as important right now because fixing the viewer requires > more time than I have now, I need to know about licensing for the Help Viewer > code itself. I imagine it's likely fine, as most of it's just copied from the > Firefox Help Viewer, but if there are changes needed to make it > Thunderbird-compatible, I need to know about those. heh, Jeff, just take the patch, throw it over the current firefox viewer and run a diff :). I think it's based off of calendar help (calendarhelp.mozdev.org). > > Don't worry about the timing too much (I'm somewhat busy for the next week or > so), but if you could post both bits of info here by the end of the year that'd > be great. I could take this over if you want Jeff. Looks like it'd be a good idea after seeing some recent internal plans I have going on. I won't be able to get to it until next week but then I should be able to build with the patch and generate a diff. Might also "port" the seamonkey Help docs to Thunderbird for usage in Thunderbird Help.
Jeff: > Exactly what changes did you make to the docs in the attached Thunderbird > Help extension? Copied from FirefoxHelp: glossary.xhtml thunderbird-glossary.rdf (renamed) welcome.xhtml Updated to be same with web help ( http://texturizer.net/thunderbird/documentation.html ): keyboard_shortcuts.xhtml mouse_shortcuts.xhtml (no change) Copied from web help: share_mail.xhtml Modified for new constituent: thunderbird-index1.rdf thunderbird-toc.rdf And, I have added following headers to all xhtml documents: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd"[ <!ENTITY % brandDTD SYSTEM "chrome://global/locale/brand.dtd" > %brandDTD; <!ENTITY % platformDTD SYSTEM "chrome://help/locale/platformStrings.dtd" > %platformDTD; ]> In some points, changed "Thunderbird" to "&brandShortName;". That will all. Or, do you need obsoleted original alpha version of tbh-0.1? > I imagine it's likely fine, as most of it's just copied from the > Firefox Help Viewer, but if there are changes needed to make it > Thunderbird-compatible, I need to know about those. I think it may need for Thunderbird to work correctly. But, I don't know for that. Thanks.
Current status: This is still on my todo list. I'm mostly vacationing right now and don't have the time exactly now to devote to this specific bug, but vacation pretty much ends on January 2, at which point I have until February to concentrate on Mozilla-related things as much as I need. My laptop's also at 90% capacity (need to find my XP CD to get back to 100%, but Linux is peachy), and I can build both Firefox and Thunderbird as needed. Patch-related: The addition of the Find Bar to Help in Firefox will necessitate a bunch of ifdefs to cover use of the Find Bar, but that should be pretty trivial to do. (I plan to look at injecting a variable like USE_FIND_BAR into the build process in toolkit/components/Makefile.in when Firefox is built and then using the preprocessor to test for it when creating the viewer, or some close variant of that plan.) A diff between the posted attachment and the current Help Viewer turns up only a /moderately/ small number of differences once aesthetic concerns, comments, and the like are omitted. I did this before my laptop got fixed, so I haven't been able to really test any builds, but it's coming pretty soon. The only real holdup now is that there are a couple patches in review limbo right now that block this -- the patches waiting review in either bug 260058 or bug 267227 are stopping this (they're mutually exclusive). With a working build machine now, I may just grab two trees, apply one of the patches to each, and keep forging ahead while waiting for review. Don't look for anything until after January 3, tho, because that's when I'll start really getting to work on this.
This is a diff of the current help.js and a modified version of the help.js in the extension. It should display the main differences between the two. I'm mostly posting it here so I don't lose it, but I also intend to use the diff viewer in Bugzilla to help with making the necessary changes to what exists now. (Note that the changes highlighted here can't just be directly copied, as that could easily break Firefox Help. I plan to do some more looking into what the differences do so that I can make a patch that's fully functional in both.) As for general progress, I'm now waiting for a patch to get r+ in bug 267227, and once that's done I'll do bug 279227 (it's done in my tree, but it can't really be done concurrently with bug 267227). With those done the bigger hurdles will be done, and then the only real remaining changes will be in help.js. I do not expect to see Help in Thunderbird 1.1; we don't yet have enough quality documentation, and even if the viewer gets patches now, they won't be reviewed in time for the 1.8 branch (which will probably eventually spawn Thunderbird 1.1).
I've returned to this bug after a long hiatus, and I'm making progress. There's one fairly major bug to fix and a bunch more minor ones, but this is looking very much doable before the end of next month. Don't expect to see built-in help documentation or a working help viewer in 1.5, tho: my patch is against trunk and likely won't even apply to the 1.5 branch. There's a possibility it'll get backported to the branch that will constitute Thunderbird 2.0, but I make no guarantees. As a final request, if anyone with intimate knowledge of toolkit's typeaheadfind code can provide me with details on possible points where typeaheadfind might not work correctly in Thunderbird when a content window explicitly uses it, I'd very much appreciate it. From what I've seen so far it looks like the *only* reason typeaheadfind won't work in Thunderbird is that it isn't built (not that it genuinely conflicts or doesn't work), which seems absurd given that using typeaheadfind is very much a choice and not a requirement.
(In reply to comment #17) > Created an attachment (id=206160)  > Picture of current progress > > As a final request, if anyone with intimate knowledge of toolkit's > typeaheadfind code can provide me with details on possible points where > typeaheadfind might not work correctly in Thunderbird when a content window > explicitly uses it, I'd very much appreciate it. From what I've seen so far it > looks like the *only* reason typeaheadfind won't work in Thunderbird is that it > isn't built (not that it genuinely conflicts or doesn't work), which seems > absurd given that using typeaheadfind is very much a choice and not a > requirement. > I provide debian packages for typeaheadfind in thunderbird, so yes, it does work! Anyway, e.g. in the 3-pane main window it is not clear why it only searches the message preview panel for the user, so maybe this would lead to some confusion and thus not including it by default, improves usability.
More than one year later, is there any chance to see an help documentation in Thunderbird 2.0???
How embarrassing. An application claiming to be at version 2.0 without a help file. I thought it was a fairly basic requirement and am repeatedly surprised when a generic web page pops up on the Help menu.
Bug 423486 just landed for Firefox so this bug is probably a WONTFIX...
(In reply to comment #21) Well, I hope not. Firefox is Firefox and Thunderbird is Thunderbird. Also, SeaMonkey apparently opts for retaining its build-in help viewer. I think the situation for a mail-client is somewhat different than for a web browser. Especially, both IMAP and POP protocols allow to just download your e-mail and read it off-line, and you can compose messages for later sending without the need of having SMTP available at the time of composition. Thus, the main difference is that you will need some sort of help for which a remote access it not required. In contrast, Firefox is usually online, even though I regret that they are going the way of exclusive on-line help only. Also, most applications have some sort of local help support coming with it. A mixture of build-in help viewer and complementary on-line help is probably a good compromise, but I'd definitely vote for having local help available as the initial step of trouble-shooting, regardless of whether or not somebody happens to be online at that moment.
I find it hard to believe Firefox is removing local help. Besides numerous obvious downsides such as no help when browsing on a local network not connected to the internet, or on your own files, its just such a strange thing to do. Help files are still considered a basic part of an application and deciding to proactively remove them is something of a revolutionary step which would require something incredible to justify. If Thunderbird goes the same way that is one more nail in its coffin for me and some other users I know.
Assignee: jwalden+fxhelp → nobody
Component: General → Help Documentation
QA Contact: general → help-documentation
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Closed: 2 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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