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Better Method of Installing Thunderbird Extensions Required



13 years ago
6 months ago


(Reporter: Ray Booysen, Unassigned)


Bug Flags:
blocking-thunderbird3 -
blocking-thunderbird2 -

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)





13 years ago
User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.7.8) Gecko/20050511 Firefox/1.0.4
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.7.8) Gecko/20050511 Firefox/1.0.4

Because Firefox and Thunderbird share the same extensions for extensions,
installing extensions on Thunderbird requires more work than the simple click in

I closed bug 285889 to open a more generic bug here to discuss better ways of
handling this issue.  Current ideas revolving changing extension extensions are
up for discussion as well as any other ideas.

Reproducible: Always


13 years ago
Summary: Need a better method of Installing Thunderbird extensions → Better Method of Installing Thunderbird Extensions Required

Comment 1

13 years ago
The main problem is that a browser simply can't decide what to do with an .xpi:
if it is usable by both Firefox and Thunderbird, how should it know where you
want it to be installed? In FF, in TB, in both?
So, you'd need a way "Install this .xpi in TB" - this may be an idea for (yet)
another FF extension.

OTOH, the TB extension install dialog *does* support external URIs, you can
simply enter the URI to the .xpi in the file location dialog.
(Well, you /can/ even just download extensions using TB: set the URI to the .xpi
as the mail start page and open that. Yes, this is really gruesome. ;-)

Comment 2

13 years ago

My idea of renaming extensions can work.  Different extensions for each product.
 This would obviously leave the need for two copies of the extension if it
worked in both Firefox and Thunderbird but would remove this problem completely.

Comment 3

13 years ago
Of course it /can/ work, but basing anything upon file extensions instead of
MIME types is quite bad, IMO. (Why should a file extension have anything to do
with a file's content, anyway?) And having n different MIME types for the same
kind of file is pretty awful. 

Having m different extension files that only differ in their file extension but
not in their content is quite ugly and useless also.  

Comment 4

13 years ago
Maybe the better solution would be if there was a way to call the Thunderbird
extension installer instead of the firefox one from the updates site.

As noted,  the TB extension install dialog *does* support external URIs - but
it's not clear from the interface that you can type in a URI in the 'Select an
extension' dialog box. 
The other thing I hadn't realised was that you can drag a link from firefox into
the thunderbird extensions manager.

Comment 5

13 years ago
why not do like other things (aim, yahoo, irc) do and fake a protocol handler?

tbird://gettheme?http://www.site.com/theme.jar or

that way it knows to let things (tbird) handle things with that protocol, and
tbird does things right.  of course tbird is subject to change (moztb?).

Comment 6

12 years ago
Flagging blocking-aviary2.0 as ?

This should definitely be fixed and have a better method for handling extensions
across Thunderbird and Firefox.
Flags: blocking-aviary2.0?


12 years ago
Flags: blocking-firefox2? → blocking-thunderbird2?

Comment 7

12 years ago
Related: bug 313468.

Comment 8

12 years ago
Maybe there needs to be some per-system 'XUL app registry' in which you can look up an executable name (or a execution line, e.g. "/path/to/myxulapp --install-extension $ext" with $ext set to the extension filename/URI) against the em:id value you find in the XPI. And if you have multiple em:id's there's be a listbox for selecting which app to install the XPI in.

Comment 9

12 years ago
I don't think we are going to be able to change how extensions get installed for 2.0. Could be an interesting topic for 3.0 though. 
Flags: blocking-thunderbird2? → blocking-thunderbird2-


11 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 378370
QA Contact: general
Duplicate of this bug: 392991


10 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 396662
Duplicate of this bug: 399127


9 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 442550

Comment 15

9 years ago
My suggestion in Bug 442550 was a duplicate - sorry for that.

Here's my suggestion:

When Thunderbird is installed, it installs an extension to Firefox, which changes the Firefox add-on installation process. Before Firefox-compatibility is checked, the add-on checks if it's compatible with Thunderbird (or both).

If it is only compatible with Thunderbird, it shows a dialog that allows to install the extension to Thunderbird.
If it is compatible with both (Firefox and Thunderbird), it shows a dialog that allows to choose which application it should be installed to.


This isn't a Thunderbird-specific problem, though - it would be great if this worked for other Mozilla-based applications that can have add-ons, so it would of course be preferable, if Firefox included this functionality by default, allowing applications like Thunderbird, Sunbird, Songbird etc. to add their application data (GUID, profile/extension directory, application name, etc.) to a list of "also-XPI-using-applications" in Firefox, making this feature easy to use for others, too.

Comment 16

9 years ago
related bug 214319, and description at http://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Extension_Installation

This would be a big UX win and is in the list of goals for TB3, but unsure if this got pruned from the list of priority items. http://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Thunderbird3
Assignee: mscott → nobody
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3?
FWIW We now have (on trunk) the Get Add-ons pane in the Add-on manager, which should help a lot.
As much as i agree that we want a smoother experience than we have now, I don't think we'd block tb3 for this bug.


9 years ago
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3? → blocking-thunderbird3-


3 years ago
See Also: → bug 517498


3 years ago
See Also: → bug 1047129


11 months ago
Duplicate of this bug: 1047129
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