Fresh install, not default client, cancel Mail Account setup: Account Central completely disfunctional, esp. "Manage Newsgroup Subscriptions" and "Manage Subscriptions" does nothing

NEW
Unassigned

Status

Thunderbird
Account Manager
--
major
8 years ago
2 years ago

People

(Reporter: Thomas D., Unassigned)

Tracking

Bug Flags:
wanted-thunderbird +
blocking-thunderbird3 -

Firefox Tracking Flags

(blocking-thunderbird3.1 -)

Details

(Reporter)

Description

8 years ago
Gosh, this is bad.

STR

1 be a new user who wants to try TB but you're not sure about it
2 dare to say "No" to making TB default client, "No" to ask this again, and (probably) cancel initial quick mail account setup (don't know if that's needed or not). So basically you first want to have a look around before setting anything.

Actual result

- get that extremely unusal Account Central Screen for "Smart folders" with no accounts set up (516285)
- but this is worse: Apart from "Accounts: Create a new Account", EVERY other command on this account central screen is completely disfunctional. Most don't even react when you click:

1 Email
1a Read messages -> nothing
1b Write a new message -> get trapped in rss & news setup (bug 524863, and hard to get out with that funny combination of multiple cancel & exit)
1c Junk mail settings -> nothing

2 Newsgroup
2a Manage newsgroup subscriptions -> nothing
2b Junk mail settings -> nothing

3 Feeds
2a Manage subscriptions -> nothing

4 Accounts
4b View Settings for this account (no reason to try this as a newbie, but still, I might, after failing on the other options): -> get Account Settings > Outgoing Server (SMTP) settings dialogue, almost blank
- read warning on top: "this is only recommended for advanced users" (I'd usually cancel this right away)
- try Add (that's the only thing which looks about right): -> SMTP Server Settings with server names and port numbers I don't know about.
- "Account Actions" button: I'm not likely to click on that silly thing because I don't have any accounts yet, and I don't know what it means (TB 2 buttons with "Add Account" were WAY MUCH better).

4c Create New Account -> That's the only one that actually works and does something I might understand (but then, it all looks disabled as we don't even set focus in "Your Name" field (Bug 520964, sigh)). Also, depending on your screen size, this option might only be visible if you scroll for it (and I'm not likely to scroll for things I don't know as a new user).

5 Advanced Features -> As a newbie, I'll just skip that section, but let's try anyway
5a Search messages -> wow, it's working, but perfectly useless as there are no accounts and thus no messages to search
5b Manage message filters -> pops up, but crippled (account selector has nothing to choose from, looks funny); useless, can't do anything
5c Manage folder subscriptions -> nothing, and don't know what it is
5d Offline settings -> pops up a completely crippled version of Account Settings > Outgoing server. I really like that one, as it symbolizes the desertlike state of affairs of the out-of-the-box experience for a new user that happens to not make TB the default right away.

To sum up:

From a total of 12 options on Account Central
- 5 do nothing
- 1 does the wrong thing (Write new message -> rss & news account setup)
- at least 2 are completely disfunctional because there are no accounts yet
- the remaining 4 are practially useless as either I won't try them or they only show a desolated Account settings pane where I'll get lost

Good night, TB3, if that's the out-of-the box experience for shy users.
I don't think there's anything unusual about not wanting to make TB3 default client, and perhaps not wanting to do knows-as-difficult things like account Setup right away. Maybe it's just because I didn't have my account data at hand when I installed, so I cancel and then I'm quite lost if I try from Account central (which really attracts enough attention by design to make me try here).
(Reporter)

Comment 1

8 years ago
I know it's unpleasant, bug I'd actually recommend this for blocking TB3.0
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3?
(Reporter)

Comment 2

8 years ago
Expected Result:

- Hide all options that aren't applicable when there's no accounts set up yet
(Reporter)

Comment 3

8 years ago
We're not very stable around here. Clicking all of the above options subsequently will cause the following errors and uncaught exceptions.
We'd need some sort of initial check for "if no accounts/folders" to avoid them, probably not too hard to fix.

1a (email junk) Error: window.parent.MsgJunkMail is not a function
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/msgAccountCentral.js
Line: 292

2a (news subscribe) Error: GetSelectedMsgFolder() is undefined
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/msgAccountCentral.js
Line: 224

2b (news junk) Error: window.parent.MsgJunkMail is not a function
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/msgAccountCentral.js
Line: 292

3a (feeds subscribe) Error: GetSelectedMsgFolder() is undefined
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/msgAccountCentral.js
Line: 224

5a (search msgs) Error: uncaught exception: [Exception... "Component returned failure code: 0x80070057 (NS_ERROR_ILLEGAL_VALUE) [nsIXULTreeBuilder.getResourceAtIndex]"  nsresult: "0x80070057 (NS_ERROR_ILLEGAL_VALUE)"  location: "JS frame :: chrome://messenger/content/SearchDialog.js :: selectFolder :: line 342"  data: no]

5b (filters) Error: gCurrentFilterList is undefined
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/FilterListDialog.js
Line: 301

5c (folder subscribe) Error: GetSelectedMsgFolder() is undefined
Source File: chrome://messenger/content/msgAccountCentral.js
Line: 224
hmm, what are our easy solutions to this problem?

We're not at a point where we can make large changes so we'll have to keep them small and simple to prevent introducing new problems.

I could see possibly blocking on getting bug 524863 fixed as the write button is in a number of places and we don't want to default to the old wizard.

With the other non functioning buttons I'm not as worried that we aren't working; it's not great but doesn't act like a trap door.
(Reporter)

Comment 5

8 years ago
I agree with Bryan in that bug 524863 is the most annoying and confusing part of this.

(In reply to comment #4)
> hmm, what are our easy solutions to this problem?

I'm wondering if might not be quite easy to do this:

if there's no accounts {
  show a different account central xul page that looks like this:

  [Accounts #####################################]
  Add Mail Account       <- we have that string in Account Manager
  Add Other Account      <- "   "    "    "     "   "       "

}

Benefits:
- we are providing a crystal-clear bridge to the first time user what the next step needs to be: create an account before you do anything else
- one clear-cut condition that's safe to check (no accounts present). That might not cover all cases where we should reduce the account central UI, but it's covering the worst case, at least.

> We're not at a point where we can make large changes so we'll have to keep them small and simple to prevent introducing new problems.

I haven't looked at the code, but I think the above solution should be reasonably simple:

- one extra if-branch where we show account central:
- if there are no accounts, show a different xul file (with only the 2 "Add account" options as above)

Which files are we looking at?
(In reply to comment #5)
> if there's no accounts {
>   show a different account central xul page that looks like this:
> 
>   [Accounts #####################################]
>   Add Mail Account       <- we have that string in Account Manager
>   Add Other Account      <- "   "    "    "     "   "       "

We may have those strings but that doesn't mean they are suitable for use anywhere else as different locales may have translated them in different ways according to their context.
(Reporter)

Comment 7

8 years ago
(In reply to comment #6)
> (In reply to comment #5)
> > if there's no accounts {
> >   show a different account central xul page that looks like this:
> > 
> >   [Accounts #####################################]
> >   Add Mail Account       <- we have that string in Account Manager
> >   Add Other Account      <- "   "    "    "     "   "       "
> 
> We may have those strings but that doesn't mean they are suitable for use
> anywhere else as different locales may have translated them in different ways
> according to their context.

Generally true, but in this particular case there's really nothing contextual about it, "Add Mail Account" in whatever language can't mean anything else than adding a mail account (we just have two slightly different labels for exactly the same action), and it really wouldn't matter if it's tranlated like "New Account", "Create Account", "Creation of another account", "Account Creation" or whatever. And since we'd be taking both strings from the same spot (Account actions > "Add mail account" / "Add Other Account"), there's no risk that they are structurally different between the two. We should of course re-introduce separate strings lateron for 3.x.

But anyway, I think the bigger problem is not the strings but the code. I can't fix it, and I don't feel too strongly about it. The worst part of it is really bug 524863, which would be quite embarassing if it's not fixed.
Another option might be to disable the cancel button in the "Mail Account Setup" dialog if there are not yet any accounts set up.
(Reporter)

Comment 9

8 years ago
(In reply to comment #8)
> Another option might be to disable the cancel button in the "Mail Account
> Setup" dialog if there are not yet any accounts set up.

I think not. Even it mail accounts were the only choice, this would be bad UX, forcing me to setup things I might not have the data at hand for, and anyway, there shouldn't be ANY dialogs from which I can't cancel - come on, that's blackmailing! More importantly, I might prefer to use TB only as a news reader, or rss reader. So forcing me to set up a mail account definitely wouldn't be the right thing then.
Not blocking 3.0 on this bug, but we're going to fix bug 524863 to improve the situation for users.
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3?
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3.1?
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3-

Comment 11

8 years ago
not blocking, because we've fixed the more serious/annoying issues in other bugs. But marking wanted.
blocking-thunderbird3.1: --- → -
status-thunderbird3.1: --- → wanted
Flags: blocking-thunderbird3.1?
status-thunderbird3.1: wanted → ---
Flags: wanted-thunderbird+

Comment 12

7 years ago
Blake, et al, ... Is it agreed that comment 5 + 6 is the way to go?
See Also: → bug 529131
Yeah, I like the idea of creating a new XUL page (or showing and hiding elements in the existing XUL page).

I think, since we'll have a lot more space to play with, we should probably re-word the links to make it more obvious what they'll do, and add some explanation that no-one will read.  ;)

Thanks,
Blake.

Comment 14

7 years ago
(In reply to comment #13)
> Yeah, I like the idea of creating a new XUL page (or showing and hiding
> elements in the existing XUL page).

Let's do the former here, since I doubt the latter will play nicely with the account summary code in bug 489999, especially when it's merged into Thunderbird proper.
(Reporter)

Updated

7 years ago
Version: 3.0 → Trunk

Comment 15

6 years ago
Augh, I just killed an hour figuring out that I was experiencing this bug and making my way here.  My use case was pretty much what's described in Comment 0.  In my case, I did a fresh install of TB in order to subscribe to a newsgroup.  The non-working "Manage newsgroup subscriptions" button was very confusing.

I also had trouble finding the true location of the add newsgroup interface because "File->New->Other Accounts" didn't pop out to me.  I don't think of newsgroup subscriptions of requiring an "account."  The fact that you need to add a "Blogs and News Feeds" "account" before subscribing to RSS feeds makes even more less sense to me.

Anyway, hopefully some useful reflections from a luser... an enthusiastic +1 to this bug.

Updated

3 years ago
See Also: → bug 489999
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