Mozilla plans user interface refresh and better Gmail support for Thunderbird

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January 4, 2019
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The development team behind the Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail client have announced their ambitions for 2019, the major focus of the team will be on tackling user interface issues, improving user experience and promoting better integration with providers like Gmail.

Mozilla is breathing new life into Thunderbird, its desktop email client that many users may think is no longer being actively developed. According to Thunderbird community manager Ryan Sipes, the impending updates in 2019 will be made possible by Thunderbird’s growing staff, which currently includes eight people with as many as six more on the way.

To address the Thunderbird’s sluggish user interface, Mr. Sipes said, “the developers will be looking into leveraging new, faster technologies in rewriting parts of Thunderbird as well as working towards a multi-process Thunderbird”.

That’s just the start, “We are looking at improving notifications in Thunderbird, by better integrating with each operating system’s built-in notification system. By working on this feature, Thunderbird will feel more ‘native’ on each desktop and will make managing notifications from the app easier,” Sipes added.

The plan is to focus on user interface slowness and performance issues, improving notifications, boosting Gmail support and ensuring its features translate into Thunderbird as well as making it easier for users to encrypt communications. The Development team even hired an engineer whose main focus will be privacy and security.

The technical manager of Thunderbird, Magnus Melin, briefed about what the team’s resources would be faced in the near future. Along with the problems highlighted in Sipe’s blog post, Melin also mentions improving the post filter, adopting popular add-ons and calendar enhancements.

There are aspects of Mozilla’s 2019 Thunderbird road-map that still need to be worked out and few of the mentioned updates might not be ready in time for Thunderbird’s next release. But Mr. Ryan is quite confident that once the updates arrive, they will surely be welcome improvements for Thunderbird users going forward.

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