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WHY OH WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BREAK ALMOST ALL ADDONS WITH THUNDERBIRD 68?

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I'm sure somebody in this group had a really neat smart idea to improve or "fix" something, but the number one rule is backward compatibility when it comes to addons. People really do USE and RELY ON these addons, and you just broke every one that I had. I am really really upset with this super poor design decision being approved. I don't care what great whizbang feature broke them, but I'd sure like that reversed so I can use my important addons again. THANK YOU!!

I'm sure somebody in this group had a really neat smart idea to improve or "fix" something, but the number one rule is backward compatibility when it comes to addons. People really do USE and RELY ON these addons, and you just broke every one that I had. I am really really upset with this super poor design decision being approved. I don't care what great whizbang feature broke them, but I'd sure like that reversed so I can use my important addons again. THANK YOU!!

Chosen solution

re :WHY don't core developers take more care to AVOID breaking addons? Thunderbird does not break the addon. The addon is not up to date. The addon is not keeping up to date with technology and security advancement.

So the user can choose to continue using out of date older Thunderbird versions and old addon xul technology, but would they also use old Anti-Virus that does not update. It is a choice we all have.

Security requires the need to update and the change was never going to be totally smooth because addon authors also have the choice on whether they want to proceed or not.

https://blog.thunderbird.net/2017/05/thunderbirds-future-home/ .... I hope XUL and XPCOM will stay supported for much longer than in Firefox. Mozilla wants to kill off this important technology mainly for safety reasons, but a lot of important Addons in the mail area are based on it. ...We will continue to support legacy add-ons for as long as possible. Given our current dependency on the Mozilla Platform and the upcoming changes in Firefox 57, it may become increasingly difficult to support XUL/XPCOM add-ons. I believe there has been some discussion on this topic on tb-planning

Time has since passed since those comments were made and now there has been a huge change.

So in a nutshell, the changes were inevitable to improve security.

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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1880 solutions 12795 answers

Addons are created by their author and are not created by Thunderbird. The author of the addon has sole responsibility to ensure their addons work with whatever version of Thunderbird.

Just like Anti-Virus products have the responsibility to keep up to date and ensure their products work with whatever they claim.

People who create addons rely on donations to afford them time to maintain their addon extensions. Their addons are frequently used by people who do not contribute, so they may be unable to afford to update.

So, you may discover any of the following may apply. The addon still works but needs updating as the auto update may have failed. The addon still works but has been replaced eg: 'ImportExportTools' has a new one called 'ImportExportTools NG'. Some addons are still being worked on to update the code and so may be available in the future. Some addons have not been updated for a long time, but continued to work until now. So the author may have stopped maintaining a while ago. Authors may have chosen to not upgrade because they do not have the time available or cannot afford the time or do not have the inclination to learn and apply the new coding which means totally rewriting the entire addon. Note some authors were maintaining several addons.

You would need to ask the specific author of the addon in question if they intend to update as it is not something Thunderbird can force. Lightning is the exception as it has been integrated.

Selection of addons already updated that do work in 68, but it is not a definitive list.

  • ImportExportTools NG
  • Remove Duplicates 1.6
  • SmartTemplate4 2.7
  • Mail Merge 6.1.0
  • MRC Compose 2.0.2
  • Signature Switch.
  • XNote++
  • Auto Address Cleaner T 1.0.7
  • Manually sort folders 2.0.2
  • QuickFolders (Tabbed Folders) 4.17.5
  • Colored Folders 1.3.5
  • Thunderbird Conversations 3.0.10
  • Phoenity Buttons 3.5
  • Profile Switcher 2.4
  • Exquilla for Exchange
  • Owl for Exchange
  • gContactSync
Addons are created by their author and are not created by Thunderbird. The author of the addon has sole responsibility to ensure their addons work with whatever version of Thunderbird. Just like Anti-Virus products have the responsibility to keep up to date and ensure their products work with whatever they claim. People who create addons rely on donations to afford them time to maintain their addon extensions. Their addons are frequently used by people who do not contribute, so they may be unable to afford to update. So, you may discover any of the following may apply. The addon still works but needs updating as the auto update may have failed. The addon still works but has been replaced eg: 'ImportExportTools' has a new one called 'ImportExportTools NG'. Some addons are still being worked on to update the code and so may be available in the future. Some addons have not been updated for a long time, but continued to work until now. So the author may have stopped maintaining a while ago. Authors may have chosen to not upgrade because they do not have the time available or cannot afford the time or do not have the inclination to learn and apply the new coding which means totally rewriting the entire addon. Note some authors were maintaining several addons. You would need to ask the specific author of the addon in question if they intend to update as it is not something Thunderbird can force. Lightning is the exception as it has been integrated. Selection of addons already updated that do work in 68, but it is not a definitive list. * ImportExportTools NG * Remove Duplicates 1.6 * SmartTemplate4 2.7 * Mail Merge 6.1.0 * MRC Compose 2.0.2 * Signature Switch. * XNote++ * Auto Address Cleaner T 1.0.7 * Manually sort folders 2.0.2 * QuickFolders (Tabbed Folders) 4.17.5 * Colored Folders 1.3.5 * Thunderbird Conversations 3.0.10 * Phoenity Buttons 3.5 * Profile Switcher 2.4 * Exquilla for Exchange * Owl for Exchange * gContactSync
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Question owner

I already understood all that, but you totally avoided answering my basic question, which is: WHY don't core developers take more care to AVOID breaking addons? This is just careless, thoughtless behavior. When a new release breaks a majority of addons without a very good reason, something is wrong. A lot of these addon developers are doing this for the benefit of the community, and by breaking so many addons, you are just pushing a lot of work down to these nice people. That is just rude and thoughtless. There needs to be a VERY GOOD reason, like a serious security hole, or (as happened a few years ago), a complete overhaul of the entire design of the product. Haven't seen anything about this release that suggests any such reason here. So my point remains, and you have not adequately addressed it. Thanks.

I already understood all that, but you totally avoided answering my basic question, which is: WHY don't core developers take more care to AVOID breaking addons? This is just careless, thoughtless behavior. When a new release breaks a majority of addons without a very good reason, something is wrong. A lot of these addon developers are doing this for the benefit of the community, and by breaking so many addons, you are just pushing a lot of work down to these nice people. That is just rude and thoughtless. There needs to be a VERY GOOD reason, like a serious security hole, or (as happened a few years ago), a complete overhaul of the entire design of the product. Haven't seen anything about this release that suggests any such reason here. So my point remains, and you have not adequately addressed it. Thanks.
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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1880 solutions 12795 answers

Chosen Solution

re :WHY don't core developers take more care to AVOID breaking addons? Thunderbird does not break the addon. The addon is not up to date. The addon is not keeping up to date with technology and security advancement.

So the user can choose to continue using out of date older Thunderbird versions and old addon xul technology, but would they also use old Anti-Virus that does not update. It is a choice we all have.

Security requires the need to update and the change was never going to be totally smooth because addon authors also have the choice on whether they want to proceed or not.

https://blog.thunderbird.net/2017/05/thunderbirds-future-home/ .... I hope XUL and XPCOM will stay supported for much longer than in Firefox. Mozilla wants to kill off this important technology mainly for safety reasons, but a lot of important Addons in the mail area are based on it. ...We will continue to support legacy add-ons for as long as possible. Given our current dependency on the Mozilla Platform and the upcoming changes in Firefox 57, it may become increasingly difficult to support XUL/XPCOM add-ons. I believe there has been some discussion on this topic on tb-planning

Time has since passed since those comments were made and now there has been a huge change.

So in a nutshell, the changes were inevitable to improve security.

re :WHY don't core developers take more care to AVOID breaking addons? Thunderbird does not break the addon. The addon is not up to date. The addon is not keeping up to date with technology and security advancement. So the user can choose to continue using out of date older Thunderbird versions and old addon xul technology, but would they also use old Anti-Virus that does not update. It is a choice we all have. Security requires the need to update and the change was never going to be totally smooth because addon authors also have the choice on whether they want to proceed or not. https://blog.thunderbird.net/2017/05/thunderbirds-future-home/ ''.... I hope XUL and XPCOM will stay supported for much longer than in Firefox. '''Mozilla wants to kill off this important technology mainly for safety reasons''', but a lot of important Addons in the mail area are based on it.'' ''...We will continue to support legacy add-ons for as long as possible. Given our current dependency on the Mozilla Platform and the upcoming changes in Firefox 57, it may become increasingly difficult to support XUL/XPCOM add-ons. I believe there has been some discussion on this topic on tb-planning'' Time has since passed since those comments were made and now there has been a huge change. So in a nutshell, the changes were inevitable to improve security.
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Question owner

Thank you for answering my basic question, it was necessary for security reasons.

Now, without the XUL/XPCOM framework, it would be nice if the core would provide some means for those old addons to still have a way to implement their many great features, that are missing in the core product. For example: - ability to modify the UI elements of a theme (font size, spacing, etc.) - ad blocker support

Thank you for answering my basic question, it was necessary for security reasons. Now, without the XUL/XPCOM framework, it would be nice if the core would provide some means for those old addons to still have a way to implement their many great features, that are missing in the core product. For example: - ability to modify the UI elements of a theme (font size, spacing, etc.) - ad blocker support
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Toad-Hall
  • Top 10 Contributor
1880 solutions 12795 answers

There is guidance etc for the authors of addons which has been available to them for some time.

one example: https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb68/changes

There is guidance etc for the authors of addons which has been available to them for some time. one example: https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb68/changes
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sfhowes
  • Top 10 Contributor
2023 solutions 10146 answers

Tom Dietsche said

Thank you for answering my basic question, it was necessary for security reasons. Now, without the XUL/XPCOM framework, it would be nice if the core would provide some means for those old addons to still have a way to implement their many great features, that are missing in the core product. For example: - ability to modify the UI elements of a theme (font size, spacing, etc.) - ad blocker support

UI modifications can still be done with css. There are many examples posted in this forum, such as here.

Ad blocker for TB 68: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases

''Tom Dietsche [[#answer-1283522|said]]'' <blockquote> Thank you for answering my basic question, it was necessary for security reasons. Now, without the XUL/XPCOM framework, it would be nice if the core would provide some means for those old addons to still have a way to implement their many great features, that are missing in the core product. For example: - ability to modify the UI elements of a theme (font size, spacing, etc.) - ad blocker support </blockquote> UI modifications can still be done with css. There are many examples posted in this forum, such as [https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1271886 here]. Ad blocker for TB 68: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/releases
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