Our little 'bird is all grown up

When I started using Thunderbird, I must admit that I had to force myself. Stephen Horlander and I were creating the Pinstripe theme and I was happily using Apple’s Mail program. A year ago Thunderbird felt unfinished (I can hear you say “duh”), but I needed that dogfood taste to inform the design of Pinstripe.

At first I found it hard to get around the “Netscape Messenger 4” feel of Thunderbird. I wish that the UI had been burnt down and redesigned from the ground up as Firefox was. There seem to be many opportunities for simplification in the menus, preferences and settings windows. Perhaps this is coming.

Recently a raft of really useful features have been added like saved search folders (aka virtual folders), RSS feed reading, and message grouping. As we approach Thunderbird 1.0, despite the “legacy” feel of the UI, I find myself really liking Thunderbird instead of merely tolerating it.

Apologies to Scott MacGregor, but this is meant as a sincere compliment 🙂

Firefox 1.0: The Beginning

Even though I’ve been working closely with Firefox and Thunderbird for over a year now, I’m amazed at the attention it’s receiving. Not actually surprised though. I’ve always thought of Mozilla as being full of potential. It’s great to see Mozilla technology being given its due.

My own involvement with Mozilla has been very rewarding so far. Thank you to Ben Goodger and Dave Hyatt for bringing me into Firefox. Thanks to Scott MacGregor who helped me land the first version of Pinstripe Thunderbird in CVS when I barely knew what I was doing. Thanks of course to Stephen Horlander who has been a great collaborator. He has brought great style and attention to detail to the Firefox and Thunderbird themes.

What’s next? Well, it’s easy to design something to death. I’d like to take a step back from the Firefox themes for a little while, move on to something else and then come back and consider Firefox with a fresh dose of perspective. I’d like to write a style guide for Pinstripe/Winstripe for extension developers. There’s been talk of a Thunderbird theme for Windows and maybe even a Nvu theme.

Get Firefox 1.0 Now! FTP | BitTorrent


A little over a week ago, Ben informed me of the decision to push back the Mac-specific Firefox work to a 1.1 release that would come out in March 2005.

Firefox 1.0 was going to be released on Windows and Linux first. After the Windows version was out the door, we (meaning Ben and the few Mac hackers who work on Firefox) would focus on the Mac user experience to bring it closer to the level of polish and integration that OS X users expect.

But the Mac-specific work will take a while – with the holidays it could easily take until early 2005. Ben and crew want to merge the work that’s been going on in the Firefox branch with the Mozilla trunk as soon as possible to get on with the post-1.0 development.

Chris Hofmann wrote:

Ben, Asa and I met to review a plan for synchronizing the Mac 1.0 with the Windows and Linux releases on 11/9. We looked at feedback and satisfaction data from version tracker and other sources, recent Mac specific bugs fixed and decided to move forward with a plan to ship Mac Firefox 1.0 on 11/9. The hard and anecdotal data shows the satisfaction rating of Mac Firefox to be very close to Safari, and we see many users choosing Firefox over Safari which is a clear sign that we should be calling it 1.0.

This is disappointing but I agree with the reasoning behind the decision. Hopefully we will be able to use the extra time to make Firefox 1.1 the best browser on the Mac platform. Of course you can help! Look over the bugs targetted at Firefox 1.0mac and file requests if you think something is missing.