Req: Different dialog and confirmation box behavior, win+osx

Discussion of features in Mozilla Thunderbird
Posts: 2
Joined: January 21st, 2007, 6:25 am

Post Posted January 21st, 2007, 7:47 am

>Not a native English speaker, couldn't find a related topic in this forum, please inform if already requested elsewhere<

I've been using thunderbird since the early betas, and although I tried many others since, the whole package just makes it the best emailclient for my needs on both PC and Mac. But it's not perfect, and I would like to share my use case scenario with you on the topic of confirmation and dialog boxes.

Use case scenario:
Most of my computer time is spent on a Macbook with OS X through either wired or wireless networks. I use my laptop at work, at home and while travelling the train. I use mostly IMAP services with Thunderbird, so if I don't have access to my own machine, at least I can use webmail and have an accurate view on the status of read and unread emails.

Thunderbird is always on in the background, polling the server regularly for new emails. The way it will inform me of incoming mail is just the way it should be: I hear the typical sound when I'm near the machine, the dock-icon starts bouncing (similar to the taskbar blinking for Windows) and the icon shows the amount of new emails that were received. I have <a href="">growl</a> installed, so I instantly see the email headers on screen - all seems perfect.

The problem:
However, not everything really *is* perfect. When I work on wireless networks, sometimes the internet connection fails. Hey it happens, and I accept it. Thunderbird doesn't though. Everytime thunderbird tries polling the server and there's no internet, it will give me an audible error-beep and a confirmation box that says something in line of "IMAP server xyz could not be found" or similar. These dialog boxes pop-up sequentially for *all* accounts that poll their servers, so in my case everytime the internet connection is severed, I have to switch to Thunderbird and clear *four* confirmation boxes. This is not a major task - hitting the spacebar four times in a row does the trick - but when hung up on those message boxes, Thunderbird stops doing anything else! The annoyance increases when I'm not in a network to begin with, and then start Thunderbird for the first time. There's no way around the confirmation boxes because TB feels compelled to tell me that it couldn't connect to the servers.

Current alternative:
I know of the "work offline" feature, but I don't want to be too conscient about being on- or offline. I just want TB to sit there and do it's thing, notify me of any changes in the situation but not act and interrupt my work unless I ask for it to do so.

Don't get me wrong, I like being informed about eventual hickups in the connection, especially if that's the reason my awaited emails don't get through. And because most of the time I do have an internet connection when I start TB, I also want it to check my emails instantly. But I would like to suggest an alternative to the way these pop-up boxes work.

Possible solution:
Instead of pop-up boxes, what if Thunderbird adapts a little more the non-obtrusive notification style that Firefox has when e.g. a popup-script is being blocked? No annoying windows, just a little sound and a notification in the bar just above your browser content. This might even be an optional setting, so if you want to, just choose between this style of notification, or the confirmation-box style. There might even be other ways users want to be notified. Mac users with growl might aswell opt for a growl-only notification (I sure would like that one). Or for them little Windows-MSN style messages that appear in a corner of your screen. Maybe TB can offer a way to pass these notifications along to a command line program, that one can individualize to anyones requirements. Wouldn't this be a great annoyance-reducing feature of TB?

I wish I were a software engineer so I could build this myself, but I'm not and neither would I know how integral the current notification system within TB is. I'm just saying that if there are users out there that use Thunderbird the way I do, this might be a very valuable addition to the strength of TB as the one-and-only email application.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Posts: 24
Joined: December 13th, 2004, 9:46 am

Post Posted February 16th, 2007, 12:03 pm

I second this feature. The popup is quite annoying. Outlook is non-intrusive.

Posts: 2
Joined: January 21st, 2007, 6:25 am

Post Posted February 18th, 2007, 4:28 am

On that I agree that Outlook is non-intrusive, but it's also not ideal for this situation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it automatically switches to "offline mode" when it can't connect to the net, which is only indicated by a little greyed out icon in the bottom right corner. It doesn't switch back to "online" however when there's a connection again, which has left me amazed at not getting any (spam) emails for the greater part of a day before I noticed I was offline.

I can imagine this way of circumventing the pop-ups in TB would be fairly easy to implement, it wouldn't be the solution to my scenario. It would however be great if it could switch back to online-mode though, would that be possible for an extension to control? Something like a connectivity-monitor, one that's polled just before the interval mail-check occurs and then flips the on/offline mode?

Cheers // EP.

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