12
Dec 13

Lightning 2.6.x Version Recap

As you may have read in the previous post, there have been quite a few issues with Lightning 2.6.x. I wanted to explain what happened and what we can do to avoid these issues in the future.

The Lightning build process is closely coupled with Thunderbird. Every time Thunderbird does a release, we get builds for Lightning for free. This means we mostly depend on them doing a release, otherwise I have to patch the final builds manually. This is a little more work. Luckily, each of the releases between 2.6 and 2.6.4 have been done together with a Thunderbird build.

Google Calendar Issues via CalDAV

Just before Lightning 2.6 was released, we made some last minute changes to accomodate for the fact that Google Calendar had changed their CalDAV URL. Not only that, they also implemented a specification for faster synchronization of CalDAV. We already supported this specification, but only an older version. A quick fix was done to take care. In total, were some authentication issues and an error loading calendars. We knew we had to release a 2.6.1, but we didn’t know it had to happen so fast…

Version compatibilitiy issues

When Thunderbird 24.0.1 was released, Lightning 2.6 did not work on Linux. The reason for this was a regression in the Mozilla Platform around Thunderbird 23. The binary component we have was built with a specifc compiler flag with a parameter that was too strict. It bascially said “this binary component is only for version 24.0.1″. The fix was easy, change it to “this binary component is for version 24.*”, but it took a while for that fix to be completed and admitted to all branches. Lightning 2.6.1 was quickly released as a workaround specificly compatible to Thunderbird 24.0.1, Lightning 2.6.2 was needed for Thunderbird 24.1.0.

Another problem why this was so hard to figure out for users is that some Linux distributions decided to skip the minor releases and only do 24.0, 24.1.0, 24.2.0 and so on. There were complaints because the latest Lightning version wasn’t working, when 24.1.1 was missing from the distribution repositories. We still needed to release consequent Lightning versions though, otherwise users using the stock builds would complain.

Lightning 2.6.3: Issues with CalDAV

Unfortunately, one of the patches for 2.6.1 had an error in it. We decided there needs to be a quick fix, and it was just in time for Lightning 2.6.3. The binary compatibility bug had been fixed by now, so this should also be the first version that is compatible to any version of Thunderbird 24.1.1 and up.

Lightning 2.6.4: Yet another one

Now this is the release that really annoyed me. First of all, I did a bad job on one of the patches. The other one was a minor issue with servers that don’t have a certain XML element in their response. These are the kinds of issues we could have easily figured out before the release with more and better unit tests. We might have even saved another release.

Conclusion

We probably could have known about all of these issues beforehand if we had tests to catch them. Just running the any of the tests using the build machinery would have caught the binary compatibility issue. If we had at least some manual tests to test CalDAV servers, we could have started them for a few public demo servers and caught all of the CalDAV regressions. Both of this has been on my list for quite some time, but given all the other things coming up I never got around to it.

Integrating the tests with the build system is unfortunately something only someone with Mozillians trust can do, but if you want to help us write some unit test, that would be marvelous. The cool new thing to use is promises and tasks, which allow writing really easy to read asynchronous code. I have some demo code thats not quite working but is ready for someone to pick up.

If you want to help in some other way, please contact me! Even if you are not a developer, there is a lot that can be done for someone with a little initiative.

 


13
Oct 13

Using Lightning 2.6.* on Linux? Be sure you are using the exact compatible Thunderbird Version

As you may have noticed, Lightning is no longer working with Thunderbird 24.0.1. This is totally unexpected for us, it seems Thunderbird 24.0 and 24.0.1 are not binary compatible. We will be releasing Lightning 2.6.1 this week to fix the issue and afterwards find out how this could have happened.

If you are using Lightning 2.6, please downgrade to Thunderbird 24.0 for now and you will regain access to Lightning and your calendars.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Here is the compatibility table:

Thunderbird Version Lightning Version
Thunderbird 24.0 Lightning 2.6
Thunderbird 24.0.1 Lightning 2.6.1
Thunderbird 24.1.0 Lightning 2.6.2
Thunderbird 24.1.1 Lightning 2.6.3
Thunderbird 24.2.0 (unreleased) Lightning 2.6.3 and up

Update 1: This seems to be a Linux-only issue. Windows and Mac users can safely upgrade to Thunderbird 24.0.1!

Update 2: You can get the English version of Thunderbird 24.0 for Linux here. For other languages, please see the release directory on the ftp server.

Update 3: Lightning 2.6.1 is the version compatible to Thunderbird 24.0.1. To date it has not been reviewed by the Mozilla Addons Team, but you can still get it manually using the Other Versions page.

Update 4: Lightning 2.6.1 is now public. On Linux, it is compatible ONLY with Thunderbird 24.0.1, so go ahead and upgrade now.

Update 5: To be more clear: If you are using Thunderbird 24.0 on Linux you MUST continue to use Lightning 2.6. If you are using Thunderbird 24.0.1 on Linux, you MUST use Lightning 2.6.1. Thunderbird 24.1.0 (no typo) will be released soon, you MUST use the upcoming Lightning 2.6.2 here.

Update 6: If you cannot use the newer Lightnig versions yet and want to disable addon updates: Go to the Addons Manager → right click on Lightning → Show More Information → Disable Automatic Updates.

Update 7: Thunderbird 24.1.0 (not .0.1) has just been pushed to the mirrors. On Linux you will need Lightning 2.6.2 together with it. I have heard from some packagers for the Linux distributions that, in contrary to 24.0.1, this version will be made available. If you need Lightning 2.6.2 now, you can get it from the Other Versions page until it has been reviewed.

Update 8: I was now able to set up the version compatibility correctly. If all goes well, Thunderbird 24.0 users should NOT be getting upgrades to Lightning 2.6.1 anymore, all other versions should work correctly too.

Update 9: Updated for 24.1.1 release. The problems are now going away :) I will recap as soon as I get to it.


22
Sep 13

Lightning 2.6 has been released

I am happy to announce the release of Lightning 2.6, compatible to Thunderbird 24 and Seamonkey 2.21. The release went live on Tuesday, September 17th and is the next major release after Thunderbird 17 and Lightning 1.9. If you are using the Provider for Google Calendar, you will also have to upgrade to version 0.25.

You may have not received the updates automatically because of server side throttling, you can either wait until the update occurs, force checking for updates via the About Thunderbird dialog, or grab them manually:

Before upgrading, be sure to backup your profile so you can restore in case something goes wrong unexpectedly.

The release notes can be found on addons.mozilla.org. An important note for users of Google Calendar via CalDAV (not via Provider for Google Calendar): Due to a server side change at Google, you must update the URL of the calendar, as described in this post.

Should you be experiencing any issues, here are some steps that might resolve them:

  • Make sure that you are running Thunderbird 24 or SeaMonkey 2.21.
  • Redownload and install Lightning using the download links above.
  • If you are using the Provider for Google Calendar make sure you upgrade to version 0.25
If you are experiencing issues (Lightning not installing or the calendar not working at all), try removing the Lightning addon and doing a fresh install. Your calendar data will be kept intact, as it is contained in your profile. To be sure, create a profile backup as described above.

If you enjoy this update or want to thank us for the hard work we have done, feel free to leave a review at addons.mozilla.org. If you have issues upgrading, please don’t misuse the reviews. Leave a comment here and I’ll try to get back to you soon! If you are sure you have found a bug, you can also search for it on bugzilla or file a new one if it doesn’t yet exist.


16
Aug 13

Lightning 2.6b1 is out, testing urgently needed

Lightning 2.6 is going to be the release you are stuck with for about 42 weeks, so its vitally important that this one is tested thoroughly. All features are important to test, as not only Lightning code has changed, but also the Mozilla Platform behind it.

Get the Thunderbird 24 beta on the Thunderbird betas page.
Get Lightning 2.6b1 on addons.mozilla.org:

If you find an issue, please file a bug at bugzilla.mozilla.org, product Calendar. Search for an existing bug first. If you come across any major bugs (not missing features), a comment is fine too.

Thank you for your support!


29
May 13

Does anyone have a string change for me?

Since the last big release is a while back, I thought I’d let everyone know that the current Lightning 2.6 nightly builds on comm-central will become the release compatible with Thunderbird 24, the next big Thunderbird release.

What this means for localizers
When the current 6 weeks cycle ends, the code will merge down to comm-aurora as usual. At this moment you should be preparing your translations and signing off. There is no process change, you will still have time until the beta, but especially if you have a lot of untranslated strings you might want to start early. While the intermediate beta releases have not been so important, missing the deadline this time means up to 42 weeks of Lightning without your language.

What this means for developers
Have a patch you are working on? A nice new feature? Better get it in review soon, otherwise we might have to postpone it. Especially so if it contains string changes, additions or removals. Again, postponing means at least 42 weeks before its in the final release.

What this means for users
It is vitally important that you test the Lightning builds we offer. Given we haven’t had final releases in a while more regressions might have snuck in and its better we find them early. It would be super helpful if you could test the nightly builds, but if you want a little more safety, there is a test week in progress for Thunderbird and the current Lightning beta. You are of course encouraged to install the beta builds at any time. I personally use them for my production calendars.


28
Nov 12

Lightning 1.9 released, please update your Provider for Google Calendar

As you likely noticed, Lightning 1.9 was recently released. Aside from the common issues during an update, the most reported problem was that calendars were no longer working. In almost all cases, the solution for this issue is to also update the Provider for Google Calendar to version 0.18. A function in Lightning was changed that was used by the Provider version 0.17, hence the update.

For an unknown reason, the addons manager did not find the update of the Provider for Google Calendar to version 0.18. We have mitigated this by blocking the older version of the extension on addons.mozilla.org, but we have yet to find the reason this has happened in the first place.

The next release is still a while away, but if you experience issues in a future update, please make sure you are using the latest version of all relevant extensions.

If you are having a different error, please check out the Error Console in the Tools menu and comment with any relevant messages by comment. Also, in the advanced config editor (Preferences → Advanced → General → Config Editor) there is a preference called “calendar.debug.log” and “calendar.debug.log.verbose” which you can set to true to get additional messages regarding your problem.


13
Oct 12

Lightning 1.9 will be the ESR compatible release, please test our beta

Lightning 1.9b2 is now available on addons.mozilla.org. It is compatible to Thunderbird 17 and its betas, which will also be released as Thunderbird 17 ESR. This means testing is more important than ever, since this is a version that will stick around a bit longer.

This is why we need you! Without your testing work, possibly critical bugs might go by unnoticed. Not only does this mean extra pain for the end user, it also means more work for us to do emergency releases.

Please take a moment to download Thunderbird 17 beta and Lightning 1.9b2 and report any issues you find. There have been quite a few fixes in printing support and some drastic changes to the cached calendar / offline support. Your main area of testing should therefore be printing and any kind of cached calendar, for example with a CalDAV server or the Provider for Google Calendar. For those of you using WCAP, support for the cache has been restored in this release too.

Of course I’m eager to hear about problems in any other area, so give it a try and either comment here or file a bug!


06
Sep 12

The return of the nightly builds

Hello Nightly testers,

I am happy to announce that we now have updated nightly builds for Daily and Earlybird. You may have noticed that for quite some time the builds were missing. The problem behind this was again our build machinery, there were some changes we needed to adopt so that the builds work again.

Fixing the issue wasn’t very hard, but since I was busy with exams and other patches that needed to be pushed before the last release, I haven’t gotten around to it. This again shows that we really need more people on the build side. If you know some python and are interested in fixing build configuration issues, please do email me.

 


31
Aug 12

Lightning 1.8b1 for Thunderbird 16 beta is also available

Also, those of you using Thunderbird 16 Beta, I have just uploaded Lightning 1.8b1 to addons.mozilla.org. If you have installed a beta version in the past, you will automatically get an update from 1.7b3 to 1.8b1, otherwise you need to download the beta version manually.


31
Aug 12

Lightning 1.7 and a new Provider for Google Calendar

As you may have seen, Lightning 1.7 has been released. There are no major UI changes, most of the bugs fixed are us running after the changes in the core Mozilla platform (most notably removing e4x support, fixing sqlite statement wrappers) and backend fixes (cure excessive getItems requests when accessing calendars).

We have some improvements for Mac users in this release though: there is now support for some gestures in the calendar views. If you are on mac (or another machine with a touchpad that supports gestures), try the usual pinch, rotate and swipe gestures in the day, week, multiweek and month views.

Also, as mentioned in the previous blog post, I have rewritten the printing support to accommodate for the e4x backend changes. There might be some kinks, so please continue testing the print support in the release and file bugs or at least comment here as necessary. We have already noticed the “All day – All day”  bug.

You can view the full list of changes here on bugzilla.

Note also that if you are using the Provider for Google Calendar, you must update it to version 0.16. If you do not get the new version via automatic updates, please download it here from addons.mozilla.org.