Feb 13

Lightning 1.9.1 Release Candidate Available

We are happy to announce that a Release Candidate for Lightning version 1.9.1 is now available for testing here. For those using linux, please use the build in the linux/ folder rather than the platform-specific folders. Windows users can find their builds in the “unsigned” folder.

This version fixes an issue that prevents some events from being modified and some reminders from being dismissed in CalDAV calendars with Offline Support enabled – those affected are encouraged to test this build. If you have seen an error message with “this.mItemInfoCache[aNewItem.id] is undefined”, this is you! Be sure to reset your cache, by unchecking the “Offline Support” checkbox, restarting, then checking it again.

The full list of changes in this version can be found here.

It is really important that you test this pre-release, as it will become the next release for Thunderbird 17. There is no additional beta phase, this is it! If you are using Thunderbird 17, please give it a try and let us know if you encounter any errors.

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.

Oct 12

Having trouble with Lightning 1.8 ?

I have heard a few reports that calendars are not showing after upgrading to Lightning 1.8. I’d really like to get to the root of the problem and find out if this a code regression or something different. If you are having trouble please comment with the following information:

  • Make sure you are using the right version combination: Lightning 1.8 is compatible to Thunderbird 16.
  • Do you have any other addons installed? I’ve heard about some trouble with the “Calendar Tweaks” extension for example.
  • Open Tools → Error Console and tell me about any error messages you see there
  • Are any calendars no longer in the calendar list on the left side?
  • What kinds of calendars do you have? Local? CalDAV? Google Calendar via the Provider? Other?
  • If you are using the Provider for Google Calendar, what version do you have installed?

Update, with a few common issues:

  • If you are using the Calendar Tweaks Extension, make sure to update to version 4.3.
  • If you are using Lightning 1.8 and the Provider for Google Calendar, please make sure you are using Provider version 0.17
  • If you have a virus scanner that quarantines files, please make sure calbasecomps.dll is not quarantined. Reinstalling Lightning might help.

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!

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.


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.

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.

Jul 12

Please Test: Print Support in Lightning 1.7b3

Hello Folks, I have a favor to ask.

Update 3: Lightning 1.7b2 contained an error related to printing that has been fixed in 1.7b3, which I have uploaded on 2012-07-29. Please update before testing!

Among some other things, print support has been broken in the nightly builds since about May, when Mozilla did some changes in the XPConnect layer. The effect of these changes were that we can no longer use e4x, a standard to make use of XML directly in Javascript. I have taken care of most of the fixes, but the one bug that has been outstanding a bit longer was the one to fix print support.

I took the chance to revamp the internals of the print layouts to make it easier to extend them. This opens up more possibilities to extend print support in an extension. The problem is now that we needed to land this directly on the beta channel so that print support is not broken in the 1.7 release.

I have just uploaded a new beta containing the patch, so please take a moment to test it with the Thunderbird 15 beta. These areas need testing:

  • All print layouts: List View, Monthly Grid, Weekly Planner
  • All combinations of options, i.e tasks and events, only tasks, only events
  • Make sure the (time) labels on the events in the print preview is correct
  • Different kinds of tasks (with start date, with end date, with both)
  • All importers and exporters (ICS export, HTML export, …)

For testing you will need Thunderbird 15 beta and Lightning 1.7b2. For Lightning, you will get automatic updates if you are currently using Lightning 1.7b1 or 1.7b2 If you haven’t downloaded a Lightning beta yet, be sure to open the Developer Channel box at the bottom of the page.

Update: You will also need a new copy of the Provider for Google Calendar, if you are using it. Get it here.

Update 2: Lighting 1.7b2 contains an error related to printing that will not show the print view.


Jul 12

Prospect on Lightnings Future in Light of Thunderbird’s Governance Changes

Many of you will have heard the misinterpreted news that says Thunderbird will no longer be supported. First of all I must concur this is not true. If you are still under this impression please read this great interview between Tristan Nitot from Mozilla and Jb Piacentino, the Managing Director of Thunderbird. Mozilla will continue to support Thunderbird, but new innovations will have to come from the community.

Even if it has not been obvious in the past, it has almost been this way for Lightning since 2009 when many of the external full-time contributors were assigned other projects and could only continue in their free time. Aside from my role as a project manager, we have a few contributions from the community, bringing Lightning forward. Since our contributors also have day jobs this is of course not comparable with full-time work, but we couldn’t have done it without them.

In this early stage of planning Thunderbird’s transition to the community its hard to say what the final effect on Lightning will be. But on the bright side, if the current plan holds that future Thunderbird releases will be based on the same Mozilla Platform version as the ESR Release, this will make our life much easier with regard to Lightning releases. It is much more likely that a Lightning version will be binary compatible to multiple Thunderbird versions, which means the big pain of upgrading that Lightning users might be having when a new Thunderbird version is released will go away.

On the downside, since the core Thunderbird team is now assigned to other projects also, this means they will (understandably) have even less time for Lightning. Key areas include Graphics Design, build configuration and release engineering.

There might also be problems when Thunderbird switches to a later version of the Mozilla Platform (i.e around Thunderbird ESR 24), since Lightning will have to catch up with anything that has changed on the Mozilla Platform between version 17 and 24. This could be a serious undertaking since even if we do patch everything we know of for Lightning to work with Thunderbird 24, its quite likely that there will be regressions which will require out-of-plan releases to fix. Not only does this mean that Lightning developers have to work non-stop during this time, it also causes pain for the users since its possible that they cannot access their calendar data until there is a new release to fix possible regressions.

We are still looking for solutions that could mitigate this, one suggestion that has been made would be to base Thunderbird EarlyBird and Beta on the then-current Mozilla Platform version (i.e 18, 19, …) to allow more testing in advance and therefore distributing the bugfix work more evenly. If you have another idea on this topic, please discuss in the newsgroups, see below.

So what can you do to keep Lightning from taking damage due to these governance changes?

  • Are we pretty yet? What would a dialog be without icons? If you are good in graphics design and are able to create icons, we desperately need you. If you have experience with user interface design and user experience, even better. With your commitment to Lightning and the open source world, you would need to create new icons as they are required. With some UI design experience you can also help out accepting patches that change the UI of Lightning.
  • How is your python fu? Can you make make make our project build (not a typo, think about it! ;-). Build configuration is also an area we could use some help in. Don’t worry, its a lightweight entry: you can start out just reviewing patches that change how Lightning is built, but in the long term you would be helping out by improving our build system.

Of course we always welcome developers in any other area, but these are the most needed due to Thunderbird’s change in plans. Please drop me an email if you would like to help out.

I will soon put up a roadmap where I think Lightning should be going to make it more transparent what is going on, but right now I can tell you this much about my top three priorities:

  • Set up a new calendar website which is easier to navigate and helps the user or new contributor to get the right information quickly.
  • Improve test automation, especially Mozmill test coverage and using jscoverage to measure progress.
  • Replace libical with the javascript implementation I have been working on. This will make it even easier for us to support multiple Thunderbird versions.

I have closed the comments here to avoid discussions in multiple locations, so if you have any questions, please head over to the tb-planning newsgroup (also readonly via Google Groups) and post your question there. I’m looking forward to shaping the future of Lightning with you!

Jun 12

Finally, Windows Nightly Builds are Back!

Hello Folks, we have managed to get all issues out of the way now. You can get Lightning builds for Daily and Earlybird on the Mozilla FTP Servers again. As a bonus, these builds should now auto-update using the addons manager so all you need to do is install them once and then check for updates once in a while.