Our Menu has Changed…

In an effort to better integrate into Thunderbird and also to clean up some very evil workarounds we have reworked the Menu Structure of Lightning. Work on this was completed yesterday in bug 456385.

Previously, we switched the contents of the whole menu bar when changing from mail mode to calendar or task mode. Aside from the fact that this forced us to use very heavy workarounds for certain platform-specific bugs, this only made sense for 0.9, since the modes were very dedicated. I believe this was also a nightmare with regard to accessibility.

To fit better with the new tabbing mechanism available in the Thunderbird 3 betas, we changed this mode switching logic to show each mode in a tab. It looked a bit awkward that the menus change, just because you switched to a different tab.

Therefore we aimed at an integrated solution that has a fixed menu for manipulating events and tasks, and sorted our other menu items into the existing menus. Aside from that, the idea is to provide buttons and other actionable controls right in context – the user shouldn’t have to travel far to do what he wants to do.

Please take a look at our latest nightlies together with Thunderbird 3 beta 2 or later to get a feel for the new menus and to find out if there are any missing pieces.


  1. Great job on the continued progress. Can I offer a suggestion? It seems that the calendar doesn’t become a tab until you first click on the calendar icon. Why not make it a tab by default? With that button on the top right it can be difficult to see/find for users.

  2. Munroe,
    we have been exploring different ways of making calendar more visible, one of which is the “minibar” (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=464783). Aside from that, we hope that Thunderbird will move forward on its session restore feature, so that once the user has opened the calendar tab, he doesn’t need to do so every time.
    It will probably not be trivial to have the tab open the first time the app started, because if Thunderbird is distributed with Lightning and you start it the first time, you will have the same situation. I’m not sure you’d want calendar to be the first thing to see when you download Thunderbird+Lightning.

  3. Does it mean that in the end there will be a Thunderbird installation which by default includes Lightning? This would be great news, thought that this idea was dropped for the upcoming TB3 release…

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    Mordan than another
    what makes your heart beat so
    Not even your own mother
    Can Known it as I know
    Who broke my heart for him
    when the wild thought
    that he denies
    and has forgot
    set All his blood astir