Jun 12

Lightning 1.5 Released

We are happy to announce that Lightning 1.5 has been released, compatible with Thunderbird 13 and SeaMonkey 2.10.

This version fixes an issue that caused some events not to appear in the views due to invalid data in local calendars.

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

For those testing development builds, we are currently working on some issues preventing new nightly builds of Lighting 1.7 and 1.8 on Windows and Mac. Testers are encouraged to use development builds of Lightning 1.6 in the mean time.

Apr 12

Lightning 1.4b3 released, fixes critical issues with 1.4b2

For those of you using Thunderbird 12 betas with Lightning and having trouble with 1.4b2 (calendar views empty, lots of errors in the error console), please do upgrade to Lightning 1.4b3. This error shows up with certain locales, that were wrongfully included in 1.4b2 but not ready for production yet. The situation is described in more detail in bug 736717.

For those of you using the Provider for Google Calendar, this beta release (yes, in Lightning, not in the provider) also fixes an issue that causes events in secondary calendars to be moved to the primary calendar on edit.

The final Lightning 1.4 as well as a new Provider for Google Calendar release is due on May 1st, 2012 and will include mentioned fixes, in addition to numerous other bugs.

Mar 12

Lightning 1.3 Released

I am happy to announce, that Lightning 1.3 has been released. This build is compatible only to Thunderbird 11 and Seamonkey 2.8. The most prominent features in this release are:

  •  Support for Apple iCloud and Chandler servers improved
  • Support for high contrast themes (needs to be enabled in the preferences)
  • New toolbar to adapt to Thunderbird’s Tabs-on-Top

A full listing of bugs fixed is available here. Contributed builds, for example for Solaris are available here.

Jan 12

Lightning 1.1.1 fixes a critical error on Windows XP

Due to a critical issue that some Windows XP users are experiencing, we have decided to release Lightning 1.1.1, an intermediate release compatible with Thunderbird 9/Seamonkey 2.6. We recommend all users to upgrade, especially those who cannot see their calendar data and are getting an error console message “Failed to load native module at path …calbasecomps.dll”.

You can get the builds on addons.mozilla.org, as always.

Nov 11

Update on Lightning usage numbers

It’s been over a year since we last posted about the current state of Lightning usage. Since that day Thunderbird 5, 6, 7 and 8 have been released with their Lightning counterparts 1.0 beta4, 1.0 beta 5, 1.0 beta7 and finally Lightning 1.0.

Now it’s time to look at things again and I’m happy to report, that Lightning is more popular as ever before with nearly 30% more daily users than one year before. Right now we average nearly 1,400,000 users each day during the workweek and about 775,000 users on the weekends, which brings to more than 1,200,000 users on average over the course of a week.

Most of our users (64.2%) are now on Thunderbird 8. Most of the rest still uses Thunderbird 3.1 (15.0%) and Thunderbird 7 (13.4%). The remainder (7.4%) is mostly distributed to Thunderbird 2 (still at 2.3%), Thunderbird 6 (2.6%), Thunderbird 5 (1.0%) and other installations (other Thunderbird releases, SeaMonkey and Firefox) at 1.5%.

Nov 11

Lightning 1.0 is here!

So, this is it! My early birthday present, Lightning 1.0, has finally been released. For quite some time now we have had so-called “beta” releases, that were in no way different to our other releases. With Lightning 1.0 we can finally say good bye to the betas and hello to exciting new releases!

When planning for this release, we mainly focused on rounding off any sharp edges you may find in Lightning. Just as an example, you can now press Escape to cancel creating an event via dragging. Sounds like a simple, intuitive feature that should have been there all along? You bet! There is one exception though, Lightning now supports full offline editing using the cache feature you can find in the calendar properties. This great big feature has been in the works during the past Google Summer of Code and has now finally made it into the release.

As always, you can get the latest release from addons.mozilla.org. If you are using the Provider for Google Calendar, make sure to upgrade too. Please note that Lightning 1.0 is compatible to Thunderbird 8, which is also being released today.

So, whats happening next? I will be gathering some ideas during the upcoming EU MozCamp 2011 and will present you my plans shortly after. If you have any suggestions, please do use the newsgroups to get in touch.

Oct 11

Lightning 1.0rc2 is available, with full offline support

I’d like to present you with Lightning 1.0rc2. You can find it at its new location on the addons.mozilla.org beta channel (If you still get 1.0rc1, then please try again in a few hours when the page cache has been updated).

There is a big new feature in this release which needs your testing. Thanks to the hard work of Mohit, who has joined us through the recent Google Summer of Code, we have extended the cache with full offline support, which means you can write your events while in offline mode. If you are using a CalDAV calendar, it will even retry events that failed.

If you encounter any issues, please file a bug at bugzilla.mozilla.org.

Note, if you are using the cache with the Provider for Google Calendar, please stay tuned. I will soon post a development version of the provider containing a patch that corrects offline support.

Sep 11

Lightning 1.0b7 released

I am happy to present you Lightning 1.0b7, our stable release compatible with Thunderbird 7. This is the first release in a long time that has been created using release automation. While it took a bit longer to set up this time, we hope that its very easy to produce subsequent builds with it, leaving more time for actual coding instead of release engineering work.

Lightning 1.0b7 contains 39 fixes to the last release, which was two months back. You can find a full list of changes here.

You can get the release from addons.mozilla.org for all platforms.

Note this is the last release before Lightning 1.0, which is due in 6 weeks, so please be sure to report all bugs you find on our bugtracker at bugzilla.mozilla.org (please search before you file a bug).

If you are using a localized version, please also report localization errors in the respective locale here.

A short note on the release process for 1.0, we will be releasing a number of release candidates that will become the final builds. I’ll do an extra blog post on this soon.

Sep 11

Plans for the next release

Plans for the next release

Its about time to give you an update on what is planned for the next release. As you may have noticed, we have had a lot of trouble calling our releases “beta”. For one thing, some users and especially corporate users are cautious when they read beta and don’t see that it has the same quality as all our other releases. Aside from that we also had trouble with uploading releases to addons.mozilla.org (they are automatically marked beta and require admin intervention to make them public for everyone) and we are constantly in need of new sub-version numbers. For example, if we want to release a matching build for Thunderbird 7.0b2, what do we call it? Lightning 1.0 beta 7 beta 1? Thats too much, do you agree?

To relieve that issue we’re going to bite the bullet and call either our next release or the one after 1.0. Afterwards we can newly decide on version numbers and I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not going to go into the version number trap again. If at some point the next available version number is 2.0, then that’s the way it is.

What this means for Localizers?

We have taken great care to avoid patches with string changes for the next release. Therefore as it is right now, if you have all strings translated for Lightning 1.0b5, then you are good to go for the next release.

According to the l10n dashboard, there are 13 locales with missing strings. This information is quite old so a lot may have changed in between, but it would be splendid if all of the remaining locales could have their strings translated. I will be contacting the localizers personally to make sure things progress

Update: Likely the l10n builds are not working yet. I’ll also post here and in mozilla.dev.l10n when that is fixed!

What this means for you?

For you? Yes, for you! We need help testing Lightning to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises in the next two weeks. Now you’ll surely want to know where to get a build compatible with Thunderbird 7.0 Betas. Unfortunately I must admit, this is not quite ready yet. Our goal is to automate the release process a bit more, otherwise at least a day of my time is taken just for producing a full set of release (candidate) builds. It may easily happen that a detail is forgotten, which will only make the process more painful.

So what to do in the meantime? Well you have two options. First of all you could test Thunderbird 8 Prerelease with Lightning 1.0b8pre. This may be a different Thunderbird version, but the Lightning code is the same between those versions.

Then we have the first set of test builds for Thunderbird 7 beta and Lightning 1.0b7. These builds might have their quirks since not all parts of release automation went well. Please stay tuned, I’ll be posting an update when its advisable to move from testing with Thunderbird 8 to Thunderbird 7.


We need you now more than ever to make sure Lightning 1.0 is a success. This version will likely get more PR than the previous versions so it would be a pity if it weren’t in good shape or needs to be skipped for an urgent fix. I’m counting on you!

Aug 11

Lightning 1.0b5 released

As you’ve likely already noted, Lightning 1.0b5 was released on July 29th. It fixes some urgent issues that showed up during the 1.0b4 release, so everyone is strongly advised to update! Here’s a list of the most important changes:

  • Remote calendar with webcal:// location not working
  • Thunderbird Does Not Process Meeting Invites from Outlook, Google Calendar
  • Startup crash [@ cal::UTC()]
  • wcap not working since TB5 and Lightning 1.0b4rc2
  • Snoozing/Dismissing one event on alarm popup closes entire window
  • Event invitation not sent out when Outlook compatiblity is checked

If you are experiencing issues (Lightning not installing or the calendar not working at all), I’d suggest uninstalling Lightning and then doing a fresh install. Your calendar data will be kept intact, as it is contained in your profile.

We have now switched the nightly builds from comm-miramar to comm-aurora, I will post more information on this switch soon.