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Improvements to extension docs for Thunderbird 3 release



We need to provide better documentation so that people can write extensions for Thunderbird. Currently, there are documents in many locations, of questionable relevance and accuracy. With this project, we will create a document set on that will be the primary reference. The document structure will be reorganized; existing docs will be audited, updated and edited; new docs will be created to show developers how to do common tasks. (Caveat: we will prioritize a small list of common tasks and do these, and possibly create a call-to-action / template that contributors can use to add additional "how to" docs.)


April 16: finish plan (this document); submit for feedback from internal folks
April 23/24: incorporate feedback; submit for feedback from community
...others TBD...
... final by TB 3.0 release ...


  • April 16: first draft
  • April 22: incorporate feedback from Andrew Sutherland, Sheppy and DavidBienvenu
  • April 23: add detailed gloda plan from Andrew Sutherland; add notes from Mark Banner; break some content out into separate linked files


  1. <strike>(jen) Review existing docs</strike>
  2. <strike>(jen) Propose better structure / deployment</strike>
  3. <strike>(MoMo) Feedback (identify gaps; prioritize how-tos)</strike>
  4. <strike>(jen) Update plan to incorporate feedback</strike> (<strike>Andrew Sutherland, Sheppy, David Bienvenu,</strike> Dan Mosedale, <strike>Standard8</strike>, David Ascher, Bryan Clark) (JZ: mostly done; small bits still trickling in and some conversations ongoing; moving on)
  5. (community) Feedback
  6. (jen) Update plan to incorporate community feedback
  7. (jen / MoMo) Technically validate existing articles; figure out what needs to be updated
  8. (jen / MoMo) Write new articles to fill prioritized gaps
  9. (jen / MoMo) Update existing articles
  10. (jen) Implement new structure on extensions page
  11. (jen) Edit the whole shebang
  12. (jen) Add comments / notices to articles that talk about TB extensions on Mozillazine, various blogs, PlanetMoz, etc, pointing to the updated docs on MDC
  13. (jen) Optimize for search result positioning (stumble?)
  14. (jen) Figure out call-to-action to encourage community contributions of how-tos
  15. (jen) Wag tail

Site modifications

Main Page (

Trivial modifications:

  • change "Extensions" page to "Add-ons"? (to standardize terminology) (Or is this not really a problem?)
  • standardize on "addons" or "add-ons"? (I know, I know...trivia) (already in style guide?)

Main Page | Extensions (

<strike>Reorganize page to look like </strike><strike>this mockup</strike><strike>.</strike> Organize the article list into relevant sub-groups. Link to the items in the "General" section from the main page, and make sub-pages for Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey.


I think there are enough similarities between Firefox and Thunderbird that the following documents should be "generic" - that is, a single document should cover the topic for both Firefox and Thunderbird (with application-specific sections as necessary).

  • (review / make generic) Setting up development environment
  • (review / make generic) Packaging
  • (review / make generic) Installing extension ( -> Installing / Uninstalling extensions) (do we have existing uninstalling docs somewhere?) (ES: note that Firefox can install add-ons directly from the AMO web site, while Thunderbird needs to either download them using a browser then drag them in or (I think) use the add-on manager window to download and install them.) (DB: The main difference is that you have to add app specific version information to your install rdf file.) (specs for new installation method:
  • (review / make generic) Submitting an add-on to AMO
  • (review / make generic) Extension Frequently Asked Questions


(only slight title changes to indicate that these articles are specific to Firefox)

  • Firefox addons developer guide
  • Creating Custom Firefox Extensions with the Mozilla Build System
  • Building an Extension ( -> Building a Firefox extension)
  • Updating extensions for Firefox 3
  • Updating extensions for Firefox 3.5
  • Code snippets ( -> Firefox code snippets)



(no changes)

  • Updating extensions for SeaMonkey 2.0


Tidy up our own pages; point to new / reworked stuff:

Migrate from to

 New in TB 3.0

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: jenzed
 Last updated by: jenzed,