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October 28, 2009

SeaMonkey 2 contributor interviews: Mnyromyr

It's time for the third in a series of interviews with SeaMonkey 2.0 contributors, obviously nicknames around here can be somewhat cryptic - our mail/news owner shows that off pretty well and goes by "Mnyromyr" on IRC:

Who are you?

My real name is Karsten Düsterloh.
Since nobody without a German language background can pronounce that properly, I'm usually known as Mnyromyr, though. (Which noone pronounces correctly either - there's true parity here! *g*).

I'm living in the outskirts of the Ruhr Area, Germany, where I was also born in the early '70s. Technically speaking I'm a mathematician, but in reality I'm working as software developer at a small ISP. Occasionally, I write articles on Mozilla topics.

When time permits, I'm an active carom billiards player, albeit of limited success (average of about 3.0, for Those Who Know™). I'm also fan and collector of science fiction novels. Yes, real, printed *books*, thousands of them. ;-)

How did you become a SeaMonkey contributor?

When I entered university in the early '90s, the internet wasn't that compelling. WAIS wasn't any more interesting than your usual text adventure, and you were content getting a mail every other week. And beating up emacs to deal with newsgroups isn't much fun either.

A while later, the chair in mathematics got shiny new Sun SPARC workstations, with Netscape 1.1 ... Done, end of story. ;-)

Well, actually, I followed the Netscape trail up until the end, this time on Windows (Trumpet Winsock, anyone?), but in parallel watched Mozilla's early steps until I made it my primary browser with milestone M<some_two_digits>. Sadly, Mozilla mail part wasn't usable until about Mozilla 0.6, hence Netscape 4.x had lots of time for pouting - .snm is pronounced c-r-a-s-h-i-n-g-_-h-e-l-l!

Mozilla became stable, but MailNews still stalled. Filed my first bug (96623) which got duped almost instantly. People were writing extensions to patch up the shortcomings, notably the Message ID Finder, so why can't I? Thus, at the end of 2002, I published the first beta of Mnenhy to customize a mail's header display.

When Mozilla began waffling about letting the suite die in favour of some boring browser-only thingy, I was *really* irked, so I took part in saving the lizard...

What notable contribution did you make to SeaMonkey 2.0?

The most *visible* one for sure is tabmail, the new-old tabbed MailNews user interface. Stuff like the preferences dialog backend or the SeaMonkey/Thunderbird source code disentanglement should be virtually invisible to users anyway, just as many patches and reviews ...

How can users give something back to you?

You could send me postcards, especially if you're not from Germany. The Mnenhy contact page has details. ;-)

Why, in your eyes, should people use SeaMonkey 2.0?

Well, it's the best SeaMonkey ever, of course!

Seriously, if you like to handle all your daily internet life - mail, news, RSS, browsing, IRC - in a smooth, integrated workflow with today's technology, SeaMonkey 2.0 is for you!
Even more, if you're a (web) developer, SeaMonkey comes with useful tools like a JavaScript debugger and DOM inspector already installed...
Not to mention that you don't need to learn your whereabouts in a gazillion different programs, it's all under the same hood.
And it's free. And open. Customizable. Get involved! Now! *jingle* ;-)

What next step do you see for SeaMonkey, and what would you like to happen in the Mozilla and SeaMonkey projects?

SeaMonkey's main strength is its integrated nature, we should boost that even more. The upcoming collaboration with the KompoZer project is a good example.

Personally, I see MailNews as the key component here, the communication heart of future internet live. Here you stay in touch with family, friends, peers and collegues, leisure and business. Write mails, read news, chat, plan your schedule, browse the net.

In other words: We need a calendar (again). We need widespread mail encryption. We need MailNews bookmarks. We need instant messaging and other ways of communication as they come along.

All these aren't bloaty killer features, most of the technical backend stuff is there already anyway, waiting to be exploited ...

Posted by KaiRo at 5:00 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2009

SeaMonkey 2.0 - The Modern Internet Suite is Here!

The SeaMonkey project at Mozilla is excited to release its completely refurbished next generation of the all-in one Internet suite today: SeaMonkey 2.0, now available for free download, melds the ideas behind Netscape Communicator with the modern platform of Firefox 3.5 to create one of the most compelling open source products for advanced Internet users.

The combination of an Internet browser, email & newsgroup client, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tools, that has already established a wide user base in its previous incarnations, has been rebuilt on top of the modern Mozilla platform, featuring world-class add-on management among other things. In addition, it has been improved with feed support (including an RSS and Atom feed reader in the mail component), a modern look, restoration of browser tabs and windows after crashes or restarts, tabbed mail, automated updates, smart history search from the location bar, faster JavaScript, HTML5 features (for example video and downloadable fonts), and even support for the Lightning calendar add-on (which will issue a beta for installation on SeaMonkey 2.0 in the next few weeks).

The Release Notes feature more in-depth lists of the improvements and known issues with the new version as well as installation requirements and instructions. Find even more information on SeaMonkey 2.0 and the SeaMonkey project at seamonkey-project.org!

Posted by KaiRo at 3:30 AM | Comments (9)

October 21, 2009

SeaMonkey 2 contributor interviews: Ratty

Here's the second installment of a series of interviews with SeaMonkey 2.0 contributors, let's hand over the stage to someone known as "Ratty" on IRC:

Who are you?

James Bolivar DiGriz, aka "Slippery Jim", aka The Stainless Steel Rat. Criminal Mastermind.

Or perhaps not. Let's try again.

Name: Philip Chee.

Where from: I live in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Daytime work: Currently I'm a self-unemployed IT consultant but previously I was the head of the IT department of a manufacturing company. I have ten years experience installing and managing Netware and Solaris servers, Oracle databases, and Oracle Financials. The most notable thing I did as part of that job I think was writing a two way interface between an Oracle Financials installation and an instance of the Maximo plant maintenence system entirely in PL/SQL.

Other notable things: I've been involved in science fiction fandom since the early 1980s and have been to several worldcons including Conspiracy '87 held at the Brighton Metropole (which at that time was run by the "Manager from Hell"). I plan to be at the Melbourne worldcon in 2010. See you there Sander!

How did you become a SeaMonkey contributor?

I started as a Flashblock contributor at the time when the current developers had given up support for the then Mozilla Suite. I revived support for the Suite and then continued making sure that Flashblock ran on the latest versions of SeaMonkey. Eventually I became the project owner.

As time progressed more and more extension developers were abandoning support for the Mozilla Suite or just writing extensions solely for Firefox. I became increasingly irritated that extensions that I really wanted to use only ran on Firefox. In particular there were two extensions that I wanted to use, Dev Boi and Scrapbook, but I had to start Firefox everytime I wanted to use them. So I set out to port the extensions I needed to SeaMonkey. Early on I wrote xSidebar for SeaMonkey to implement a minimal Firefox API compatibility layer to make it easier for me to port Firefox extensions. At first I was only doing extensions that I personally wanted but early on I started an extension porting service whereby SeaMonkey users would request extensions to be ported and this proved amazingly popular. To date I've ported more than a hundred Firefox and Thunderbird extensions to SeaMonkey. This gave me a unique insight into the API differences between Firefox and SeaMonkey and led Chris Thomas (CTho) to invite me to join #seamonkey. Incidentally CTho was convinced that "Jim diGriz" was my real identity and that "Phil Chee" was just an online pseudonym. He took some unconvincing :D .

What notable contribution did you make to SeaMonkey 2.0?

Implementing customizable toolbars in SeaMonkey which at that time was one of the major UI advantages that Firefox had over SeaMonkey.

How can users give something back to you?

I've turned on the "Contributions" button on the Flashblock page at addons.mozilla.org. Contributions happily accepted.

Why, in your eyes, should people use SeaMonkey 2.0?

SeaMonkey 2.0 is the latest iteration of the internet suite and contains the latest advances in Mozilla technologies. Unlike Firefox, SeaMonkey is aimed at power users and as such is more configurable out of the box in comparison.

What next step do you see for SeaMonkey, and what would you like to happen in the Mozilla and SeaMonkey projects?

To quote Buzz Lightyear: To Infinity and Beyond!

Posted by KaiRo at 5:00 AM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2009

Tabby!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
SeaMonkey has tabs now!

Wait, you'll say, but it already had since the very beginning?

Well, not quite. SeaMonkey had some tabs, but only in the browser and in certain dialogs. Now, you can let your productivity run free in MailNews as well!

Wait again, but I don't see any tabs there?

Currently, MailNews tabs (mostly) adhere to their browser counterpart's settings¹, hence the tabstrip is hidden if there's just one tab. And this first tab is just your default MailNews layout.

Now, let's do a little carpet ride, nosing under the new hood.

Imagine we're in your Inbox and we find some new mails by your granddad and your new girl friend. Certainly, you'll want to read them both, but like other strange people you're weak in reading two letters at the very same time, hence you open granddad in a background tab and start business with the serious stuff.

I do what? How?

Everywhere, where you could open a new message window in older versions of SeaMonkey, you can now open the message in a new tab. For instance, right-click an entry in the thread pane and choose "Open in New Tab". Or just do a middleclick, if you have your browser tabs configured to open new tabs on that. If you also have chosen to open new browser tabs in the background, new MailNews tabs will adhere to it as well, else the new tab will come up in front.

The most visible change with such "message tabs" is their layout, which basically resembles the standalone message window. No folderpane, no threadpane, just the pure message for your enjoyment. ;-)

Hm, your girl friend is relating to something she wrote a while ago. That mail should still be in the Inbox, you say? Just hit Shift-F8 to make the threadpane appear again, type her name into the search field, and open the old mail via the thread pane context menu! F8 (toggle messagepane) and F9 (toggle folderpane) will work as they used to, as does the "View → Layout" menu or clicking the splitter grippies. In fact, the only difference between "message tabs" and normal "folder tabs" is the initial ad-hoc layout change. And of course, switching between tabs will remember your last layout state.

Anyway, that girl deserves a reply, but first let's print the picture she sent. So, wait, huh, the printer button is gone from the main window and the preference panel hasn't it anymore either?

Introducing customizable toolbars:

If you right-click toolbars in MailNews, you can open a customization dialog now. Drag the printer button from the palette back onto the toolbar and that's it!

For some obscure reason, the Compose button is still on the main toolbar by default, but now, like many of his colleagues, it has a dropdown menu as well, so you can choose between the HTML and the plaintext editor.

Okay, printing done, reply written, what's next? Ah, yes, granddad's still waiting to be read in tab one. And he has news to tell — he's found the SeaMonkey blog RSS feed! Let's just add that feed URL to your MailNews feed account and move on.

Good joke, but MailNews is just, huh, mail and newsgroups ...

Ah, wrong again, dear reader!

From the main menu, choose "Edit → MailNews Account Settings" and click the "Add Account" button. Select "Blogs & News Feeds" as the account type and choose a suitable account name. Back in the main window, you'll find a new account with the standard RSS symbol. Open the subscribe dialog from the new account's context menu and add <http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/seamonkey/index.rdf> as your new feed.

Done!

Mmh, the Great Old One relates to a newsgroup thread, thus we're in need of a second folder tab: right-click the newsgroup and choose "Open in New Tab" ... And given that this is one of your most read newsgroups, it's time to drag it into the pole position of that account.

Although ... As you remember (I hope!), there was another post in another newsgroup, which would answer granddad's question profoundly. Thus, we clone the current folder tab by hitting Ctrl+T (or "File → New → Duplicate Tab" or doubleclicking the folder, if browser.tabs.opentabfor.doubleclick is set to true).

But Ctrl+T is Get New Messages!

Sorry, but no. For consistency's sake, we made Ctrl+T open new tabs both in browser and MailNews. Downloading new mail is now Ctrl+D/Ctrl+Shift+D.

Phew, please, just close the window, I'm done...

"This messenger window has 4 tabs open. Do you want to close it and all its tabs?" ;-)


So much for now from SeaMonkey MailNews 2.0 land; stay tuned² ...



¹ This will change, see bug 514476.
² Thou Shalt Smite Lightning Onto The Unbelievers?

Posted by Mnyromyr at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2009

SeaMonkey 2 contributor interviews: Neil

Starting with this post, the SeaMonkey blog will run a weekly series of interviews with SeaMonkey 2.0 contributors - and yes, we have enough people in our team to be running one interview every week for a few months!
This series should highlight our great team of contributors and our very vivid community - and get you to know them a bit better. Our source code module owner, Neil Rashbrook gets the privilege to start this off today:

Who are you? (Name? Where from? Roughly how old? Daytime work? Other notable things?)

I'm Neil, I'm from Stevenage in England, and I'm the wrong side of 40. My job mainly involves supporting small business networks. Outside of my job I enjoy playing chess, but I only have a BCF rating of 132, so no international matches for me (yet)! I can play the viola and piano (not simultaneously obviously) and I'm also a keen church bell-ringer (but again, not as keen as some!)

How did you become a SeaMonkey contributor?

Back in the good old days of Netscape 4.5, I was looking for an upgrade, and I'd vaguely heard about the Mozilla project, so I looked it up and downloaded M14. Soon I had filed my first duplicate, bug 35000; not a good start, but my bug reporting karma has improved so that now a little over 50% of bugs I reported have been fixed, and that's also less than the number of bugs I've fixed too. At first I stuck to milestones, but then when my then employer upgraded to broadband I would start downloading nightlies. I even had a script to migrate all my local patches from one nightly build to the next. I started contributing using Gerv's PatchMaker, which at the time worked well with nightlies because they didn't mess around with all that preprocessing nonsense. Later on I gained access to a Linux workstation and started making my own builds, then when I got my first home desktop PC (sorry, but my old ZX Spectrum doesn't count) I started building natively on Windows as well as in a Linux VM. Nowadays I cross-compile from SFU to Windows, originally because it used to be faster than MSYS (I've since discovered that extra RAM helps MSYS more than SFU), but still because I can hard-link my chrome, so that I get instant results from edits (obviously my Linux VM uses symlinked chrome, which is even better).

What notable contribution did you make to SeaMonkey 2.0?

Hmm, well by patch size that appears to be bug 484484 (and that's not even a binary diff). Of course I've patched shared backend files too; bug 436051 wins there. But on the UI side, my most notable contribution would be making XPFE autocomplete work with satchel (form fill) and Places. And then there are the reviews... I've apparently reviewed over 3000 bugs in total; I don't know how many of those are just for SeaMonkey 2.

How can users give something back to you? (perhaps Amazon wishlist, etc.?)

I'd love to have a girlfriend, but no used ones, please!

Why, in your eyes, should people use SeaMonkey 2.0?

Because it's even better than SeaMonkey 1.1.18!

What next step do you see for SeaMonkey, and what would you like to happen in the Mozilla and SeaMonkey projects?

I think the next step for SeaMonkey is to try and pull in some features that sadly missed 2.0 as well as pick up on the new Gecko features that are landing. As for the future, it's unfortunate that Editor is showing its age and could really do with some updates.

Posted by KaiRo at 5:00 AM | Comments (4)

October 10, 2009

SeaMonkey 2.0 Release Candidate 1

SeaMonkey 2.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available for free download on the SeaMonkey website. We encourage testers to get involved in discussing and reporting problems as well as further improving the product.

Posted by KaiRo at 9:48 AM | Comments (0)