A new challenger has appeared!

I have chosen my project for OSD600 and it is the Thunderbird Picture Preview. My current plan on how to tackle such a project is as followed…

  1. Check the mail if there is an attachment
  2. Filter the list of attachments to only images (jpg, png, etc.)
  3. Put a button or something to start the picture preview (got to see how the chrome is laid out in TB)
  4. Display the image (most likely centered in the middle of the screen, maybe a new “window”) with slide show like abilities. (which is the main bulk of the extension and of course will be the most difficult part)

Now on to the difficulties…

  1. I am not a heavy Thunderbird user. I use TB just to grab my email, archive it locally, read it, send emails on occasion (which I don’t do often). I know that is like the bulk of what an email client does but like I don’t touch any of the stuff in TB. I don’t go installing extensions like mad (unlike Firefox). The only extensions I have on TB are webmail extensions to grab from my hotmail, live, etc.
  2. This is my first time to work on an extension. No time like the present to get started 🙂
  3. Also my first time working on a HUGE code base that I barely understand on. Not like other courses where you build a program from scratch (which is easy since you KNOW the WHOLE program).
  4. I am no Javascript expert.
  5. I don’t get email with attachments, let alone ones with pictures. As I don’t use email to communicate between friends and family, I actually IM, meet up with them or use other means to communicate.

Not to be discouraged though. I have my peers, teachers like Chris and Dave and the community of Mozilla to help me out! Additionally I have already got my feet wet on certain aspects of Mozilla code base as I had to modify Firefox for my workplace. I have also started to look into some extensions as a base to work on like Attachment Extractor as it already grabs the attachments of the email (which is my 1st part to do in my list).

And so the battle begins…

Zlined – Damn shared IPs :/

Well I haven’t been able to connect to my course’s IRC channel since last night as I been zlined. My ISP generally resets our IPs every so often, forcing a reconnect and a new IP. Well I am must of gotten one from a “zombie” computer that is in the AHBL block lists.

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I already submitted a removal request and finally got out of the list but still not able to get in. Guess it will take a while till they update their block lists.

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EDIT: Yeah! I was removed 🙂 And for your information, the block lists get updated every 24 hours.

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My first bug and what to choose

I reported my first “bug” in Firefox 3b2. It is a very simple issue. The focus is lost when deleting from the new auto-complete. I think I can even fix if I wanted to. Have a look at the bug if you like over here.

We went through the project list yesterday and I still don’t know what to choose. I am thinking maybe the Thunderbird resize image or the Thunderbird slideshow might be good. I also like the idea Radovan pointed out on the dictionaries. As Firefox currently have no easy way to handle multiple dictionaries like one way is maybe an auto-detection of the current language of the website. Good for people that go to an English forum site (where you have type in english) then go to another forum that like say in Japanese (where you have to type in Japanese). Also their is no easy way to set, manage and add the dictionaries. Currently the only way is to go to a text box, right click then go to Languages or go through the about:config. Don’t know why there couldn’t be a setting under Add-Ons or in the Options for the dictionaries.

Into Open Source

Well after finally reading “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” and watching “Revolution OS“, it is time for my short ramblings on it.

The cathedral and the bazaar is an nice analogy. For a cathedral, it is built by on a design by certain people for the users. The designers try to model it what they “think” is best for the users but doesn’t mean it is ;). I think good examples of such is Office 2007 and IE7 where they drastically changed the UI (which IMO should only be done when absolutely necessary). I think they must of only got input from a specific group of people or targeting a specific type of people. Really sucks for the people who are used to the old style (Office 2003) like me. For a bazaar, ideas are discussed and shared among people. What makes it kinda better (and easier) is the programmers are generally the users itself. And if people want something different (like change in UI like Office’s “ribbon” UI), they can just fork from the main program and make one that pleases them. That’s what great about it. Because really a program is only good if it is useful for you.

All the points in the article are ones that myself as a programmer agree with. I really agree with Point 5 “When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor”. Because even if the original author of the program no longer uses the program, generally there is still a user base out there that still uses it. One of example is an old program that I use called hkSFV. It is basically a program to make hashes of files. Unfortunately it is severely out of date, filled with bugs and for me, I cannot find a good replacement. It is simple and does the job (without the use of “wizards” like the other programs I tried). Really wished the author open sourced it because I would of gladly taken it and help improve it.