STEEL for stronger, easier Thunderbird extensions

Stainless? Steel Balls by earthwatcher CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 GenericJoey Minta, announced today the start of a new project to develop a library for Thunderbird for easier extension development.

The project, dubbed STEEL aims to deliver for Thunderbird what FUEL will do for Firefox 3: an easier way for extension developers to access and program common application components like bookmarks, windows, tabs, events, storage and preferences. In the Thunderbird’s case this could mean accounts, mailboxes, subscriptions, newsgroup, address books, etc.

Where it usually requires learning a specific syntax to access these components, FUEL and, in the future, STEEL will mask these complexity so developers can focus on providing the functionality they want to add. Additionally, it could help ensure the most efficient way to perform certain tasks reducing possibilities of memory leaks and security vulnerabilities.

David Ascher, CEO of currently in formation Mozilla communications subsidiary shared his enthusiasm with this development as it aligns with the strategy of strengthening Thunderbird extension ecosystem.

For the record, while FUEL is an acronym for Firefox User Extension Library, don’t break your mind trying to expand STEEL. According to Joey Minta it came out “after spending about 5 minutes staring at the back of the seat in front of me on a holiday flight”.

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