Sending window distracting and interrupts flow

Bug #810769 reported by Jono Bacon
36
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Mozilla Thunderbird
Confirmed
Medium
thunderbird (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

When sending an email in Thunderbird a small dialog box appears to say the message is being sent and this affects the flow of interacting with your email. In almost every case I move the focus away from that window and go to my INBOX.

My recommendation would for the window to not show and to show this information in the status bar (similar to how it works in Evolution).

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: thunderbird 5.0+build1+nobinonly-0ubuntu5
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-5.6-generic 3.0.0-rc7
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-5-generic i686
Architecture: i386
Date: Thu Jul 14 14:59:20 2011
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Alpha i386 (20110202)
ProcEnviron:
 LANG=en_US.UTF-8
 SHELL=/bin/bash
SourcePackage: thunderbird
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to oneiric on 2011-07-13 (1 days ago)

Revision history for this message
In , Standard8 (mbanner) wrote :

+++ This bug was initially created as a clone of Bug #440794 +++

Sending email should use the offline capabilities (dump the mail in Unsent Folders, schedule a background send), so that the user can move on immediately to the next task.

Bug 440794 has done most of the initial work to get basic support, what is left is to be able to manage failures so that send/copy failures are automatically retried, and only notified to the user after several failures, plus the associated UI updates.

Revision history for this message
In , Jsabash (jsabash) wrote :

Seems to have stopped working in:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.2.2pre) Gecko/20100310 Lanikai/3.1b2pre ID:20100310032818
The message gets placed in the outbox, but never actually sent.

This is just an FYI since I know you are not actively developing this feature at this time.

Revision history for this message
In , Pclough (pclough) wrote :

I'm running Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.8) Gecko/20100227 Thunderbird/3.0.3 and seeing the same phenomenon as Joe Sabash in comment 1. In my case it's emails; I cannot swear they would never get sent, since when I have found some I have always sent them - which works every time.

I don't see a setting "Send in Background, preference mailnews.sendInBackground"

Peter

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

Peter, your issue has nothing to do with this functionality unless you find mailnews.sendInBackground=true in about:config (use options|advanced|etc or ask for help a forum).

And even then, this is only a placeholder tracking bug. You'd want to file a new bug. But first see my posting in .support.thunderbird

Revision history for this message
In , cameleon (el-cameleon-1) wrote :

I have just test mailnews.sendInBackground=true in Lanikai and it works quite ok, but I think that the Activity Manager should display the progress bar, in order to keep a place where the progress statue is available.

Revision history for this message
In , Armond Avanes (armond555) wrote :

Any update on when we'll get this feature?

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Jono Bacon (jonobacon) wrote :
Revision history for this message
Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

Jono,

This is available as a partially implemented feature, described briefly at http://kb.mozillazine.org/Thunderbird_3.0_-_New_Features_and_Changes#Send_in_Background Several people, including myself, have it enabled for a long time.

However, there is a lot of work that remains is https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=511079 - Leverage Offline capabilities to make sending email appear faster (aka Send in Background, preference mailnews.sendInBackground)

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :
Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

(Several people, including myself, have it enabled for a long time.) i.e. we understand it's limitations and it works well enough that we keep it enabled.

Revision history for this message
In , Dbienvenu (dbienvenu) wrote :

One simple fix to the most basic issue (send in background w/ only the compose window open) is to not do a send in background if there are no other windows open, at least on Windows/Linux, because we know that's going to fail, and we don't want the user to think the app has shutdown when it hasn't (and do something like shut their laptop in the middle of the send).

Changed in thunderbird:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
In , Dbienvenu (dbienvenu) wrote :

Created attachment 551136
don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window

This fixes the easiest to reproduce issue, which is having only a compose window open and doing a send. I know you're not crazy about leaving the compose window open, but it's a safe simple fix for things like handling mailto links, and will get us that much closer to turning this on.

Revision history for this message
In , Ludovic-mozilla (ludovic-mozilla) wrote :

*** Bug 673369 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
In , Jonathan Protzenko (jonathan-protzenko) wrote :

Do we have a bug on file for switching, UX-wise, to notification bars instead of modal popups that shout in your face? :) (That would be a nice subtask for the gsoc project proposal.)

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

(In reply to Jonathan Protzenko [:protz] from comment #11)
> Do we have a bug on file for switching, UX-wise, to notification bars
> instead of modal popups that shout in your face? :) (That would be a nice
> subtask for the gsoc project proposal.)

Bug 255233 - Please make dialogs such as "Do you want to send unsent messages?" modeless instead of modal
Bug 564751 - Annoying alert messages coming on top of every others applications

and (some duping needed here)...
Bug 288896 - eliminate modal dialog window, move to activity manager entry, to avoid frequent interruptions by popup saying "Cannot move messages to folder <name> because another operation is in progress" [pop3]
Bug 271589 - password dialog popup accumulate if they are not cancel at once
Bug 724598 - Enhance failure mode on POP3 accounts

and the big monster
Bug 476696 - Activity Manager: Poptarts

Revision history for this message
In , Acelists (acelists) wrote :

standard8, what about the pending review?

Revision history for this message
In , Dbienvenu (dbienvenu) wrote :

Comment on attachment 551136
don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window

pinging for review - this won't affect the mac, and it makes send in background a lot safer to turn on with the other platforms.

Revision history for this message
In , Mkmelin+mozilla (mkmelin+mozilla) wrote :

Comment on attachment 551136
don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window

Review of attachment 551136:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

::: mail/components/compose/content/MsgComposeCommands.js
@@ +2232,5 @@
> .getBoolPref("mailnews.sendInBackground");
> + if (sendInBackground && !Application.platformIsMac) {
> + let windowMediator =
> + Components.classes["@mozilla.org/appshell/window-mediator;1"]
> + .getService(Components.interfaces.nsIWindowMediator);

You can just use Services.wm

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

*** Bug 685056 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
In , David Gessel (dgessel) wrote :

As this bug, despite originally being about improving background sending (important) has become a dumping ground for cleaning up some very annoying problems with the basic UI throwing endless barrages of modal dialogs at users in an attempt to ensure they are as unproductive as possible.

All of the modal dialogs mentioned in comment #12 need to be quashed. A Mulberry-like activity window is more than sufficient for notifications that the user can't do anything about anyway (for example any connection failure of any sort - if your mail isn't coming or going, glance at the activity monitor to find out why). A non-modal poptart window for user intervention (e.g. enter password) seems acceptable, just throw it to the background and make it modeless.

The sort of duplicate 685056 started with:

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:6.0.1) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0.1
Build ID: 20110830092941

Steps to reproduce:

- Queue outgoing messages
- Start a new message
- Get to a good composition flow where thoughts are gelling and words are coming easily.
- Background send attempt times out on SMTP error [happens to me all the time, I'm often connective via VSAT or Really Crappy Connections]
- Dialog box "Send Message Error Sending of message failed. The message could not be sent because the connection to SMTP server mail.myserver.com timed out. Try again or contact your network administrator. OK" steals focus
- Lose train of thought
- Smash keyboard
- While ordering replacement keyboard off ebay, wonder why a dialog box that is merely informing the user of something completely irrelevant insisted on interrupting the user's work flow.

Actual results:

A pointless dialog box stole focus from my composition window, and interrupted my train of thought.

Expected results:

No dialog box should EVER steal focus from my work. There is no point in displaying "for your information only, there's nothing you can do, OK?" dialogs in any way that demands attention, and any such warning should come with a "never show me this annoying warning again" option.

Revision history for this message
In , Standard8 (mbanner) wrote :

Comment on attachment 551136
don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window

I'm sorry that I've taken so long to look at this. I was, like previously mentioned concerned that this is an incomplete patch. However, now I've spent a bit of time on it, I think that even if we have bug 459376 fixed (or something that would effectively fix it) then we'd still want to ensure message send completes on sending with just the compose window open anyway.

So I think this is good to go. I'll do a patch that uses Services.wm as Magnus suggested.

Revision history for this message
In , Standard8 (mbanner) wrote :

Created attachment 677386
[checked in] don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window v2

Updated patch using Services

Revision history for this message
In , Standard8 (mbanner) wrote :

Comment on attachment 677386
[checked in] don't close compose window w/ send in background if last open window v2

https://hg.mozilla.org/comm-central/rev/2c2b7ad3bed3

Revision history for this message
In , Standard8 (mbanner) wrote :

I believe David isn't actively working on this at the moment, so removing the assignee. If folks want to help that would be great - the main priorities would be to fix the bugs this one depends on to reduce the dataloss / messages not sent possibilities that there are now.

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

*** Bug 246865 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
In , Ludovic-mozilla (ludovic-mozilla) wrote :

Removing myslef on all the bugs I'm cced on. Please NI me if you need something on MailNews Core bugs from me.

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

list which may contain some related bugs https://mzl.la/24SIlJ8

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

Outlook does this (so I hear). And postbox. And ... we don't.

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

*** Bug 1684806 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
In , Vseerror (vseerror) wrote :

The "lack of interest" by users is perhaps because most users don't know it's possible to do this. The lack of progress in a decade on the blocking bugs of course doesn't help.

ISTM we only need to fix a couple bugs to make this good enough to send out for wider testing. What do others think?

Perhaps a good starting point is Bug 749654? Bad message in Outbox blocks delivery of remaining messages until dialog is dismissed

Jonathan, how does Send Later deal with these issues? (or can't it?)

Revision history for this message
In , Bugzilla2007 (bugzilla2007) wrote :

(In reply to Wayne Mery (:wsmwk) from comment #27)
> The "lack of interest" by users is perhaps because most users don't know it's possible to do this. The lack of progress in a decade on the blocking bugs of course doesn't help.
>
> ISTM we only need to fix a couple bugs to make this good enough to send out for wider testing. What do others think?

Having this would surely be useful to make us look and feel better.
I'm not sure how much priority it would be worth, maybe I'd prefer to fix even more basic scenarios (e.g. that after saving (downloading) an attachment to your disk, there's zero hint in the UI how to open the target location with your OS file manager, so unless you already know about Ctrl+J, you'll have to start navigating all the way to that attachment in Explorer whereas TB knows exactly where it is).

> Perhaps a good starting point is Bug 749654? Bad message in Outbox blocks delivery of remaining messages until dialog is dismissed.

Bug 749654 is an excellent starting point, that nasty thing really needs fixing although it may not be in everybody's workflows.

Revision history for this message
In , Jonathan Kamens (jik) wrote :

Send Later doesn't deal with this in any way, as far as I'm aware. It just puts messages into Outbox and then calls the API endpoint to tell Thunderbird to deliver the messages in the Outbox.

Note that Jonathan Perry-Houts is the new maintainer of Send Later as of TB78. I'm mostly a bystander at this point.

Revision history for this message
In , Mkmelin+mozilla (mkmelin+mozilla) wrote :

I think to give decent feedback in cases where there are problems, bug 1675978 is a prerequisite.

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