The next major Thunderbird release is version 91; it is scheduled for a release in the third quarter of 2021. The developers have published a roadmap in which they list new features and improvements that they consider integrating in Thunderbird 91 and beyond.
The roadmap is a work of progress and subject to change, but it still provides a good overview of what the team has planned for Thunderbird in 2021.
Thunderbird roadmap: major changes
The address book will receive a major refresh according to the roadmap. It should be migrated to using web technologies and that it could work as a “general utility”. It would open in a tab in the email client similar to other components such as calendar or tasks and will get support for vCard v4.
Thunderbird’s folder pane should support mixing multiple folder modes just like Microsoft’s Outlook does. Thunderbird does support different folder modes but only one can be activated at a time. Support for reordering of accounts is on the list as well.
Work on making Thunderbird a web application continues in 2021, e.g. the editor will use web compatible composition and other features such as oEmbed/Twitter Card/Open Graph, support markdown, and be cleaner.
Thunderbird will support more MailExtensions APIs that extension developers may use to create add-ons for the email client. The client could get a troubleshooter specifically for helping users when emails cannot be sent or retrieved.
Performance of the client needs to be improved in various areas, and system integration needs to get better as well.
Other planned changes:
- Move the localization platform to Fluent, the same that Firefox migrated to.
- Conversion from individual XUL elements to HTML will continue. Also, Thunderbird will move away from XUL documents towards top-level (X)HTML windows.
- Implement JMAP support. Thunderbird could become the first major email client to support the protocol.
- Drop the Mork database format that is used in address book data, the folder message indexing cache, and Panacea.dat.
- Create a global message index and switch to it from today’s per-folder index.
- Investigate if Microsoft TNEF can be supported.
- Finalize Maildir support.
- Improve OpenPGP implementation further.
- Improved account setup flow.
- Improve the built-in Calendar.
- Introduce Matrix chat support.
- Improved mailing list handling.
Now You: What is your take on the roadmap? Anything you’d like to see?
— to www.ghacks.net