cb_thunderlink architecture

PrintCamiel Bouchier0

Files in distribution

|   api-ms-win-core-console-l1-1-0.dll  |
|   :                                   |
|   libssl-1_1-x64.dll                  |
|   python37.dll                        |
|   ucrtbase.dll                        |
|   VCRUNTIME140.dll                    |
|   :                                   |
|   pyexpat.pyd                         |
|   select.pyd                          |
|   unicodedata.pyd                     |
|   _bz2.pyd                            | => (1)
|   _ctypes.pyd                         |
|   _hashlib.pyd                        |
|   _lzma.pyd                           |
|   _socket.pyd                         |
|   _ssl.pyd                            |
|                                       |
|   base_library.zip                    |
| 
|   cb_thunderlink.exe                  | => (2)
|   cb_thunderlink.exe.manifest         |    
|
|   cb_thunderlink.json                 | => (3)
|
|   cb_thunderlink.xpi                  | => (4)
|   
+---logs
|       cb_thunderlink.log
|       
\---src                                 | => (5)
    |   cb_thunderlink.json              
    |   cb_thunderlink.py               | => (6)
    |   cb_thunderlink.spec             | => (7)
    |   
    \---mail_extension                  | => (8)
        |   cb_api.js                   |
        |   cb_api_schema.json          |
        |   cb_background.js            |
        |   cb_options.css              |
        |   cb_options.html             |
        |   cb_options.js               |
        |   files_in_xpi.lst            |
        |   manifest.json               |
        |
        |   cb_thunderlink.xpi          | => (9)
        |   
        \---images            
                cb-128px.png
                cb-16px.png
                cb-256px.png
                cb-32px.png
                cb-48px.png
                cb-64px.png
  1. All files that implement and support the Python interpreter that 'pyinstaller' packaged into cb_thunderlink.exe.
  2. The Python script cb_thunderlink.py (see 'src') packaged along with the appropriate Python interpreter.
  3. Used under Linux for describing the 'native messaging' interface.
  4. cb_thunderlink.xpi is the Thunderbird add-on.
  5. The 'src' is unused but delivered as documentation.
  6. cb_thunderlink.py is the main and only script for os-integration.
  7. Configuration script for 'pyinstaller'.
  8. The Thunderbird add-on sources.
  9. cb_thunderlink.xpi is the Thunderbird add-on, basically a zip of the sources above.

Drawing

arch

Explanation

Main function

The main functionality is obtained by loading cb_thunderlink.xpi as a thunderbird add-on. It runs in the OS 'Process 1'.

Through the context-menu on the message-list, or a shortcut, a (cb)thunderlink is generated and stored in the OS clipboard.

The cb_thunderlink-button takes the link that is in the OS clipboard and lets thunderbird navigate to the linked message.

Actually, one can run run perfectly cb_thunderlink this way : copying around (cb)thunderlink's and paste it using the cb_thunderlink-button

OS-integration

The OS-integration is about the capability to click a (cb)thunderlink in a web-page, a wiki etc. and having thunderbird jumping to that message.

Earlier implementations could rely on the capability of thunderbird to be called as thunderbird -thunderlink link. Recent versions of thunderbird do not support anymore. Moreover the capability of thunderbird to communicate with the external world is very restricted. Hence a quite convoluted alternative approach was needed.

The first step is that cb_thunderlink.xpi ('Process 1') tries to start cb_thunderlink.py ('Process 2') through the only mechanism that thunderbird allows, i.e. native messaging. This process does nothing else than listen on port 1302 for incoming commands and communicate it through to 'Process 1' where it will be handled similar as pasting a (cb)thunderlink.

The other step is cb_thunderlink.py (cb)thunderlink://... is started as 'Process 3' passing the argument over port 1302 to 'Process 2'. This allows to associate in the OS a link with an executable (equivalent to the earlier thunderbird -thunderlink link) that jumps to a message.

Register

As well the native messaging, as the linking of (cb)thunderlink://... with 'Process 3' require OS specific setups. The cb_thunderlink.py register handles this part of the story.

In Windows all connections are fixed in the registry. Under Linux it is a combination of setting up a json file on a specific location and setting up gio.

For more details, look into the source code of cb_thunderlink.py under the 'register' branch.

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