ThirdStats — Beautifully Visualized Email Account Stats

Andreas Müller
3 min readSep 29, 2020

In the first post of this series I told you the background story why I built a tool that’s able to show some email analytics in the Mozilla Thunderbird email client. After using this tool for a year now, I’ve determined three major issues:

❌ It depends on the mail storage engine
❌ The stats creation process is a little too complex
❌ The stats page cannot be accessed directly from Thunderbird

What I did

To address all of these issues, I decided to create a native Thunderbird add-on with the same functionality. Well, I never built a Thunderbird add-on before, so I took a look into the Thunderbird documentation. It turned out, that thanks to Thunderbirds WebExtension APIs, I was able to reuse nearly all of my Vue.js code — nice! I spent a weekend of porting my code and creating ThirdStats:

A screenshot showing ThirdStats on the Thunderbird default dark theme on Windows

What you can do

This is actually the first Thunderbird 78+ add-on providing visual statistics of email accounts (at least I wasn’t able to find something similar in the repository)! So if you are interested in contributing to the large community of Thunderbird users — you are very welcome to do so! I’ve prepared the GitHub repository so it’s ripe and ready for harvest in this year’s Hacktoberfest.

Add translations

If you’re new to contributing to OSS and you want to get to know the process of creating Pull Requests first, you can just add a translation of the add-on in your native language. This is as simple as adding a single JSON file. I explained everything in the Contribution Guidelines and prepared some example issues.

Improve the UI

If you’re already familiar with Vue.js app development and you have some experience in building user interfaces, you can help improving ThirdStats UI. I’ve prepared some example issues for this topic too (e.g. #8, #9, #10). Please discuss your ideas or possible changes in the corresponding issue first before investing a lot of time for a pull request that won’t get merged for some reason.

Add charts

And for those of you who are looking for the real challenge, I prepared some feature requests (#11, #12) to implement additional charts and analytics to make this add-on even more complete. What numbers are you interested in about your mail account?

Again: Please discuss your ideas in a corresponding issue first before investing a lot of time for a pull request that won’t get merged for some reason.

Wrap it up

So I made my first steps contributing to the (in my opinion) best open source email client out there by creating an add-on to expand its functionality. Do you use Thunderbird? Would you use this add-on? What is missing in your opinion? Let’s discuss here in the comments or directly on GitHub!

Originally published: 29th of September 2020 on