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UI Specification 

Preferences Framework

send feedback to the component specific newsgroup

Last Modification: 
Author: German Bauer
Initial Creation Date: 26 August 1999 


Status: Overall list compiled, some issues still need to be worked out.
What's related:

Detail Prefernces for Mail

Quick Index:
Design Cheatsheet
Feature Team

Older spec, will be updated



  • Simplify preferences within the current framework
  • Break out preferences that belong to specific component or feature areas (e.g. Account Setup)
  • Give users the ability to reset preferences to their default state
  • Make prefs extensible so new apps can seamlessly integrate, extension areas are marked like this
  • Provide a way that special configuration (e.g. Messenger standalone) are possible without 'breaking' the prefs UI

Target Users


User Tasks

Fundamental Tasks Intermediate Tasks Advanced Tasks

Design Cheatsheet

TODO: screen shot out of date

 New Features for Seamonkey

  1. Reset to Default mechanism for each panel (can we do this, todo: verify!)
  2. Stub prefs for components not yet downloaded  out for Seamonkey
  3. Modular add-on integration (including Netcenter WebMail)
  4. Java VM Prefs
  5. Security section (TODO: cord with Bob Lord)


Design Details

Prefs at a Glance

This is a quick overview of each panel in the preferences window. The row headings represent major sections. The naming of the major section should be constant except for the extensible Area shown in the image as "Other Component 1..3". What ever naming we choose for the core App labels has to be consistent with the naming used in the Taskbar, the Task Menu, Help and other areas.

The bold items within each column represent sub-panels. The Main heading represents each section's top-level panel. We decided that each top level panel (labeled 'Main' below) gets also selected when the control is used to expand the panel. This is to ensure users will discover the contents of the top level panel easily, while maintaining compatibility to 4.x.

Each main component should have this structure:

  • It's Main panel
  • It's Content Appearance subpanel (if appl. and if this is in Seamonkey)
  • It's specific subpanels

Newly proposed for Seamonkey

  • Main panels also open when they are expanded

  • New General section for things that apply to whole Netscape environment
    • New Themes selection subpanel
    • New Sidebar settings subpanel
  • Each app has a seperate content appearance section
  • Toolbar appearance simplified (only full vs text only)
  • Applications and Langauages moved to general


item beta 1 beta 2 beta 3 out for Seamonkey
General Netscape Environment 


Startup environment with Apps



Select Skins 

simple tab to pick a named skin 

skin would override last skin for those components that skin covers. For all other last skin remains

advanced tab to assign skin per component

view by component (what skins are available for it) vs view by skin (what components it covers)


Sidebar Settings 

Default Style Sheet

Default Font 

Default Color

may not feasible on a global level


AutoOpen on launch (set to yes)

Allow auto opening by content providers




how silent

how often


smart update is 'smart' so no prefs here


Pick list for choosing the order of langauges content should be viewed in.

//should be in general, now in Nav


List to relate MIME type to helper applications

//should be in general, now in Nav



Start page

( )Blank, ( )Home, ( )Last Page Visited

Home page


expire after [x] days, |clear history|

Navigation Bar History

|Clear Location Bar|

Button Appearance

( ) Full ( ) Text only


Content Appearance

Default Style

style sheet picker

Default Colors

Colors: [Text | v ] [Background | v ]
Links: [Visited | v ] [Unvisited | v ]

Default Font

for the encoding [abcdefg | v ] use
variable width [font | v ] size[ v ]
fixed width [font | v ] size[ v ]

When a webpage uses its own fonts
( ) use the fonts specified in the page
( ) use my default fonts, ignoring the fonts used by the page

//no more dynamic font stuff here!

font scaling: [x] dpi


Mail & Newsgroups

Only if downloaded separately - 3rd party mail integration???        


Search and Smart Browsing



When clicking the search button

( ) use [search engine | v ]

( ) use Advanced Search

this may not be in when we allow custmization via search panel

[ ] Enable Internet Keywords

[ ] Enable What's related

Exclude domains [ ] from WR

will now be a panel in the sidebar



File Transfer (FTP)

Use anonymous login w/email

Prompt For ftp login

Use OS Internet Settings

Default Download folder

can we make this global?


Detail Prefernces for Mail


Start Page

( ) on ( ) off

Button Appearance

( ) Full ( ) Text only

Use Netscape Messenger from MAPI based applications


Content Appearance




Quoted text begins with ">" and displayed with (Style, Color, Size).

Unread message color, font, size.

Display plain text messages and articles with...

Fixed/Variable Play sound when messages arrive

Remember the last selected message

Confirm when moving folders to the Trash


Window Settings

3.0 style vs 4.x style layout

Double Click for new window (folder and message)

Newsgroups (open in Message window or Message Center)?



Similar to 4.5. Pinpoint Addressing...

Look for Addresses in the following: ...

When there are multiple addresses found...

If there is one match in your personal address books:...

When displaying full names... (this will be removed from prefs and added the the "View" menu.

"View AB entries by, First Last, Last First, Display Name."


Address Book

Client and Netcenter address book sync prefs

History AB settings

Sep settings for color, font, size?


Return Receipts




When receipt arrives...

When I receive a message and sender requests a receipt (MDN)...




Message formatting

HTML messages to recipients not listed as being able to read them...

ALL the options till valid?


Disk Space 

Messages locally

Compact folders when it will save...

When it's time to clean up messages...

Keep on unread

Remove message bodies only older than...



Default forward style (Attach or Inline)

Quote original message/start above or below message.

Spell check before sending

Wrap incoming plain text messages

Wrap outgoing, plain text messages at...

Send messages that use 8 bit characters...



Account Settings

The decision was made to fold multiple per account settings under preferences,

using 3rd level nestedness


Select account from account pick list

set outgoing smpt server


For each account:

Account name


Compose msg using...


Server settings go here

Copies and Folders

Folder Settings go here



// can we group this under main?

Preference for "Get Msg button (wording needs work)

"Selecting the "Get Msg" button": -"Gets Messages for the Selected Account Only" - "Get Messages for the currently selected account and all accounts for which you are currently logged onto."

For news this works the same except the choices are for selected newsgroup only, or selected newsgroup plus MAIL accounts currently logged onto.


Default Composing Appearance






Who can contact me

( ) Allow all users to contact me
( ) Allow only users on my ( ) Buddy List to contact me
( ) Allow only the users listed below to contact me
( ) Block the users listed below from contacting me
( ) Block all users from contacting me

List of user names

[ ] Ask permission before accepting messages from users not in my buddy list
[ ] Block all incoming Chat Invitations

Allow users to see how long I've been idle

Allow users who know my email address to see...

My screen name
Only that I have an account
Nothing about me


Buddy List

Buddy List Font


[ ] Dim buddies after they have been idle for minutes
[ ] Display buddies' real names when available



Idle Message

After my computer has been idle for 10 minutes, auto respond with this message:

[ender field here]

Auto respond with "away" message Hide IM windows while I'm away Disable sounds while I'm away Away Messages:

[List of away messages]
|Add| |Edit| |Remove|


Sounds and Alerts

Play a sound when...

each with a button to pick another sound and to play

[ ] buddies sign on
[ ] buddies sign off
[ ] first instant
[ ] message is received
[ ] receiving an instant
[ ] message
[ ] sending an instant
[ ] message
[ ] receiving a chat
[ ] message
[ ] sending a chat message


[ ] Flash Buddy List window when buddies sign on or off
[ ] Flash Chat window when messages are received
[ ] Show announcements when users enter and leave chat room


File Transfer (not For beta)

//(can we make this global?)

Receiving files

( ) Block all files
( ) Ask before accepting any file
( ) Ask before accepting files from users not on my Buddy List
( ) Accept all files

Sharing files

Allow [ no users | v ] to get my files:[ this username ]
Shared files in folder: [Browse]
[ ] Save a log of shared file transfers


AIM Proxy:[pr srvr] Port:[port num]
Protocol: [SOCKS 4 | v ]
Username: [username]
Password: [password]
[ ] Use proxy to resolve hostnames



Start Page (blank, template...)

Button Appearance


Default Content Appearance For Docs

Default Style

style sheet picker

Default Colors

Colors: [Text | v ] [Background | v ]
Links: [Visited | v ] [Unvisited | v ]

Default Font

for the encoding [abcdefg | v ] use
variable width [font | v ] size[ v ]
fixed width [font | v ] size[ v ]


Default Document Properties


Author Name etc.        


This feature is scheduled to be implemented primarily for mail        

Default Editors

//should be under General/applications?

HTML Source



could also be folded under Advanced, TBD 


  • Will be worked out



? new Seamonkey configurable security policies through a prefs UI



  • Same as 4.5


  • Same as 4.5




Technologies on/off


Pick VM

Turn on/off


Turn on/off


Applications & Plugins

here or in the general panel?        
  Languages here or in the general panel?        
  Proxies Same as 4.5        
  Cache Same as 4.5        

Error Messages and Dialogs


User Choices