Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
December 9th, 2008


AVIM not just for Firefox

In July, when I last wrote about AVIM, it was a Firefox extension that let you easily enter fully-accented Vietnamese into any webpage, as well as most of Firefox. It also supported a few well-known Firefox extensions.

Since then, AVIM has gained French and Chinese localizations and added support for all of Firefox. More importantly, the extension now supports a number of Mozilla-based applications, including Songbird and Flock. AVIM’s also been downloaded nearly 30,000 times and serves over 1,700 people as of last month.

Mozilla Messaging today released the first beta of Thunderbird 3. Since it runs on Mozilla 1.9, AVIM supports it too. It’s a boon for Vietnamese speakers who still use a desktop application for reading e-mail and news feeds.

You can download AVIM for free and drag the file into Thunderbird’s Add-ons window. Alternatively, you can use Thunderbird 3’s new Add-ons Manager to install an older version of AVIM hosted by Mozilla.

One thing you’ll notice about AVIM is that, even though the extension is intended for Vietnamese speakers, the extension’s menus aren’t necessarily in Vietnamese. If your copy of Thunderbird is in English, for example, AVIM is also in English. That’s because I designed the extension to blend in with the application as much as possible.

Unfortunately, efforts to translate Thunderbird into Vietnamese aren’t complete yet. In the meantime, you can force AVIM to display in Vietnamese anyways. Regardless of AVIM’s interface language, the extension will continue allowing you to type in Vietnamese.

You might’ve noticed that AVIM is essentially in maintenance mode. I’ve implemented all the big changes I have planned, and I really don’t have much time to work on the software in the near future. However, you’ll continue to see AVIM support more and more applications as they upgrade to Mozilla 1.9. Someday, I’ll get around to writing an operating system–level IME, so you’ll get AVIM’s well-known flexibility no matter which application you’re using. Someday.

As always, I welcome any contributions to the AVIM project, whether in the form of code or translations, or by spreading the word. Working on AVIM’s code require little more than a working knowledge of JavaScript and Vietnamese. For any code or translation contributions, you’ll receive due credit on a widely-used piece of software and the satisfaction that you’ve helped real people in a measurable way. If you’d like to help out, please contact me.


  1. AVIM, phần mở rộng Firefox do tôi viết, hiện cũng tương tích với Thunderbird. Hơn nữa: Đang kiếm người giúp đỡ.


  1. Hi Minh,
    I recently come across your blog, and find it very interesting. I've been learning Vietnamese, and appreciate the info you have. I wonder if I may ask you a question about a word I'm having trouble pronouncing. I know your time is valuable, so if you have a spare minute, I'd love it if you would e-mail me. Thanks, and have a great day! Cảm ơn anh.

  2. Hey thanks for the animated png image you included in this post. This is the first time I ever know that a png can animate :)

    1. Yes, it’s an unofficial extension to the PNG format that’s supported in Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5. I used the APNG extension to create the image. (That extension’s fine for simple animations like this one, but for more complex animations, it’s a pain to use.) There’s more information about APNG at Wikipedia.