Pi’s Blog

My blog about Thunderbird and GSoC 2008

Synchronizing Addresses – Your Thoughts

When I woke up this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see several e-mail messages about my extension.  After seeing the web traffic for my website rise from a dozen or so visitors per day to nearly 500, I discovered that several sites have written about the extension even though it is still in the testing stage in both English (ghacks.net, Lifehacker, etc.) and Spanish, which, fortunately, I can read (Incubaweb, VisualBeta.es).  After reading the Spanish articles, I am now wondering if I should attempt to add a Spanish locale…  The only problem is that we don’t exactly talk about synchronization and e-mail clients much in Spanish class so I would have to learn some new words.

Currently, synchronizing addresses with gContactSync is painful as the reviews mention, especially if you have a lot of contacts.  It involves editing every contact in Google with an address.

This technically isn’t necessary, and if you skip doing it the Map It feature in both Gmail and Thunderbird will still work.

For example, here is a standard US postal address:

1234 E. Sesame St.
New York, NY  10001

If the address looks like that in Gmail, Thunderbird will display it as shown, but if you look in the Edit Card Dialog, you will notice that only two address fields are full: Address and Address Line 2.  If you can sleep at night knowing that the city, state, zip (and possibly country) are all on one mislabeled line everything should sync as expected.

If the address has three lines, like the sample below, things change slightly:

Apt. #2
1234 E. Sesame St.
New York, NY  10001

Now, the first line in Thunderbird is Apt. #2, the second line is 1234 E. Sesame St, and the “City” is New York, NY  10001.  It won’t necessarily cause any problems, and the Map It button will still work, but the labels are incorrect.

One solution would be to remove the Address, Address Line 2, City, State, ZipCode, and Country textboxes and replace them with a text area that allows multiple lines like Google has.  If there is no value for that address, I could populate it from the old fields either separated with newlines or formatted US-style.  I am interested in hearing some opinions on this idea.

Update: Instead of replacing the textboxes, I could add a text area for home and work address in a different tab (similar to the Other Address text area) that allows multiple lines and directly synchronizes with Google.  If the area is blank, it would be filled at sync time by combining the 6 fields (Address, Address2, City, State, ZipCode, and Country).  In the card view on the bottom I could hide the original if the new address field is present.  This is the solution currently used.

What are your thoughts on synchronizing addresses?

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August 6, 2008 - Posted by | GSOC | , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Hej I got the ball rolling 🙂

    The major problem is the manual editing of the addresses which is to much work if you have many contacts.

    Comment by Martin | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi

    I am Willy Klew, blogger in Visualbeta, and the one who reviewed your aplication.
    If you want I can help you translate to spanish, to get the locale done

    Best regards, and contrats on your good work

    Comment by Guillermo | August 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. Personally, I’d like to either see the extension map the existing Thunderbird fields to the Google Address field, either placing each item on a different line or something similar (I know that would require the end user to edit their contacts but I’m okay with having to do that.) or just completely replace Thunderbird’s address fields. I don’t like having 2 places to enter addresses, especially when one of them disappears after a sync.

    Comment by Michael S. | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Also, I personally prefer Thunderbird’s separate fields. I never liked Google’s tendency to combine everything in one field. I like having my different pieces of information separate.

    Comment by Michael S. | August 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hey I’m a newbie & maybe it’s been said before but I use SBook5 as my address book on my Mac (PPC G4) & think its UNREAL.

    Comment by Greg THORNE | September 20, 2008 | Reply


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