Pi’s Blog

My blog about Thunderbird and GSoC 2008

gContactSync version 0.1.2 released

Version 0.1.2 of gContactSync is out and available for download here.  Right-click and hit Save Link As, then install it in Thunderbird.

This is a bugfix release only.

Bug Fixes:

  • These bugs should be fixed with this release.  If they still aren’t, please let me know.
  • Bug 20112 – Preferences dialog changes size
  • Bug 20142 – Accounts list isn’t visible
  • Bug 19959 – the sync toolbar item got a wrong icon and can’t be removed from toolbar (it might be incorrectly sized)

Basic Features

  • Synchronizes contacts between Google Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird (2 or 3)
  • Can synchronize several accounts with their own address books
  • Adds attributes and “types” for phone numbers and screennames to Thunderbird
  • Customizable with a preferences dialog
  • en-US and es-ES locales

What would you like to see most

School is making me extremely busy, but I’m most likely going on a co-op/internship next semester (I have to pick one this week probably) so I might have more time.  Which of the features would you like first?  I’d like to eventually add all of them.  Please only vote once, and comment below or via e-mail.  I might be slow to reply, but I will.


October 26, 2008 - Posted by | GSOC |


  1. Is it possible for you to protect the entries for First Name and Last Name? I modified my address book to my total satisfaction and after a sync with Google all the above mentioned entries were gone.
    The reason for my question is that I like to sort my contacts the “Last Name, First Name” style.
    Looking forward to a new release. Great work until now.


    Comment by Benjamin | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hi pi,
    I was wondering whether it’ll be possible to make Gmail’s additional email fields available to Thunderbird? Do you know if TB 3.x plans to have more than 2 email address fields anyway? I was excited to see that Gmail could have more email addresses, and that you sync them – but they don’t actually get suggested by Thunderbird when sending emails, so they’re kinda useless 😉


    Comment by Peter Hollo | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  3. @Benjamin
    It shouldn’t remove the first and last name during sync and doesn’t for me. It actually syncs them, but they aren’t shown in Google Contacts. If it still happens, if you would do the following, I’d appreciate it:
    1) Enable verbose logging
    2) Add a card with a generic name/e-mail address
    3) Sync
    4) Send me the part of the log (click on “Synchronization finished at…”) where the card is added (search for “***Adding contacts to Google***” in the log)

    @Peter Hollo
    I knew I’d miss something in the poll, could you enter that as “Other”? I’m hoping to look into making the extra e-mail addresses more useful. I would for you but I’d rather not vote on my own poll 😉

    This is possibly going to be included in Thunderbird 3 (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=118665), and if I think it will be added in the near future, I might not implement this in my extension since it would probably be a significant amount of code. I’d actually like to work on that enhancement myself, but I doubt I have enough time.

    Comment by pi | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks Josh! Exciting stuff. I’ll vote for the Thunderbird bug too (I don’t have anything like the know-how to help in any other way…)

    Comment by Peter | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  5. This addon is a real benefit. Thank you so much for creating it!

    Comment by BBlackmoor | November 3, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hi Josh,
    I will add my thanks for your great work on this useful extension!

    I would like to vote for making gcontactsync show “Home” “Work,” etc as column headings in the main address book view as well as in the card. I recognize that the card view will change if you resave it but that doesn’t work well for 500+ cards.
    PS: I’m the guy using Icedove (Debian Thunderbird).

    Comment by Mike A | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. […] out the poll results from my last post and deciding on what to do after fixing some […]

    Pingback by My Recent Lack of Activity « Pi’s Blog | November 21, 2008 | Reply

  8. Hi there!

    Thanks for the nice extension. Unfortunately, I seem to be having a problem and I hoped you could give me some advice.
    I am trying to import my TB address book into Google. IN your extension, I select that existing address book when configuring a sync-account. After synchronisation, all contacts appear in Google fine, however, the “lists” in TB, that I expect to correspond to “groups” in G are not synchronised properly. It looks as if some of the groups are created (but not all) and that some of the contacts are assigned to groups, but not all.

    I appreciate any help.

    Thanks again!

    P.S. http://pirules.net/contact/ keeps saying “Nice try bot. If you aren’t a bot, go back and remove ‘yourfreehosting.net’ from your message”, not sure why.

    Comment by Greg | December 25, 2008 | Reply

  9. @Peter
    You’re welcome, thanks!

    You’re welcome, thanks!

    @Mike A
    Could you e-mail me with the details? Do you mean Home, Work, etc. like Thunderbird originally does or something else?

    (I’m sending this to your e-mail address too)
    Sorry about the problem on my website, I’ve temporarily replaced that form with my e-mail address. It was generating too much spam.

    Could you send me the log file? The easiest way to access it is by clicking the text in the status bar after a sync (where it says “Finished synchronization at…”) then copy and paste that into an e-mail.

    Comment by pi | December 26, 2008 | Reply

  10. Thanks a lot!
    Not sure I see what you mean by “pirules3.14+site” and whether something should be replaced there. I sent an email with the logs to the address from which your email appeared to come. Please let me know if you did not get it.

    Comment by Greg | December 26, 2008 | Reply

  11. Hello Josh,

    I’ve been trying all the available Addons and resources to sync TBird Address Book with GMAIL Contacts and, so far, your Addon is the most reliable and advanced I’ve found. Congratulations!

    However, as there is always room for improvements, there are few (but VERY important) considerations about your Addon that (IMO) you should put some time to review ASAP. Here they are:

    1) When synchronizing a new contact created on TBird, the ADDRESS fields (the TBird native ones) are cleaned up and the information transferred to the “Additional Addresses” on the “gContactSync 2” tab your Addon created… It wouldn’t be a problem “IF” I was not also synchronizing the TBird Address Book with my PALM (using the Palm Sync Addon). As the Palm Sync will only synchronize the natural addresses from TBird it would be better to leave it alone instead of making it blank. The funny part is that IF, after sync with Google once, I retype the Addresses info on TBird Addresses fields, the following syncs with GOOGLE will just leave the info alone and no more delete it (a bug, maybe?). Oh, BTW, if (BEFORE the 1st sync) there is already something on those extra fields at “gContactSync 2” tab (even a simple blank space) the TBird natural Addresses fields will not affected by your Addon. It should be a quick review to fix it and the importance is very high…

    2) Would be nice to have some type if interface allowing the user to select which fields are to be synchronized and HOW will they be used. Once more, I use some extra tools that add extra fields on the TBird address book, and to be able to define which of those fields I want to use to sync with Google would solve a lot of “inconveniences”. Also, to be able to define, per field, how to sync, would be a must to have.

    3) I am synchronizing the “Personal Address Book” instead of creating a specific “Google” address book. It work as a charm, but I would like to give you an idea: why not also synchronize OTHER address books (by choice) with Google. As by now, it is only possible to sync ONE address book per GMAIL account… I don’t know how GMAIL will handle it but each address book in TBird could be a GROUP in GMAIL (maybe). Also, seems like the GROUPS in GMAIL are NOT sync as LISTS in TBird. So, why not use it as I say? Duplications? Well… I can live with that. 🙂 Another idea is use an “extra field” to define which Address Book the be used to store the user info… I know it would be possible without too much problems, but it will be up to you to do it and fine HOW it will be done.

    4) Would be nice also to have an entry on the TBird Address Book menus to edit the options of your Addon instead of keep it ONLY accessible from the Addon Interface. You may even add a full menu with several config and sync options (which would be nice to have)!

    Well, besides that, everything else goes fine. Easy install, easy setup and work marvelously well!

    Thank you for your work and it would be appreciated any feedback from you. Please also reply to my e-mail.

    Best regards.

    Julio Marchi

    Comment by Julio Marchi | January 8, 2009 | Reply

  12. Hello Julio,

    Thanks for your comments.

    1) Someone else contacted me about this for the same reason and I added a preference to disable removing the old address but did not expose it in the UI. It will appear in 0.2.0. The preference leaves the original addresses intact, and still converts them to Google’s format in the new field. Updates to the address made in Google and contacts originally created in Google will not fill Thunderbird’s original address fields, unfortunately.

    For now, you can go to Tools -> Options (or Edit -> Preferences) -> Advanced -> Config Editor, then type: “gContactSync.removeOldAddresses” without the quotes. Right-click the value and choose “Toggle”.

    I filed a bug report for improving address preferences here – https://www.mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=20486. You are welcome to comment on it or leave feedback.

    2) You can customize what is synchronized to an extent. If you open the Add-ons window, click on Options/Preferences under gContactSync and go to the “Advanced” tab. You can type the name of the attribute as it is stored by Thunderbird. If you need to know the proper name (it should be like ‘DisplayName’ or ‘HomeAddress’) let me know what extension it is and I’ll try to find it. At this point, extra attributes are synchronized with Google, but only visible from Thunderbird. You can customize the synchronization interval and a few basic things in the preferences in the “Main” tab.

    Eventually I may allow further customization since Google allows for XML in the custom attributes so I could theoretically include all birthday fields (and anniversary soon) like this (EDIT: sorry, it won’t let me show a sample in XML even with spacing 😦 )

    If you want the original Home addresses synced with Google you can change the values in the Extended tab to:

    This would definitely benefit from allowing custom XML elements since only 10 extended properties are allowed.

    3) This was already requested (https://www.mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=19747) and I do understand that this would be a nice feature, but it would be very difficult to implement from what I’ve seen. There would be duplicates which would complicate things significantly. Every time a contact is updated I would have to search linked address books for the contact and update it there, for example. Some users have hundreds of contacts and the delay introduced by that would be unacceptable. The extension would have a significant performance impact and would probably be buggy.

    Groups in Google are synchronized as Mailing Lists in Thunderbird. In 0.1.x only groups that you create manually appear in TB since the API I used predates the “system” groups like Coworkers, Friends, and Family. Version 0.2 (alpha 1 was release) shows all contact groups, and suggested contacts can be separated from My Contacts.

    I am not sure what you mean about the “extra field to define which Address Book the be used to store the user info”. You can change the name of the synced address book in the preferences if that is what you mean.

    4) I completely agree, although I hadn’t filed a bug report until now (https://www.mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=20487). Again, comments/feedback is welcome. It will appear somewhere in version 0.2

    Thank you for your input!


    Comment by pi | January 24, 2009 | Reply

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