Pi’s Blog

My blog about Thunderbird and GSoC 2008

gContactSync Versions 0.1.3 & 0.2.0a1

Version 0.1.3

Basic Features

  • Synchronizes contacts between Google Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird (2 or 3, including Thunderbird 3.0b1 and the trunk build [3.0b2pre] as it is today)
  • 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


  • 20188 Card Dialog overlay is broken on trunk builds
  • 20169 Extra attributes should be disabled for read-only cards
  • 20152 ‘TypeError: iter.first is not a function’ in Thunderbird 3
  • 20145 Error: document.getElementById(“syncExtended”) is null – options.js Line: 49
  • 20389 Values with only spaces should be treated as empty

Known Bugs

  • 20153 Groups containing contacts without email addresses break in Thunderbird.  Please be careful if you have any contacts without e-mail addresses.  Until 0.2.0, please do not put them in a group other than the pre-defined groups by Google (My Contacts, Family, Friends, & Coworkers)


Version 0.2

Google has released an updated and improved API for obtaining and modifying contacts that will be used in version 0.2 of gContactSync.

You can download it here, but I rewrote the most important code and there may be bugs I haven’t found in it yet.  I would only advise those who have hundreds or thousands of contacts and receive the “Unresponsive Script” warning to try it.  It has a fix for Bug 20153 if you encounter that.

Current Features

  • All the features of 0.1
  • Duplicates (multiple contacts with the same e-mail address) are allowed
  • Much faster synchronization
  • Only US English (en-US) until I finish adding features and strings

Planned Features

  • More locales
  • Customization of how addresses are synchronized
  • Default groups are enabled (Family, Friends, Coworkers) as mailing lists in Thunderbird
  • My Contacts and suggested contacts are now separated to an extent.  All contacts will appear in the main address book, and each group (My Contacts, Family, Friends, Coworkers, and any custom group) has a corresponding mailing list in Thunderbird.
  • Let me know what else you would like, but I can’t promise anything
  • Maybe addons.mozilla.org?

Upgrade instructions to 0.2.0

  • In the address book, synchronize contacts one last time.
  • Rename the synchronized address book(s), this is just so you have a backup of your contacts.
  • In the main window, go to Tools -> Add-ons -> gContactSync -> Options/Preferences
  • In the Accounts tab, select one account at a time in remove them.
  • Install the new version and restart Thunderbird.  There is no need to remove the previous version first.
  • Open the Address Book window and fill in the information for your first account.

January 18, 2009 - Posted by | GSOC, thunderbird


  1. Hi Josh,
    version 0.2.0 seems to work well but Thunderbird does not. If I synchronize my old addressbook with Gmail all contacts are saved to Google. But they get saved in “Suggested Contacts”. Moving them to “My Contacts” works well, all contacts get moved. But if I synchronize with my Thunderbird address book again only one contact with the same email adress shows up in the corresponding group in TB, all the others are missing. You have built in a “security feature” that adds “nobody@nowhere.invalid” to every empty email address field, I think. I have three of them and only one shows up in Thunderbird again.
    But besides this your extension is the best sync extension for Google so far. Keep up!!!

    Comment by Benjamin D | January 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Benjamin,

    You are correct about the nobody@nowhere.invalid e-mail address. If my extension adds a contact without an e-mail address to a mailing list the address book will be broken (see https://www.mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=20153).

    I tried to hide it from the user (editing the card will not show it and it doesn’t appear in the card details), but I haven’t found a way to hide it in the list of cards.

    I will try to reproduce the problem you mentioned, but mailing lists are buggy and seem unpredictable (to me at least). If you can reproduce the problem could you either e-mail me the specific steps or write a bug report (http://gcontactsync.mozdev.org/bugs.html)?

    Thank you,


    Comment by pi | January 24, 2009 | Reply

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