Pi’s Blog

My blog about Thunderbird and GSoC 2008


Hello, everybody

My name is Josh and my application to Google Summer of Code 2008 was accepted, so this summer I will be writing the extension (explained below) writing some basic unit tests for Thunderbird 3’s code for importing address books, and finding/repairing some simple bugs. I like to program, obviously, and my major is Computer Engineering, which is a mix of Computer Science (programming, among other things) and Electrical Engineering.

My homepage can be found here, although I am still not done moving content over from my old site.

My GSoC project involves syncing contacts between Google Contacts and Thunderbird’s Address Book. Right now I am writing it for Thunderbird 2 and 3. Right now it is able to do a pretty good job of syncing, but there are a few rough edges in the code that I would like to fix.

You can usually find me hanging out in Mozilla’s IRC in the #maildev channel as pi.



  1. Hi Pi,

    I just installed gContactSync – I think it works really well so far.

    So – two things:

    1. You’re a student – so do you have an Amazon Wishlist (or something) for books you might need /want for school next semester.

    2. In the “Sync Behavior” option box, what does the “Always update Gmail when a contact is updated in Gmail and Thunderbird” mean?

    Should that just be “….updated in Thunderbird”?

    Thanks for your work and good luck with your exams

    Tad Whiteside

    Comment by tad whiteside | December 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the comments.

    I see how that wording is confusing. It is meant to give you a choice between updating Thunderbird or updating Gmail if a contact is changed in both locations.

    So, say you have a contact John Doe johndoe @ host.invalid. If you change the e-mail address to johndoe2 @ host.invalid in Gmail and johndoe3 @ host.invalid in Thunderbird, which contact should be updated in the next sync? If you check the box, the contact in Gmail will be updated and the e-mail address in both TB and Gmail will be johndoe3 @ host.invalid.

    I am a student, but I’m actually going on a co-op/internship next semester, so I don’t need any books, but thanks for the offer!

    Comment by pi | December 16, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hello pi,

    I like to translate gcontactsync in Dutch!

    Comment by Joo | December 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hi,

    I love your extension but how can I disable the E-Mail-Adress nobody@nowhere.invalid? I want empty adresses.

    Thank you

    Comment by Diavolo | February 11, 2009 | Reply

    • Hello,

      Unfortunately that e-mail address must be present or Thunderbird will break and synchronization becomes impossible. (See this for details). When you view a contact with that hidden address it doesn’t appear there, but I haven’t found a way to completely hide it.


      Comment by pi | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hi,

    thank you for your answer. I don’t use mailing lists, so it wouldn’t crash or would it? Perhaps you can make an option to disable it. 🙂

    Thank you

    Comment by Diavolo | February 12, 2009 | Reply

    • I agree that there should be a preference, so I filed a bug report here that you can watch. I believe I will add it before the next version and definitely before 0.2.0, but it will remain hidden because it is dangerous. You will have to use the config editor to change it (Tools -> Options or Edit -> Preferences, then Advanced -> General -> Config Editor). I’ll add more instructions in the bug report once I finish.

      As a warning, gContactSync 2 adds the default groups (Family, Friends, Coworkers, and My Contacts) as mailing lists. If you have even one contact in any of those groups and disable that e-mail address your directory will probably break and you won’t be able to synchronize or use it. If this happens you must re-enable the preference, delete the synchronized directory, go into the gContactSync preferences and change the synchronized address book for the account and sync all over again. Contacts that weren’t modified shouldn’t be lost, but please backup all your contacts before changing the preference.


      Comment by pi | February 12, 2009 | Reply

  6. Thank you very much 🙂

    Is there also a possibility that the groups are not added when they are empty? I don’t use them.

    Thank you

    Comment by Diavolo | February 13, 2009 | Reply

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