Pi’s Blog

My blog about Thunderbird and GSoC 2008

Version 0.1b1 Out – Please Upgrade

The first beta version of my extension has been released with several changes and a new tutorial.  The manual postal address modifications of the last two versions are no longer necessary.  Feedback on the new method of syncing addresses and the extension in general is appreciated since I would like to put the add-on on addons.mozilla.org soon.  It is still a test release, so there may be bugs.

New Features

  • New, painless, method of synchronizing postal addresses
  • Improved mail list/group synchronization
  • Full support for the trunk build of Thunderbird after Bug 413260 (Shredder 3.0b1pre 20080807xx or so and beyond)
  • Much easier initial setup
  • Improved duplicate detection
  • Slightly improved error logging (more improvements to come)
  • Support for Google Apps accounts (Hosted) – actually fixed in 0.1a2

Bug Fixes

  • Bug 19718 – P1 – Synchronize Addresses without extra work
  • Bug 19714 – P2 – support for gmail apps (actually fixed in 0.1a2)

Known Bugs

  • Bug 19715 – P1 – no support for multiple accounts
  • Error when syncing during very heavy traffic use


Again, you must take a few steps to move from version 0.1a1 to 0.1b1 since there are so many changes.  These steps are very important!  After the first release updates should become much easier.

  1. Backup your address books and Google Contacts again.
  2. Perform one last synchronization and then rename the synchronized address book as a backup (Right-click it -> Properties and choose a new name).  Don’t update the preference for the name now or after re-installing the extension and you can delete it once you sync for the first time.
  3. Close the Address Book window
  4. In the main Thunderbird window go to Tools -> Add-ons and select gContactSync and press the Options (Preferences) button.
  5. Click the Remove auth token button and close the Preferences window.
  6. Uninstall gContactSync (Uninstall button in Tools -> Add-ons)
  7. Download and install the new version.  The flash tutorial has changed and setup is much easier.

August 8, 2008 Posted by | GSOC | , , , | Leave a comment

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?

August 6, 2008 Posted by | GSOC | , , | 5 Comments