Posts Tagged ‘Thunderbird’

I guess I’m now a Mozilla core developer, too

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

About a month ago, I dived into the world of Mozilla add-on development by adopting the abandoned Thunderbird “Send Later” add-on and porting it to Thunderbird 3.1. The learning curve was pretty steep, and it took a lot more work than I expected to stabilize the add-on, but I think it was worth it, considering that in the two weeks since I released it, almost 2,000 people have downloaded it and at least 444 of them are using it.

Emboldened by that, I decided to take a stab at fixing two bugs in the core Thunderbird code that have been driving me crazy. That, too, required a steep learning curve, but in the end, I was able to submit fixes for two bugs, one quite old and one new in Thunderbird 3.1, affecting a whole bunch of people:

  • It was impossible to remove attachments from some MIME messages, including MIME messages generated by the Mac Mail client (Mozilla bug #351224). This bug has been reported by at least 30 different people and was first reported almost four years ago. Fixing it required rewriting pretty much an entire module within C++ source code for Thunderbird.
  • Thunderbird was incorrectly inserting a couple extra spaces at the beginning of some sent email messages (Mozilla bug #564737). This bug was first reported just a few months ago and has already been reported by at least 56 different people. This bug is in the core code that is shared between all Mozilla applications, which means that the fix will impact Firefox, Seamonkey, etc. as well as Thunderbird.

Needless to say, there are other things I should have been working on when I got distracted by fixing these bugs. But I’d almost forgotten how rewarding it is to be able to contribute to open-source software in ways that benefit a lot of people.

I guess I’m a Mozilla add-on developer now

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I just released a port of the “Send Later” Mozilla Thunderbird add-on for Thunderbird 3.1+.

The old version is not compatible with Thunderbird 3, and its author and maintainer appears to have abandoned it.

I’d love for him to integrate my changes into his version and resume maintaining it, but in the meantime, for the sake of making it available to people, I’ve released the new version myself.

Here’s a picture:

Interestingly, it’s been less than two days since I released it, and it’s already been downloaded by 71 people. Sweet!

Exporting Outlook 2007 address book to Thunderbird

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I keep my primary address book in Outlook, but I wanted to export it to Thunderbird so that when I’m using Thunderbird at home, I have easy access to all the email addresses I’ve stored in Outlook.

It’s easy to import from Outlook to Thunderbird on Windows, since Thunderbird will happily allow you to do the import directly.  However, it’s more difficult when you want to export from Outlook on Windows and import the data into Thunderbird on UNIX.  In that case, you need to export your Outlook data into a CSV file, copy the resulting file over to UNIX, and import it into Thunderbird there.

This is theoretically possible, since Thunderbird does know how to import a CSV file, but it’s difficult, for two reasons.  First of all, Thunderbird will only read 35 columns from the Outlook CSV file, so some of the Outlook data is inaccessible.  Second, the UI for mapping Thunderbird address-book fields to columns in the Outlook-generated CSV is confusing and difficult to use.

I Googled a bit to see if anyone had come up with an easy solution to this problem.  I didn’t find one, so I solved it myself, by writing a script to convert the CSV file generated by Outlook into a format which is much more palatable to Thunderbird.

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