Thunderbird 3 Features…

TBird Logowhat is planned and what should be included

I am looking over the freshly updated Thunderbird 3 Status Meeting notes from Tuesday’s (March 4th) meeting this evening. Direct calendar integration, instead of the external Sunbird Application or Lighting Extensions seems the big ‘must-have’ feature for TBird 3. Honestly, this is not on the top of my list of features. I have and continue to us Yahoo’s Calendar (FYI the Guru is not a big fan of Google). It is simple and is part of my Yahoo! Start Page. But also because I just use TBird just to manage my e-mail. I don’t use it for News Groups (I use XNews) or as a Feed Reader (I use Brief, a Fx extension).

In the Tb 3 planning section of the notes is a very, very brief mention of ‘Tabbed Messaging?’. This is a feature I really want in TBird. Firefox has spoiled me so much having everything open in new tabs instead of ending up with a gazillion open windows. It had been a planned feature in TBird 2, but never made it and judging by the lack of ‘enthusiasm’ I am beginning to think it may not even come in TBird 3. Sadly I think it is going to pushed out to TBird 4 (see Thunderbird 3 Plans for 2008).

One of the reasons why I feel extensions for Thunderbird have still not reached their fullest potential is because they are a pain in the a$$ to install. Okay may be not, for people who are use to Firefox automagically installing the add-ons right from AMO, it is a pain. Consider of the 600-Million Add-Ons Downloaded only 2.4 million (4%) were for Thunderbird. The current version of Thunderbird does have a way to make the process a little less painful but it is turned of by default (see Tweak: Add-ons ‘Install’ Button). Of course one can always simply drag the install link from AMO into Thunderbird Add-ons Manager box to install. Sure it sounds simple enough, for those who know what they are doing. I work technical support and deal with people who can’t even type a web address into their browser (“Why does it say ‘no results found’ when I type in my website address?”). Now you may be thinking that these people wouldn’t be smart enough to install extensions. But consider with Firefox (not sure about IE7) all you have to do is point, click on the link, click on the install button and restart the browser to install an extension. So this is defiantly an area in need of improvement with TBird.

Another area that is really in need of improvement is Account Settings. The most common thing I walk customers through is setting up their e-mail accounts. 99% of the time it is either Microsoft Outlook Express or Microsoft Outlook. I know the setup so well, I could do it in my sleep. Thunderbird on the other hand is very confusing and downright difficult to setup. Two things that drive me crazy about Thunderbird is that the Outgoing (SMTP) Server settings are defined else where and there is no where to enter your account password. When you setup/edit an account in Thunderbird you are setting up the incoming mail settings. Yes there is an option on the main setting screen to choose an SMTP server, but you have to go into those settings else where. As far as account passwords, you have to wait until you do a send and receive before you are prompted to enter a password. There is however, one thing I do like with Thunderbird’s Account Settings is server settings are easy to find. For those who want to leave a copy of the message on the server with Outlook have to go into ‘More Settings’ then into the ‘Advanced’ section to accomplish this. In Thunderbird it is the next section down called Server Settings.

So in order of importance for new features, I would rather see improved Extension/Add-ons Installation, Tabbed Browsing, better Account Management then Calendar integration.

6 Comments on Thunderbird 3 Features…

  1. One thing I really HATE about TB is the addressing. Each address on a single line, which is even a dropbox. That plain sucks. Hope they improve that in the future, otherwise I will have to re-install Outlook on my wife’s PC.

  2. Hey boy, what about trying TB3 nightlies? Tabs support is implemented for several months 😉

  3. Adam Dempsey | March 10, 2008 at 3:03 AM |

    I’d like for there to be some sort of link between Firefox and Thunderbird so when you click on an extension in Firefox, there is an extra button on the Install dialog saying something like ‘Install to Thunderbird’ which then installs it there instead of in Firefox!

  4. Need more than 2 email address fields for a single card entry — also the ability to choose HTML or plain text for each email address field… this has been a long standing request. This would also make transferring multiple email addresses from a single gmail address entry to Thunderbird much easier.

  5. There are tabs available in the Beta versions of Thunderbird 3, it’s just that there are a limited number of ways of activating them, not so far included in the main menus or toolbar, right clicking though brings up the option to open a new tab.

  6. I use to work with Firefox on windows xp where i never tried with Thunderbird but my new collage computer lab is equipped with linux and Thunderbird actually working on linux ubuntu is not that bad experience but even not that easy for windows addicted person well for Thunderbird i found this 3.0 new version simple and easy extensions similar to Firefox where interface is much improved there is five reason to try Thunderbird check here for details

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