thunderbird and shared remote folders and address book



Address Book
14 years ago
9 years ago


(Reporter: Nick Hemsley, Unassigned)


Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)




14 years ago
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.5) Gecko/20031225 Firebird/0.7

This is mainly to track info about my efforts to bring these features to
thunderbird. hopefully it could be done with an extension

Basically add the functionality to:
- have a remotely stored address book (yes there is LDAP, but need read/write, &
i dont yunderstand LDAP), storing contact details
- remotely stored client's (i.e. companies) list (which can have an arbitrary
number of contact address book entries associated with them
- possibly a feature similar to the current 'lists' in the address book which
would cover projects pertaining to different clients
- Have remotely stored public folders which allow centralised storage of emails
- Each 'client' has a public folder associated with it
- Each contact has a public folder associated with it
- Each 'list' has a public folder associated with it

In conjunction with this, implement threading for tracking email-discussions.

Threading would occur on a contact basis:
- if a contact in the address book writes (or replies) it appears flatly in the
inbox, but also appears in that contact's public-folder (or their private folder
if they are on a private address book)
- if you reply to the email, as well as being stored in the sent folder, it
get's stored as a reply in that contact's public/private folder

Threading would also occur on a client basis, all emails to & from contacts
associated with a client (i.e. an employee (contact) of a client company
(client)) would appear in that client's folder.

Threading would occur on a project basis as well.

I would say that mostly clients would contains projects and projects would
contain contacts threads. i.e. there would be the ability to have contact's
email threads emails directly under a client's public folder, but this would not
usually be the case.

When a client initiates a thread, there is a problem in that a contact may be
associated with more than 1 project & the user will need to indicate (context
menu?) which project the email is pertaining to. there should also be an option
(prefs) for whether if a contact is only associated with one project, then it
automatically goes in that project.

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Use thunderbird & notice the lacking features :p

Actual Results:  
Was still utterly baffled by the complexities (& brittleness??) of LDAP

Comment 1

14 years ago
if anyone has any comments/suggestions/criticisms, this is also a call for those
to be posted, as I have a will, but am very far from knowing the way.

Any help in that area would be appreciated.

Comment 2

14 years ago
this is really a superset of bug #214304
Depends on: 214304

Comment 3

13 years ago
(In reply to comment #1)
> if anyone has any comments/suggestions/criticisms, this is also a call for those
> to be posted, as I have a will, but am very far from knowing the way.
> Any help in that area would be appreciated.

I am very happy to see that someone is looking into the shared address book. 
One major disadvantage of LDAP is that it extremely arcane and bewildering for
new users.  I am generally very proficient with Linux and Windows, including
"server" applications, but LDAP absolutely baffles me.  And the fact that write
support is not available from Thunderbird makes it almost useless for the
average user.  Not a good solution for a typical small office.  I think that
somehow allowing us to set the location of abook.mab in prefs.js ( ) as Netscape and very early
builds of Thunderbird used to allow, would be the easiest hack.  Would it be
possible to diff the code between current builds and the old builds, in order to
figure out where ability to set the location of abook.mab got broken?

There have been a huge number of requests for a shared abook during the past few
weeks- looks like a must-have feature.  Unfortunately I'm not smart enough to
fix this issue, but I'd be eager to test anything out.  Thanks for considering
this bug!!

Comment 4

13 years ago
A shared address book (or entire profile) would be very cool.

I run sendmail/procmail on one machine, and Thunderbird clients on several
others, using IMAP. This allows me to access "one" copy of e-mail, instead of
each client using POP3 and keeping their own copies.

Tonight I just started reading the FAQ files etc about profiles and so on, and
thought "Hey! Wouldn't it be cool if my entire profile were stored on the server
so no matter which machine I logged on as, I'd have MY settings, and MY address
book etc.

I'm not sure how big the profile is... but how about this for a "solution" (or
build on this idea? Keep the profile on the IMAP server as some sort of "special
message" that Thunderbird checks when connecting to look for new mail.

If the addressbook changes, changes are reflected back to the server... some
form of file locking is needed to prevent simultaneous updates, but that
shouldn't be a big deal as the same user isn't likely to making address
book/setting changes from two different clients at the same time.

Obviously some of thebasics have to stay with the client all the time.. mail
server address, connection type (POP3/IMAP)... what else? User and password can
be prompted for once at startup.

Well, just an idea... :-)

Comment 5

13 years ago
*** Bug 304440 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 6

13 years ago
ref seamonkey bug 142908

Comment 7

12 years ago
Sharing Addressbooks - Some Ideas & Refs (we are not alone)

Sharing an Address Book via an LDAP Server using Thunderbird - Using OpenLDAP as an Address Book - ldap-abook - Installing an LDAP addressbook
HowTo Create a Global Address Book to store external address - Building an Address Book with OpenLDAP
Moving Outlook/vCards to an LDAP Address Book? - LDAP Browser-Editor Java appl - phpLDAPadmin: LDAP browser to manage your LDAP server - LDAP Explorer webdev - Addressbook2LDAP MacOSX - Creating LDAP address book entries to share - Shared Address Books for Microsoft Outlook - GAIM Addressbook - Novell LDAP Address Book

Comment 8

12 years ago
An idea for a shared address book, at least for IMAP users....

I noticed TB uses a .subscriptions file in the base mail directory so other clients all use the shared subscription list.

An addressbook doesn't need to be much more complicated than a simple tab-delimited list of fields in a flat file.

The mechanism must be in place to lock/modify/unlock the .subscriptions file... how much work is it to do the same with a .addresses file (or whatever you want to call it)

That doesn't make the address book shareable amongst different users, but it would go a long way to helping people hat use the TB client on different machines and use IMAP to get the mail etc at a "central site".


Comment 9

12 years ago
It's the imap server creating the .subscriptions file, not TB.

TB's solution would be to store the address book info in a message in a folder...
QA Contact: address-book

Comment 10

10 years ago
My request is a subset of this discussion, I think.

I use Thunderbird on two machines, connected on a local net - a desktop and a laptop.  With "Map Network Drive", the laptop connects to the desktop.  Then on the laptop, I set the "Local directory" field in the Server Settings of Account Settings to point to the mail folder on the desktop.

As is discussed at length in the Forum, the Address Book is not as easily shared between the two machines.

So, my request is to be able to tell Thunderbird where to find Address Books, as easily as I can tell it where to find mail files.  My apologies if I'm repeating what's already been said, but it didn't jump out at me.


9 years ago
Assignee: mscott → nobody

Comment 11

9 years ago
I have clients that wish to have dual-boot capabilities between Windows and Linux. Having an email client that can have pointers to the same mail folders, as Thunderbird can do, is wonderful and allows them to check email regardless of what OS they are in. Thank you for that capability! The only hitch is that their address book and calendar [Lightning] do not have that same capability so they must choose which OS will be their base OS and make all changes there and then not see them in the other OS unless they do another Import after dumping their previously imported information. Quite an unnecessary hassle if the address book and the calendar files where treated the same as the mail folder. Request: Have Address Book and Calendar file folders treated the same as the mail folders with pointers to their file locations. Thanks...

Comment 12

9 years ago
(In reply to comment #11)
> Request: Have Address Book and Calendar file folders treated the same as the
> mail folders with pointers to their file locations. Thanks...

I'm sure it is not as simple as that. The mail messages themselves are "easy", just use the IMAP protocol instead of POP... With IMAP the messages actually stay on the mail server so are available from various clients simultaneously.

Things like address/contact lists tend to be "proprietary" formats... well, the format may be "open", but I mean that each mail client will implement them differently.

Perhaps the "solution" is to write an RFC defining a "standard" way to store contact information on a mail server. Of course it would have to extensible as some clients will want to store more/less information than others.

Once an RFC exists and is adopted, then the requirement for T'bird just becomes... be RFCxx compliant. 

Easier said than done.

Comment 13

9 years ago
Why not use LDAP?
And just set up a "remote" calendar on your intranet.

Comment 14

9 years ago
Thanks everyone for your reply. I think that my request is being confused with other topics included under this bug. My request has nothing to do with IMAP. It only pertains to where we locate files when you setup Thunderbird using POP. There is an option in Thunderbird under "Account Settings/ Server Settings/ Local directory" where you can specify where you would like your Local Folders placed. That allows you to put in anywhere on the local hard drive in any partition you would like. If you place it in a separate FAT32 'Files' partition somewhere like <F:/Files/T-bird> you can do the same thing in Linux and point to the same file location. Thus, in either OS, it is looking at the same mail folders. The only thing my client is requesting is that the Address Book and Lightning data folders also have that same ability so that when they update their Calendar or Address Book in Linux they will see that update when they are in Windows as they are looking at the same folder. So it is not so complex for those who know where the pointers are presently located in the code for the data files for both the Address Book and Lightning. Is that a little clearer? There are already pointers to where this data is located as the default. It would be nice if these pointers were allowed to be changed like it is with the email folders. Thanks,
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