MailNews Talk:Address Book

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This page is for discussion of new ideas for new features for Address Book.

If you want to help develop for the address book please see the developers page for more information.

Please also enter your sig when commenting against other entries - that way it should make it easier for keeping track of who's commenting where.

Ideas so far:

  • Now we have a ContactField and a ListField , but often you also have just a company or an organization in your addressbook, and there it would be useful to have also something of a hierarchy inside - or just extend the ListField with more informations like this. As well, it agrees with the request for an location information (as described below) (If I Just want to contact a company, but don't need a specific person)

--Gregor202 14:25, 4 June 2008 (PDT)

  • PCSync - we need PCSync-Support to manage contacts with Palm and PDAs
  • Manage Contacts in Trees and SubTrees per Address-Book to categorical the Address-Book-Entries
  • serverless Instant Messenger PQI-.XPGP-OpenPGO File (Contact address of retroshare protocol)
  • Birthday interlink with optional Calendar (e.g. Sunbird-Project)
  • Opportunity to create new forms (see MS-Outlook 2003 ;-)
  • Certificate GnuPG interlink with optional GnuPG-Plugin (e.g. Enigmail-Project)
  • X.509 Certificate(-s) linked/attached in the Address Book card. More conformance to vCard and/or its flavors (, hCard etc.). The attached certificates should be used as an alternative way to retrieve the certificate of the recipient for encryption --Nad2000 06:37, 8 November 2006 (PST)
  • Quick-Filter for Address-Entries as a ToolBar with Entries A, B, ..., Z (see MS-Outlook 2003 ;-)
    • Is this something like a view list which is actually filtering displayed entries? --Standard8 14:11, 7 Oct 2005 (PDT)
      • Yes. Thats entries where the contact is beginning with A, B, ..., or Z. --Griffin 00:09, 8 Oct 2005 (GMT+01:00)
  • Prevent Double Entries
    • Define "Double Entries"... just the email address the same? or the whole card? Some people want two cards with the same email address. --Standard8 14:11, 7 Oct 2005 (PDT)
      • Double Enrtrie = The same email address. Two cards for the same email address isn't favorable. In Future I hope we have List of email address with the affiliated Display Name. What should one need 2 cards for an electronic mail address still then for? --Griffin 00:12, 8 Oct 2005 (GMT+01:00)
      • 2 different people using the same email address. Though if we do it right, then perhaps it won't be entirely necessary. --Standard8 03:21, 8 Oct 2005 (PDT)
        • Ok, this is an argument. I probably don't have one could carry out this problem about a query taken into account this case because such a fall from my circle of friends isn't known to me; -). The Address book simply likes to ask the user like him it liked... --Griffin 13:53, 9 Oct 2005 (GMT+01:00)
        • Please consider also some small self-help groups with an group account, where the email address (which one is it?) could be the same. Pls. think also about people/contacts with NO email address, where we would need a key consisting of the email address(es) AND the name.--YinYang 02:34, 23 October 2006 (PDT)
        • I think "Double Entry" needs to be a flexible definition. There's too many variables involved. In general two attributes define a user in the context of an address book: Name and Email Address. Email addresses will be strictly defined and match easily. Names require some level of fuzzy matching. If one attempts to add or update a record that "matches" (based upon email and/or fuzzy name match) then the option should be presented to the user to REPLACE, CANCEL, MERGE or DUPLICATE the entry. There may be reasons for duplicate entries in an address book. The MERGE option should present a dialog displaying the fields of both entries with radio buttons to select those that should be included. --Cheakamus 09:06, 18 November 2006 (PST)

Does a time schedule already exist when the new address book will be completed or when you shall start with the innovations? Within 76 days is Christmas and the ideal Christmas present would be a new address book ;) --Griffin 16:33, 9 Oct 2005 (GMT+01:00)

Sorry, no time schedule. At the moment there are only a couple of people actively working on address book & they don't have a lot of time to spare (including me).

We're not planning on rewrite all the current code/redesigning the whole thing either. Certain things also really should happen before/alongside others e.g. clean-ups to the back end, fixing drag & drop - getting the basics working a bit better. We're always willing to accept patches from others. So if you want to try and help please do. --Standard8 12:15, 11 Oct 2005 (PDT)

globally working addressbook maps

The map feature in addressbook is localizable, but it doesn't allow for mapping functionality in other countries. For example, I can't get a good map of a polish address in an en-US build, or get a good map of Brasilia in a German build.

In my head, maps are like fonts, wherever you are, which build you use, you should get a good display of whichever address. Thus, we should include good maplinks for all countries where we have one. As addresses are often saved in the format that some person likes, and not in the one the map provider does (country names, spelling etc), we should probably have a few words with fuzzy matches (e.g. Polska, Poland, Polen...), and the corresponding provider query string, likely with the country already filled in in the preferred format. Maybe we can add a special set of localized country names to each locale, so that the main build would cover the native language plus English, French, Spanish and a few others, and each localization could add a bunch of further mappings in their language. That should likely cover most use cases, I guess. --AxelHecht 05:12, 14 Oct 2005 (PDT)

Ultimate AddressBook - Relational/Associative

My ultimate wish for an addressbook make it relational(ish). Not heavyweight relational; maybe relational is not even the right term, maybe associative is better.

What I want is the ability to "normalize" my contacts, in database kind of way. Each entry is a location or a person or whatever, and each entry has attributed like phone number or address. And then there's the relationships between them (familial [relative, spouse/SO, friend, ...], location<->person, ...).

Use case

Several people live at the same location (that's the relationship between each person and the location). A location has an address, and can have a phone number. A person can have a phone number (mobile, since land line is associated with the location). Stuff like that. If I have 4 entries for different people at the same location (office, home, whatever) and that location changes its number, I only want to have to change it once, not 4 times.

Similarly for individual vs. company (i.e. location) email addresses.

File Formats and Export/Import

I'd like to see the import/export formats expanded. I believe the current PDA/Cell/iPod standard is VCARD, so this would be first. The future of the internet seems to heavily use XML, so I'd suggest developing towards that eventuality. There are already google-able pages up on RDF-VCARD formats in XML.

I see the double-email and associative/relational issues as issues of Object Definition.

What are the individual objects? [object ratio, ie- #Entry:#Objects] As I understand it, the VCARD 3.0 is: (correct me if i'm wrong, and these are only the fields I think important)

  • AddressBook Entry
    • Name [1:1]
      • Display Name / Formatted Name [1:1]
      • Family Name / Last Name [1:1]
      • Given Name / First Name [1:1]
      • Suffixes and Prefixes
    • Address [1:*]
      • Type: Home, Work, etc.
    • Phone [1:*]
      • Type: Voice, Fax, Pager, Modem, Home, Work, Mobile [1:1] (string of all that apply)
      • Value: The actual phone number, in x.500
    • Email [1:*]
      • Type: Home, Work, etc.
      • Value: actual email address
    • URL [1:*]

Contact merging isn't straightforward, reliably doing so would require a GUID for each contact, and that's not going to happen until Big Brother fully exists. However, during a "merge" or "compact", suspected duplicates could pop up a dialog box with both sets of info like:

( ) Name: John Public         |   (*) Name: John Q. Public
[x] Phone: +1-800-555-5555    |   [x] Phone: +1-555-800-5555

and so on...

and you'd click the checkboxes you want in the merged contact. In the case of addresses and phone numbers, multiples can be checked, whereas for Name, only 1 can be chosen (radiobutton).

Contact Input Dialog

This needs to incorporate the possibility of many more address, phone, URL, and email objects, including the ability to have many of the same type (ie. more than 1 HOME email, more than 1 WORK phone) Outlook had these capabilities, and so should this project.

This is already under consideration - see MailNews:Address_Book_Card_Fields --Standard8 09:44, 17 Jan 2006 (PST)

"Show all mail from this contact"

Quite simple really, but a nice feature would be to show all mails from a certain contact. It is quite simple, since you already can do that with a search, but it would be more intuitive to do it directly from the adress book. For instance as a context menu item (right click). --Audunmb 07:11, 28 May 2006 (PDT)

I second this idea. In MS Outlook it is called Contact's Activities Tab which is a very neat feature, because it lists all available information referring to one person/contact. There, not only emails, but all interactions (emails, calendar items, notes) with one person is listed. This saves lots of time, if you have to manage contacts to many people and want to keep track of activities with them. I assume that this issue refers to Lightning as well due to the calendar related information. --Gerald 07:11, 25 July 2007 (PDT)

"Share a Address Book between computer users"

A nice feature would be the possibility to share the Address Books by several users (with different login) on a same computer. That could be done if we can move the file with the addresses on the share folder. But unfortunately we cannot choose the location the address file in Thunderbird.

--ras_michael 07:11, 31 October2006 (PDT)

In the same way, I found a lot of people that would be interested in sharing the address book on the network (in an easy way).

--Regislessent 04:21, 15 November 2007 (PST)

Funambol Mozilla Addressbook Synchronizer

A new Funambol plugin has been added to This is the Mozilla Addressbook synchronizer, which enable Mozilla users to synchronize contacts between Mozilla Thunderbird and the Funambol server. This is the first Alpha version, and works with Thunderbird 1.5.0.* on windows platform only, Linux version will be available soon... You can find the Mozilla plugin here: Funambol Plugin

Thunderbird: Sub-Address Folders

One of the features I like in other address book programs is the ability to organize my contacts by sub folders, i.e.:

Main folder name: Business

 Sub under Business: Construction
   Sub under Business: Construction: 123 Company
     Sub under Business: Construction: 123 Company: employee 1
     Sub under Business: Construction: 123 Company: employee 2

   Sub under Business: Construction: XYZ Company
     Sub under Business: Construction: XYZ Company: employee 1
     Sub under Business: Construction: XYZ Company: employee 2

Main folder name: Family

 Sub under Family: Sons
   Sub under Family: Sons: Son1
     Sub under Family: Sons: Son 1: GSon1
     Sub under Family: Sons: Son 1: GDaughter1
   Sub under Family: Sons: Son2
     Sub under Family: Sons: Son2: GSon1
     Sub under Family: Sons: Son2: GDaughter1
 Sub under Family: Daughters
   Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter1
     Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter1: GSon1
     Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter1: GDaughter1
   Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter2
     Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter2: GSon1
     Sub under Family: Daughters: Daughter2: GDaughter1

I think you get the idea. Anyway, if there is some extension or this exists in the current folder, please let me know.

Tags and Saved Searches for Address Book

I can search my e-mail against a number of fields, but I can only search the address book for name or e-mail address in the address book window. The Advanced Address Book Search is powerful, but the only thing I can do with the results is write an e-mail - I'd like to be able to add tags to results or add them to an address list.

So what I'd like to see for the address book is:

  • Tags
  • Improved search (against more fields)
  • Saved searches - say against organisation, or a tag
  • Adding multiple selections from the address book to lists
  • Actions for results of the Advanced Address Book Search, such as tag, add to list etc.

More interactive features: VoIP calls, e-maps, richer context menus

First of all, the visiting card text should be selectable and copyable. The IM, or instant messaging protocols should be recognized by the addressbook, for example those supported by Pidgin - the AIM is no longer The Only One, and the AddressBook seems to only support AIM, making it useless to store other IM contact data there.

In Poland, for example, the most popular is Gadu-Gadu, with links in the form gg:000000 .

The phone numbers should be displayed as links of the callto protocol ( callto:+48000000000 ), just as email's mailto: links are. Then, one wouldn't need any addons to use Skype, voipdiscount or any other VoIP telephony software / callto protocol handler. In Firefox, one can deal with this ignrance towards phone number data by using greasemonkey scripts, which recognize phone numbers and chenge them into callto: links, but it's not possible to use it in Thunderbird. I'm thinking of an extension for Thunderbird, but including in the addressbook would be much better.

It should be easier to choose the map used for finding addresses, than directly changing the setting in settings editor.

The context menu of a contact should also have an option to call the person, like in phones, giving a choice which phone number to use.

More integration of addressbook is needed with Firefox. Firefox should enable adding contacts and addresses to the addressbook, using the microformats.

Greetings, Njpl (sorry, don't know how to sign using the wiki properly - maybe a button like in Wikipedia would be a good idea?)

remote addressbook

i use IMAP for my mail server. could you make Thunderbird store the addressbook on the mailserver, maybe in its own IMAP folder or something?

users then could configure Thunderbird on a new PC, and on first (or each) run it could sync the addressbook with the remote stored version.

or maybe it doesn't even need a local version, just a remote version. This would solve a lot of problems.

mjethanandani 7/11/08

Is this not LDAP? What we need is the addressbook to be able to update the entries in LDAP based with the right set of permissions. That can solve the problem of private addressbook (a database entry for each user) and a shared addressbook.