Thunderbird Arrives! Some features are killer, others should be killed!

ThunderbirdLast night I loaded up Mozilla Thunderbird to test it out. Thunderbird is Firefox’s cousin… the Email Client. Once I downloaded a theme or two and changed all my preferences, I’ve got it running quite nicely. It’s a pretty nice email client, with the additional features of Gmail integration and tagging.

Tagging is the ability to drop some keywords that you make up and assign them to any object, in this case an email. This allows you to easily search and find items by the tag you assigned. Nice feature… tagging is something we’re seeing a lot of these days on the Internet (I love using tagging of URLs).

There is one feature I found in Thunderbird that absolutely drove me crazy, though… mapping fields when importing my Address Book. The interface is useless and frustrating to no end.

Thunderbird Import Address Book

To map a field, you select the field from your file and move it up or down to align it with the field in Thunderbird. The only problem is when you move your field up or down, it relocates the field that was originally there the opposite direction. At times, it also duplicated the fields in my view. I’m not sure who thought up this scheme but it’s ridiculous. They should have simply had combination boxes with the Thunderbird fields in them. As you select each field from your source file, you should simply be able to select the Thunderbird field to map it to.

Thunderbird, please KILL this terrible interface. I eventually gave up on importing all my fields and just imported name and email address. If a database marketer with enterprise database experience can’t map fields, I’m guessing very few other people are finding this easy to use. If you want folks to adopt your email client, you should make sure they can easily move their address books from one client to another. This was impossible.


  1. 1

    A big whoop-dee-doo 🙂 I’ve tried TB in all it’s interations and have never found it something worth sticking with; but then I’m not a FF fan either.

    When I read that they were going to be adding a tagging feature I had high hopes as this was something that I had gotten use to with FeedDemon and Technorati tagging. However what TB is calling tagging is not much more than a slight variation of the standard Flags or some such system.

    If the true concept of tagging was implemented then you should be able to have them created as sub folders and/or associate with created sub-folders that can be linked into a rules system.

    that’s not to say I use the latest version of MS clients either. I found my choice my spending $20.00 for InScribe (Linux version as well plus an upcoming Mac port) and I haven’t looked back since.

    • 2

      I’m a huge FF fan. If you do any web programming, FF is fantastic. The add-ons for Firebug and Live HTTP Headers are priceless and have helped me out a ton. I just loaded up a new add-on that allows me to reskin sites with my own CSS as well… it’s lots of fun.

      Give Firefox a chance! I can take or leave Thunderbird, though. I’m going to run it for a while and I’ll report back if I find some other cool differences.

      Thanks Steven!

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