Mozilla Thunderbird is not one of the applications that I would consider outstanding from a vanilla installation. What make Thunderbird exceptional is its ability to have extensions; to make the program be more than what it is. To have functions that it wouldn’t normally have…
This is where you can think of third-party providers for developing and supporting Thunderbird in making it so extremely popular with its users.
Up to about two months ago I’ve been struggling with the idea of converting off of Thunderbird onto something else. It’s difficult to come to a decision to switch to different software package after you’ve been using something for so long and have become so accustomed to using.
Thunderbird is an application that I would recommend to my friends and family are regular basis. It was free, it was portable, it was fast and it could be customized to do all kinds of things; and since they were using it and I was using it was much easier to support.
But during the beta releases of Thunderbird, while it was being developed, I really felt that the team at Thunderbird was really letting down the user base [...] they weren’t interesting with the users were really looking for and that perhaps maybe the next release of Thunderbird with simply be a slightly improved GUI with a bunch of bug fixes- I wasn’t far from the mark.
There were a lot of features added to Thunderbird with version 3 that helped the functionality and the stability of the application, but what really was lacking with Thunderbird was the social ability to interact with the users and people that were sending e-mails to you.
Initially, I was looking for a way to communicate with contacts in Thunderbird with instant messaging. I was looking for a method that would communicate on all the instant messaging protocols so that I could connect with those people immediately or see if those people were online so I can communicate with them; so I could keep in contact were often and not so formal.
I consider e-mail to be a very formal way of trying to communicate with people.
In the process of doing always searches and research for Thunderbird, I found a plug-in for Thunderbird that really changed the way Thunderbird function and maybe use and interaction of Thunderbird more entertaining; this got me thinking about what other things could I add to Thunderbird to make Thunderbird more competitive with other e-mail client’s. But at the same time keeping the number of plug-ins to a minimum…
This is what I settled upon…
- Display mail user agent
This plug-in is actually very simple in nature and it provides a simple function which is to identify the e-mail client that the other user was utilizing when they composed the e-mail. This is useful if you’re dealing with new users or unknown users and he gives you a better understanding, and rationale about which users are using what e-mail clients. It just enhances the experience of utilizing Thunderbird.
- Google contacts
This plug-in takes the contacts from Thunderbird and synchronizes them with Google. Having the contacts synchronized and Google with Thunderbird is very convenient because if you don’t have access to Thunderbird, and you’re working remotely, you don’t have to remember the exact person’s e-mail address, because the contact information is already in the system and it’s been synchronized. I find this plug-in extremely useful.
Lightning for Thunderbird is a plug-in that allows Thunderbird to have a calendar functionality that can link up with Google; it works in conjunction with ‘provider for Google calendar’, but I really can’t imagine using Thunderbird without the lightning plug-in. lightning at the calendar functionality so that you see your tasks and your events, but you can also create and modify events from the calendar as well.
- Provider for Google calendar
This plug-in is utilized in conjunction with lightning for the reasons stated above. I would never update lightning without having a matching update for this plug-in as well.
- Right-click watch ignore
I utilize the newsgroups to collect a certain amount of information and typically think that you can get faster results by using the newsgroups on very different topics, but while Thunderbird can handle news group traffic it’s not a newsgroup focused application and sometimes you need a little assistance in locating threads that were created by you or include conversations by you. I like to use this plug-in to simply mark conversations that I think are important for once I would like to come back and check on later.
SOCIALMAIL has been the single greatest improvement to the functionality of Thunderbird in the past couple of years. Within just a few short months social Mail has easily become one of my most utilized and most popular plug-ins for Thunderbird. SOCIALMAIL is the equivalent of Xobni for Microsoft Outlook; it provides a great deal of like functions. from being able to see current conversations, recently exchanged files, or asked to go so far as to pull that user’s current putter activity and display that inside Thunderbird. You can even post to twitter from inside Thunderbird. It also integrates with Skype.
Webmail is absolutely necessary for Thunderbird if you have Hotmail, or Yahoo Mail accounts. Webmail is a gateway that allows Thunderbird to check and send e-mails using these web based e-mail accounts. Webmail is updated regularly, and so far I’ve had great success with utilizing it.
- Keeping in mind that my goal was to keep Thunderbird as slender as possible while having the most functionality. I understand that plenty of people say that there’s other plug-ins that are must haves for the everyday use of Thunderbird, and I understand that; but that wasn’t my goal.
- I hope this list of plug-ins for Thunderbird helps you in finding, or building, your perfect e-mail client.
- What plug-ins or extensions to you think, that you use, that make Thunderbird e-mail client of choice?
Hope this helps.
L. Henry Jr.