Posts Tagged synchronization

Version 0.4.0rc6 Released

I have released version 0.4.0rc6 (click on Development Channel).  This contains the last planned features for version 0.4.0 so if all goes well I hope to release 0.4.0 in June.

Changes since 0.4.0rc5

  • Added more People fields (number is configurable)
  • Added a button to reset all gContactSync settings
  • Added an Anniversary field that is synchronized with Google (reset/replace from server to get these fields)
  • Photos are only uploaded or downloaded if they have changed instead of if the contact has change

Changes since version 0.3


  • New Account Wizard
  • The first sync merges existing contacts and groups/mailing lists
  • Postal addresses are synchronized by default
  • gContactSync uses Thunderbird’s existing address fields now that Google parses addresses
  • Added Postbox 3 support
  • Minor Accounts dialog changes
  • Added an option to sync only the selected address book to the AB context menu
  • Prevents a duplicate master password prompt when Thunderbird is started
  • Miscellaneous improvements to importing contacts
    • Contacts are merged when possible.  Note that most sources only have display names and photos, so gContactSync only merges contacts with identical names
    • Better UI for picking the destination address book
    • Updated twitter import to use their newest API
    • Removed import sources that have taken down their APIs (Plaxo, MySpace, etc.)
  • Removed the “Other” tab on the preferences dialog.  This just caused confusion and I don’t know of anyone who actually used it.  The feature is still there, but only customizable through the Config Editor.
  • Better handling and mitigation of 503 (Service Unavailable) errors.
  • Button to clean up old contact photos (TB and gContactSync can both leave old photos behind)
  • Uses the new chat fields in Thunderbird instead of adding new fields
  • Website types/labels are now displayed in the contact view pane
  • Added a preference for a timeout for HTTP requests
  • Added a checkbox for the TB preference to show chrome errors in the error console
  • Added more People fields (number is configurable)
  • Added a button to reset all gContactSync settings
  • Added an Anniversary field that is synchronized with Google (reset/replace from server to get these fields)
  • Photos are only uploaded or downloaded if they have changed instead of if the contact has changed

Bug Fixes

  • Treat infinite last modified dates as being older
  • Fixed a strict JavaScript warning (no functional change)
  • Support for empty extended property value names (Other tab of the Preferences dialog)
  • Prevents a duplicate master password prompt when Thunderbird is started
  • Makes sure that the dummy e-mail address is added to a contact if it is being edited from the mailing list.
  • Bug fix for the preference to not sync contact photos (if a new Thunderbird contact had a photo gContactSync would add it to Google)
  • Photos synchronized or imported by gContactSync will still work when gContactSync is disabled or uninstalled (NOTE – this only applies to contacts synchronized or imported starting with 0.4.0a3)
  • Last modified date not set at the correct time, potentially causing a conflict on the next sync after adding a contact
  • Fix for last modified date being updated when a contact is not successfully uploaded to Google
  • Bug fix for persistent “You must login to sync contacts” message after canceling an expired authentication token prompt (NOTE: if you ran into this bug you must follow the instructions here:,521.msg1680.html)
  • Bug fix for changing the type of a website or related person
  • Added a default delay between HTTP requests to mitigate 503 errors from Google (user over quota)
  • Various postal address bug fixes

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gContactSync 0.3.0 Beta 1 Available

I’ve just released the first beta version of 0.3.0. I feel it is ready to be in a beta as there are no known bugs other than some quirks with postal addresses in Google’s API.  For now postal address synchronization is disabled by default, but you can enable it in the Advanced tab of the Preferences dialog.

This version adds support for importing friends from Facebook, including photos.  It can also import contacts from Plaxo and usernames/photos from your friends on MySpace.  Right now the import does not attempt to match contacts that it finds with existing contacts and imports from Facebook and MySpace do not include e-mail addresses.

As a recap, here’s a quick list of the features.  Download link at the bottom.


  • Can synchronize your Google Contacts (external link) (Gmail, Google Apps, etc.) with Mozilla Thunderbird (external link).
  • Supports multiple Google Accounts and Address Books
  • Groups in Google can be synchronized with individual Address Books or mailing lists in one AB
  • Each Address Book can be synchronized with one of the following:
    • All contacts and all groups with mailing lists
    • One specific group
    • All contacts
  • Every synchronized AB can have its own custom settings
  • You can choose to complete synchronize your contacts (so Thunderbird matches Google), to only read changes from Google but never apply TB’s changes, or to only write to Google and never apply changes made remotely.
  • Contact photos are synchronized (only visible in Thunderbird 3 & Seamonkey 2)
  • Supports importing contacts/friends from Facebook, MySpace, and Plaxo, including photos.

Changes from 0.2:

  • The Accounts section of the Preferences dialog has been moved to its own dialog
  • Each Address Book now can have its own preferences (defaulting to their previous value in 0.2) and synchronization settings
  • New fields (“People”) and types for existing fields (many more phone number types)
  • Contact photos are synchronized (only visible in Thunderbird 3 & Seamonkey 2)
  • The birthday field in Thunderbird 3 is synchronized
  • More links in the gContactSync menu
  • The Sync button can now be customized like a normal toolbar button in Thunderbird. However, you must go to View -> Toolbars -> Customize and add the button to the toolbar yourself
  • You can synchronize from the main Thunderbird window
  • The import functionality is new.

You can download the latest version of 0.3 here.

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gContactSync 0.2.8

gContactSync version 0.2.8 has been released.  I realized that I have been forgetting to make a quick blog post about each release, so here’s a basic summary of recent versions.

Download here.

The best way to stay up-to-date on new versions is probably through Twitter: gcontactsync

Supported Applications

  • Thunderbird 2
  • Thunderbird 3 (all versions, including beta 4 and 3.0pre)
  • Thunderbird 3.1a1pre
  • Seamonkey 2 (all versions, including beta 2 and 2.0pre)

Version 0.2.8

  • Fixes ‘broken’ usernames that were able to get an authentication token but failed when trying to get contacts or groups. (usernames only without a domain or with spaces at the beginning or end)
  • Fixed the install.rdf file for Seamonkey

Version 0.2.7

  • Bug fix for renewing expired authentication tokens

Version 0.2.6

  • Updated the Portuguese translation
  • Mailing Lists (groups) in Thunderbird now use their translated names
  • The log moved to the main profile directory

Version 0.2.5

  • Adds the following new languages:
    • Portuguese (devezas on BabelZilla)
    • Russian (Glk63)
    • Spanish (with help from Guillermo Klew from

Version 0.2.4

  • Fixed a bug with adding or renaming groups
  • Minor updates to the Italian translation (thanks ZaZy)

Version 0.3 Update

This deserves its own blog post, but here is a basic summary.  I don’t have a tentative release date yet since this is just a hobby, not a job. Wink

The main delay is described here. College (a full 18 credits) and my job (programming) don’t exactly leave me with much free time, either.


  • Support for Google’s new API
  • Support for downloading contact photos*
  • Synchronized birthday field**
  • ‘Relation’ fields (Mother, Father, Coworker, etc.
  • More phone number types

Potential Features

  • The individual address fields may be synchronized instead of using the new address fields
  • Support for adding, updating, and removing contact photos

*I (among others) worked on contact photos for the Address Book in Thunderbird 3 beta 4/Seamonkey 2.0 Beta 2.  gContactSync 0.3 and up will download photos in all supported applications, but you’ll have to use TB 3 or SM 2 to see them.
**I worked on a birthday field for the address book in Thunderbird 3/Seamonkey 2.  If you use TB 2 the values are synchronized but not displayed.  Google also added a birthday field after the changes were made in Thunderbird.

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gContactSync 0.2.0a2


gContactSync 0.2 takes advantage of Google’s updated and improved API for obtaining and modifying contacts.  Duplicates are allowed which, combined with a rewrite of the synchronization code, provides a significantly faster synchronization process.  The longest delay now seems to be receiving the contacts from Google.  There may be some room for improvement there, but I do not want to make too many changes yet until I make sure that the ones I made did not introduce any bugs.

The new API exposes the system groups, which include  My Contacts, Family, Friends, and Coworkers.  All contacts from the account, including Suggested Contacts are in the synchronized address book.  There is a mailing list for each of the pre-defined system groups and each custom group.

You can download it here, but I rewrote the most important code and there may be bugs I haven’t found in it yet.  I would only advise those who have hundreds or thousands of contacts and receive the “Unresponsive Script” warning to try it.  Please read the upgrade instructions below.

NOTE: Google allows contacts without e-mail addresses, but Thunderbird will break if a contact without an e-mail address is manually added to a mailing list as explained in Bug 20153.  If you encounter that bug in 0.1.x please let me know because it is somewhat difficult to fix and all attempts to synchronize after it breaks will fail.  To avoid this, 0.2 adds an email address “nobody@nowhere.invalid” to any contact without one.  However, only unique e-mail addresses are allowed in mailing lists, so only one contact with an empty e-mail address is allowed per group/mailing list is allowed until o.2.0b1.  The other contacts will appear in the address book only.

Current Features

  • All the features of 0.1
  • Duplicates (multiple contacts with the same e-mail address) are allowed
  • Much faster synchronization
  • Only US English (en-US) until I finish adding features and strings
  • Customization of how addresses are synchronized
  • Default groups are enabled (Family, Friends, Coworkers) as mailing lists in Thunderbird


  • Thunderbird 2.0 or Thunderbird 3.0 (a1pre through the trunk build b3pre) or Seamonkey 2.0 only (not 1.1.x)
  • A Google account or Google-hosted account
  • An Internet connection faster than dialup (DSL, cable, satellite, etc)

Planned Features

  • More locales
  • Maybe
  • Let me know what else you would like, but I can’t promise anything

Upgrade instructions to 0.2.0

  • In the address book, synchronize contacts one last time.
  • Rename the synchronized address book(s), this is just so you have a backup of your contacts.
  • In the main window, go to Tools -> Add-ons -> gContactSync -> Options/Preferences
  • In the Accounts tab, select one account at a time in remove them.
  • Install the new version and restart Thunderbird.  There is no need to remove the previous version first.
  • Open the Address Book window and fill in the information for your first account.

Bugfixes/enhancements from 0.1.x

  • Bug 20527 – Avoid HTTP Request errors when the Address Book window is closed
  • Bug 20509 – Add Seamonkey support
  • Bug 20508 – Consider adding overlay.css to customizeToolbar.xul
  • Bug 20487 – Add shortcut to preferences in the Address Book
  • Bug 20486 – Improve Address Preferences
  • Bug 20352 – Update gContactSync to use Contacts Data API 2
  • Bug 20148 – Default groups dont appear in Thunderbird
  • Bug 19786 – Support for Google’s ‘Most Contacted’ & ‘Suggested Contacts’

Known Bugs:

  • Bug 20153 – Partial fix only – Groups containing contacts without email addresses break in Thunderbird

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