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Make Sunbird shine with extensions

By James Lees on March 17, 2008 (9:00:00 AM)

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Sunbird, Mozilla's calendar application, supports extensions just as Firefox and Thunderbird do. What kind of extensions work with a calendar? How about being able to get a weather forecast when you're setting up a golf date, or exporting your desktop calendar to a Web service?

Extension logo

World Weather+ is a great extension that grabs weather data from the Weather Channel. It displays the current conditions on the left side of Sunbird, below the task section. To get started, download and install the add-on, select the add-on's preferences, and provide it your ZIP code. It will then display your location's current weather conditions along with the option to view the forecast for the next nine days.

We all know how fast birthdays come. Download Birthday Manager and never forget upcoming birthdays. Once the add-on is installed, go to Tools and select the Birthday manager from the drop-down list. Select New birthday, and enter the name and date. You can set it to remind you a week before the birthday or when you start Sunbird, so you can get that card in the mail in time. Unfortunately, this extension does not yet work with the most recent version of Sunbird, 0.7.

If you like Google's Gmail and don't need a messaging application like Thunderbird or Outlook, or you just need a personal calender for your PC, take a look at Provider for Google Calendar. Once you have it set up, it allows you to sync your Sunbird calendar via XML with Google Calendar and Gmail. This extension works great when you need to go from online to offline scheduling.

The FoxClocks extension allows you to view from the status bar a clock in any preset timezones, so you can figure out the timezone difference when scheduling your vacation to Hawaii. Once you have the extension installed and restart Sunbird, you should see the current time in various timezones in your status bar. To change or update the locations and formats of those clocks, right-click on the status bar and click Options. You should then see three tabs with Time Format, Position and Style, and Time and Zone Data settings that you can customize.

Automatic Export lets you easily export and back up your calendars, tasks, and events. In the preferences for the add-on you'll see two modes, normal and backup. Both allow you to choose the location for the calendar to be exported and when the calendars should be exported, such as on application close or restart. They both also allow you to choose the format you wish the calendar to be exported as -- iCalendar, HTML, or CSV. Backup mode differs from normal mode in that it allows you to choose the number of backups you want of your calendars.

Every Monday we highlight a different extension, plugin, or add-on. Write an article of less than 1,000 words telling us about one that you use and how it makes your work easier, along with tips for getting the most out of it. If we publish it, we'll pay you $100. (Send us a query first to be sure we haven't already published a story on your chosen topic recently or have one in hand.)

James Lees is a Web site developer and a college student working on a Microcomputer and Networking degree. He enjoys using Linux and open source software.

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on Make Sunbird shine with extensions

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Forgot this important Thunderbird add-on...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.69.85.120] on March 17, 2008 12:32 PM
Forgot this important Thunderbird add-on... (to store calendar and contacts on IMAP server)

http://www.linux.com/articles/53463?tid=130

" Turn Thunderbird into a collaboration tool

By default, Thunderbird doesn't have a calendar, and it lacks the ability to synchronise data between multiple clients. However, the Calendar plugin combined with the SyncKolab extension can fill the void. You also need an IMAP account, which SyncKolab uses to synchronise the contacts and calendar data. You can either use a local Kolab server or an IMAP email account; the latter option is probably easier.

Start with downloading and installing the Calendar and SyncKolab plugins, then create two folders, Contacts and Calendar, on your IMAP server. To configure SyncKolab's preferences, choose Tools -> Extensions and double-click on SyncKolab. In the Contacts tab, select the address book you want to synchronise, select your IMAP email account, and choose the Contacts folder. If you leave the Save to Imap folder check box unticked, SyncKolab will not upload changes in your calendar and address book, but download any changes from the IMAP account. Finally, use the Sync Contacts and Sync Calendar check boxes to select what data you want to synchronise. In the Calendar tab, select what calendar you want to sync and select the Calendar folder on your IMAP email account. Click OK to save the settings and close the window. Next, you have to add the SyncKolab button to Thunderbird's toolbar. Right-click somewhere on Thunderbird's toolbar and select Customize. Drag the SyncKolab button onto the toolbar and press Done. To start synchronisation, click on the SyncKolab button".

This makes total sense, then migrating between distros or even between a desktop PC and a EeePC or Cloudbook, or "pocket PC" , that is using Thunderbird, is very easy to do.

Migrating from Evolution to Thunderbird and moving contacts, and other evolution stuff, is a HUGE pain in the butt.

Linux Standard Base should have a standard export and migration format between all the major email packages. At some point the computer or the hard drive will die, and before then you will need to move all this stuff to a new computer (and maybe a different distro or email client too)!


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When NOT to use Sunbird... When to use lightning instead! Re: Forgot this important Thunderbird add

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.69.85.120] on March 17, 2008 01:11 PM
When NOT to use Sunbird... When to use lightning instead!


<a href="http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/">Which is right for me?</a>


http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/


Of course the best solution is this one below (and why it is not a default option with Thunderbird is a good question)!


<a href="http://www.linux.com/articles/53463?tid=130">Turn Thunderbird into a collaboration tool</a>


http://www.linux.com/articles/53463?tid=130


"Turn Thunderbird into a collaboration tool By default, Thunderbird doesn't have a calendar, and it lacks the ability to synchronise data between multiple clients. However, the Calendar plugin combined with the SyncKolab extension can fill the void".



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Make Sunbird shine with extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 146.63.158.191] on March 18, 2008 11:14 PM
Don't get me wrong, Sunbird is a great addition to the Mozilla family of products. It fills a gap for sure in the free software world. However, weather, birthdays, and clocks don't really matter. Someone call us when there is a bulletproof way to share an Exchange calendar so us rebels can actually fight Outlook from a defensible position.

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