Sep 202006

The first thing I noticed this morning is that if the message list window isn’t in the front, and I double click on a message in the list, the wrong message opens up.

It’d also be nice if I could click on the “read” toggle next to a message without bringing the window to the front first. Just accept the click and move on.

More frustrating is that it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to attach files to an outgoing email. I’ve gotten used to just dragging files into the content area of my messages in Apple Mail, and that doesn’t work in Thunderbird. Instead, it seems you have to click the little paperclip icon then select files. Maybe once the attachment list is open, you can drag into that. I’ve not tried it yet. This is really non-obvious to people that don’t have long-term experience with email software; the way Mail does it is, to me, much more natural.

I’ve not yet been driven back to Mail, although I will say that I’m pretty sure that I will switch back sometime in the next day or two. The spam filter in TB is clearly not as good as SpamSieve, and the lack of Address Book integration is killing me softly.

Other than those two issues, I could probably be reasonably happy in Thunderbird, although I’d probably grumble about the things I see as quirks or problems on and off.

This isn’t to say that Apple Mail is perfect (heck, no). It’s clearly designed for people with lesser mail handling needs than myself, but it does a pretty admirable job of coping with people like me, and I’m the type of guy that would rather accept limitations in capability over limitations in usability. So it works for me.

I really hope to see TB spiffed up to the point where I want to use it, because I still want to like it. And while I don’t hate it anymore, it still feels very old-school, reminding me a lot of the first email program I used on my first Mac back in 1994: Eudora Lite 1.3 or so.

 Posted by at 10:57 AM

  14 Responses to “TB experiment: another day, another quirk”

  1. BTW: In SeaMonkey on Windows you can drag’n’drop files into the attachments area. Seems like the attachment area is hidden by default in Thunderbird? But yeah, dropping files in the content area does not work there either: In plain text editor you cannot drop files at all, in the HTML editor it inserts a HTML link when you drop a file.

  2. Drag files to the adress part of you compose window.

  3. Dragging an attachment into the body of a message only works if the attachment is an image and you’re in HTML compose mode (because then the image goes right where you drop it in the messages). If you actually want to attach it, drag the file into the message addressing area (whether or not the attachment panel is open). The attachment panel should open when you drag the file overtop of the addressing area, then you can drop the attachment into it.

  4. Hm. That’s non-obvious, since the attachment isn’t an address. :)

  5. Good call, I’ve always dragged it into the address box, but you are right. I think any file dropped into the compose part should be attached. The issue here though is what do you do when a user drops an image? Should it go in-line or be attached? I think both, but that is just me. How does Mail handle dropping images?

  6. Mail embeds images, but since you can drag and drop them out of a received message, that’s perfectly usable. Plus there’s an option to display images inline or as attachments.

  7. Could we check first if it’s embeddable in the email, then attach it or embed it as appropriate?

    Having checked what Outlook does, it seems to just attach everything, including images. I think dragging images into the email should embed them rather than attach them. Images can still be attached using the previous two mechanisms.

  8. With regards to the Apple Address book – reasons have been given why using this as the TB address book would be a bad idea. However, there’s a few options here that aren’t just “use it” or “ignore it”.

    TB should be able to import the Apple address book into its main address book. There are considerations to be made, such as:

    – is this a one time import or does it need to be kept in sync?
    – does it overwrite your TB address book?
    – if kept in sync, what happens when you delete an entry from the Apple Address book? (probably, it should be able to delete it from the TB address book unless it’s been [1] used there and/or [2] added there from another source)

    A way to export (preferably automatically) to the apple address book would also undoubtedly be handy. Similar issues to the above.

  9. Sorry for the comment-spam :D just wanted each distinct subject separate.

    Last thing for now – could you, when you are done, come up with a list of bugzilla bugs that match all the issues you’ve brought up, in a nice overview somewhere? At the least, it will be useful for tracking these issues, at best, it could serve as a ‘call to arms’ to deal with them.

  10. Ian, is there a bug or another reference as to why using the apple address book would be a bad idea?

    Actually, there seems to be a patch by peterv in (don’t comment, unless you have something on the patch there, just to save Peter’s life), to get at least read access.

  11. I don’t like the idea of just syncing to the OS X address book particularly; it’s pretty easy to link right into it, so I’m unclear on any reasons not to do it.

    I will post a list of affiliated bug links once I’m done going through all this stuff. Probably will look for existing bugs and file new ones as necessary today or tomorrow, and will post a list then.

  12. I’d prefer the option to use the OSX address book as well. I don’t like the emal program having it’s own little hidden address book, because there are situations where I would like other programs to have access to those contacts. This is actually the single biggest reason I switched from TB to Apple Mail on my ibook, and from TB to Evolution on my Ubuntu-based PC.

    As for imbedded images, ugh. I always want everything attached because I’m a plain text email nut. If it were left to me, html emails would be banned. :)

  13. I totally agree; HTML email blows. I don’t want images embedded. I want to just drag them into the content to attach them. And I like viewing them inline, too, for that matter, although that’s not as big a deal to me.

  14. Oh crap I did the drag and drop attachment into the message body thing, and it DELETED MY FILE. The body of the email says the text location of the file I wanted to attach, but the link doesn’t go anywhere and now MY FILE IS GONE!!! What am I supposed to do now???

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