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A Few More Thunderbird Hiccups

I love Thunderbird. It is a solid application. But I have a few issues with the app, and I am beginning to think about abandoning it. Here is a list of issues that I have with the application:

  • Thunderbird doesn't handle RSS2 feeds properly. The summary (about 256 characters or so) is loaded rather than the full content because of the <description> tags in RSS2. The full post exists in <content:encoded>, which Thunderbird does not know how to handle. All other feed types (Atom, RDF, etc.) seem to behave fine.
  • Attachments that are in plain ASCII text format are shown inline in the email. Because of this, not only are the files viewed inline, but when printing, the attachments are also printed. There is a workaround, though, by activating the 'View' menu then 'Display Attachments Inline'. The only problem with this approach is if there are attachments in an email that has been forwarded to you, they cannot be saved to your desktop unless you unactivate what you just activated. What a pain.
  • Continuing the plain ASCII text format nightmare, sending such text files as attachments behave fine with other Thunderbird users, but if the email is sent to Outlook users, the attachment is shown in the text body of the email, and not as an attachment as it should be. Again, there is a workaround, but the average user is not going to be aware of it, or have the patience to learn how to fix it. The workaround can be found here. Why should I make Thunderbird treat attachments as real attachments? Shouldn't this be enabled by default?
  • Using Thunderbird as my default news reader works for the most part. However, when you subscribe to a new feed, the feeds are ordered with the newest post on the bottom! In fact, it is that way with email too. Again, does this make sense? Where is the logic?
  • Also by default, Thunderbird loads the website rather than just the article when syndicating RSS feeds. You can activate pulling down just the XML, but you need to do this before you read any post from the feed, otherwise, regardless of any setting found in Thunderbird, that feed will always pull the full web page. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the purpose of syndicating news through XML was to save bandwidth and increase speed?
  • When you have a lod of feeds that you have syndicated, there is no way to mark them all as read. You have to mark each feed individually. Very much a pain when you have many feeds syndicated, or when you sign up to a lot of feeds initially. From what I have found, there is no workaround.
  • Finally, I have saved the best for last. Thunderbird has the ability to export all of your news feeds, and it does a great job. However, try importing that OPML file into Thunderbird. It imports, but the feeds never connect to the site as they should. They never pull down any text. Their 100% dead. Now tell me, does that make any sense at all? Sounds like and overlooked bug to me, and no one is willing to do anything about it. Thunderbird even has 'Import' and 'Export' buttons. I guess I don't understand. The app is designed with a cool feature, it just doesn't work.

So, here's the question. Does the Mail application in the Mozilla Suite work any better? I know it handles news feeds, but are the "features" that exist in Thunderbird found in Mozilla Suite? If so, I am not interested.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Matthew Kimber using Firefox 1.5.0.4 on Windows XP | June 17, 2006 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    This is certainly off topic but when are you going to post something on PHP? You posts pertaining to PHP haven't really been developer oriented but rather comments about key placement and installation. I've been messing around with PHP the last few days and thought I would check out what you have to say about it. Hook a brother up with some good ol' PHP advice/opinions/etc.

  2. Aaron using Firefox 1.5.0.3 on Mac OS | June 17, 2006 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    I know. It is easy to get off topic with my posts. This blog was meant to be built around PHP, Python and Perl, but I have posted very little if any about such topics. Reason being, I do very little development or maintenance in those areas. However, more and more Python development is coming aound at work, so I will definitely be posting more there.

  3. Steve Dibb using Mozilla Compatible 5.0 on GNU/Linux 64 bits | June 18, 2006 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Mozilla's Mail application isn't going to be any better -- not to say it isn't worth using (it's my main e-mail app), but all the features are being put into Thunderbird.

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