Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thunderbird 2.0

As reported on countless news sites and blogs Mozilla has released Thunderbird 2.0. I love Thunderbird and extensively use it for reading email, newsgroups, and RSS feeds.

I actually read more through Thunderbird (thanks to RSS) than I do through my browser. As a Thunderbird power user I thought I'd post a few thoughts on some of the new features offered in 2.0.

"Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email."

This could be helpful especially with the support for custom tags and Thunderbird's search functionality. It will be some time before I start tagging things, thanks primarily to my extensive message filtering, but I thought it was of interest.

"Advanced Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders."

I like this feature most because of the ability to switch your view to see only unread folders. When you have a ton of RSS feeds split into different folders or a long list of email folders fed with filters having the ability to just view the unread folders can help cut down your scrolling and search time.

"Easy Access to Popular Web Mail Services: Gmail and .Mac users can access their accounts in Thunderbird by simply providing their user names and passwords."

I tried my GMail account and it worked well. I don't get a lot of mail on GMail, but I could see where people would really like this feature.

"Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder."

I saw this in action for half a second and couldn't get Thunderbird to display the summary pop up again. From what I saw it looked like an easy way to quickly glance at messages in a specific folder. Hopefully I'll (or Mozilla) will figure out why this feature doesn't always work.

"Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance."

These "saved search folders" look similar to sub folders and you could probably do the same thing with a folder and filter combination, but having the ability to keep your messages in one folder and simply save your searches is a big help. The folders do load fast so whatever Thunderbird did with caching seems to have worked well.

You can get a full list of the release notes here. Everything else didn't really apply to me directly so I didn't feel like commenting. If you have the older version of Thunderbird I'd suggest you upgrade and try out all the new goodies.

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