Where we're at with CardDAV

Mihovil Stanić mihovil at miho.im
Thu Aug 27 05:41:30 UTC 2020

Good job Geoff and everyone involved. Glad to see long standing feature 
requests are getting implemented.
With PGP, CalDAV and new address book in development process future of 
TB looks rosy (unicorns and rainbows). :)

Hopefully after that, or along with that, we can place more focus on TB 
speed and responsiveness or perceived speed and responsiveness.

Good job again, keep it up.


27.08.2020 u 4:04, Geoff Lankow je napisao/la:
> You may already be aware that bits and pieces of CardDAV support have 
> landed in various versions of Thunderbird. This is an appropriate 
> point for me to update you on what Thunderbird can and can't do with 
> regards to CardDAV.*
> *
> /Please note that CardDAV support is *NOT* considered ready for 
> general use./
> *Status of ESR, Thunderbird 78:*
> ESR shipped with the bulk of the pieces in place. Unfortunately there 
> wasn't time to complete the work, and so we're not publicising CardDAV 
> as a feature of 78.
> Currently on ESR, CardDAV can connect to a server and download your 
> contacts, and updates you make to contacts will be sent to the server, 
> but there are no synchronisation abilities. The UI to create a CardDAV 
> address book (File – New – CardDAV Address Book in the Address Book 
> window) is hidden behind the preference mail.addr_book.carddav.enabled.
> *Status of Beta, Thunderbird 81:*
> CardDAV has the ability to do periodic and on-demand synchronisation 
> with the server. You can right click on an address book in the UI and 
> choose synchronise. Automatic synchronisation happens shortly after 
> Thunderbird starts, and every 30 minutes after that, but there's no 
> control it. The preference still exists.
> If you've been trying out earlier versions of the Thunderbird CardDAV 
> implementation, you should remove any directories you created and 
> recreate them. The set-up process now does some things it didn't 
> previously do.
> *Plan for Daily, Thunderbird 82:*
> The final pieces of the initial implementation of CardDAV are in 
> review and are going to land any day now. When they do I'll consider 
> this phase complete and remove the preference.
> *What's been done so far:*
> The origins of Thunderbird's address book system date back to the 
> 1990s and they're deeply entwined with the rest of the program. They 
> are also not very compatible with many of the features of the vCard 
> format, which is used for the exchange of information between client 
> and server.
> A lot of work has gone into modernising Thunderbird's support for 
> vCard. What existed before was the absolute minimum of read/write 
> capabilities for vCard 2.1. vCard 2.1 has since been superseded by 
> vCard 3.0 and 4.0. I have completely replaced Thunderbird's vCard 
> implementation with that of ical.js 
> <https://github.com/mozilla-comm/ical.js/>, which we ship as part of 
> the Thunderbird calendar. Thunderbird can now read and write vCards in 
> versions 3.0 and 4.0, and still (through a variety of hacks) read 
> vCard 2.1.
> To translate vCards into objects the rest of Thunderbird understands 
> (nsIAbCard), without completely rewriting everything, I've created 
> utility functions that translate between the two formats. Not all 
> vCard data can be represented in the nsIAbCard format, so I've tried 
> hard to ensure that Thunderbird can use the most relevant information, 
> and that information doesn't get lost when converting back to vCard. 
> (And yes, for those of you who have read the CardDAV documentation, we 
> do store the original vCard and only modify it as necessary.)
> Finally we took our base address book storage, added the CardDAV 
> protocol to it, and this is where we are today.
> /At this point I'd like to thank the various people who have provided 
> access to different types of servers for testing. That's been very 
> helpful. Thank you./
> *Can I do all of the things CardDAV is capable of, like mark an email 
> address as "home" or "work"?*
> No. Not only is our current format incapable of handling this 
> information, but there is no user interface to do it with. For all 
> intents and purposes, at this stage, a CardDAV address book behaves 
> just like a normal Thunderbird address book, except that changes are 
> relayed to a remote server and updates are retrieved from the server.
> *Will I be able to do these things in the future?*
> Yes. That's the intention anyway, but I haven't got a crystal ball so 
> can't see what the future holds.
> By next year's ESR release, we should have a new user interface for 
> the address book. This should be able to do many of the useful things 
> you can do in other address book software, but it will require a lot 
> more work in the background.
> *Can I use this to connect to my Google contacts?*
> Not at this stage. As per usual, Google have to be different, and they 
> use OAuth instead of standard HTTP authorisation. The code is written, 
> but we're waiting on Google to allow us to ask you for permission to 
> access your contacts.
> *How does this affect WebExtensions?*
> To WebExtensions, a CardDAV address book appears the same as a regular 
> address book, and no modifications are necessary at this point. In the 
> future there may be some additional API functions available, and we'll 
> try to do this in a backwards-compatible way.
> *Where do I report bugs?*
> Please use the Mailnews Core – Address Book 
> <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=MailNews+Core&component=Address+Book> 
> component to report bugs, unless the bug is in the UI, in which case 
> use Thunderbird – Address Book 
> <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/enter_bug.cgi?product=Thunderbird&component=Address+Book>. 
> Please provide as much information as you can, including the version 
> of Thunderbird you see the problem in, any applicable error messages, 
> and if it's relevant, the server software you're connecting to.
> The Network Inspector tool (Tools – Developer Tools – Developer 
> Toolbox, then choose Network) is very useful for debugging problems. 
> If the server reports an error message and Thunderbird fails to handle 
> it appropriately, please file a bug.
> _______________________________________________
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> tb-planning at mozilla.org
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