Where we're at with CardDAV

neandr neandr at gmx.de
Thu Aug 27 11:00:29 UTC 2020

A GREAT step to get this long pending requirement available for Thunderbird!

Many thanks for the hard work, and it's good to see the ical.js
<https://github.com/mozilla-comm/ical.js/> makes it's way to become a
Thunderbird standard!


Am 27.08.20 um 04:04 schrieb Geoff Lankow:
> 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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