How To: Email, Calendar, and Contact Sync with Thunderbird | webOS Nation

How To: Email, Calendar, and Contact Sync with Thunderbird

by Jason Robitaille Sun, 07 Jun 2009 3:04 pm EDT

For a long time now, it's been known that when you switch to the Pre, you won't have any sort of local syncing options.  To many, the old PalmOS hotsync was vital system, allowing both backup of PIM data and the ability to locally view and edit that data, getting updated on the device next hotsync. While CompanionLink does have their syncing software and Mark/Space will soon have theirs, they're not free and I'm cheap. Thankfully, Jhoff80 on the forums has found a free solution involving Mozilla's much-loved Thunderbird email client.  Here's a quick rundown of the process:

  • Prerequisites: Mozilla Thunderbird 2, Google account with Gmail and Google Calendar, and a WebOS device (with that Google account integrated).
  1. Follow the instructions on how to setup Thunderbird for IMAP Gmail:
    When initially adding a new account, choose "Email account", not "Gmail". Also, under "Server Settings", I recommend setting it check for mail every 10 minutes (or whatever your preference).
  2. Download and install the Lightning calendar addon for Thunderbird. Restart Thunderbird as requested by the addon manager.
  3. Go to the Calendar view (should be a big "Calendar" button in the bottom left corner). Now, follow these instructions on setting up CalDAV with your Google Calendar (follow Mozilla Sunbird instructions):
    Note: Repeat instructions to add each of your editable Google calendars.
  4. If you have any publicly subscribed Google calendars, you can add them to Thunderbird by their iCal links. Their iCal links can be found by going to the Google Calendar page, and on each publicly subscribed calendar, go into "Calendar settings" and next to "Calendar Address" should be the iCal link you can use in Thunderbird. Some public calendars, like weather forecast, obviously won't work correctly.
  5. As for syncing the contacts from your Gmail, download and install the Google Contacts addon. Restart Thunderbird as necessary. Open up the addon panel and open up Google Contacts options. Setup at this point is self-explanatory, though I recommend setting contact reload time ("Advanced" tab) to something low like 0.25 hours (aka 15 minutes).
  6. [Optional] If you're like me and want to keep email checking throughout the day, but don't want to have Thunderbird taking up taskbar space, I recommend the Minimize to Tray addon.

The beauty of this setup is it's all connected to Thunderbird, which has been ported to pretty well all major OSes out there, so anyone can do this.  Now, I must admit, not all the small things are synced over; some contacts details, like birthday and anniversary date get omitted (though not deleted) during the sync process. It may not have all the bells as whistles you'd get with dedicated syncing software, but this is quite a good, free alternative.

Thanks jhoff80