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Lately, I have been constantly switching between both operating systems and mail clients. I became quite fond of Kontact, KDE’s PIM suite, long ago. The only thing that stopped me from switching over to it full time was its lack of support for HTML signatures. As of the KDE 4 release of Kontact, support has been added for HTML signatures. I decided to make the switch back to Kontact earlier this week.
One of the many things I have liked about Kontact over Mozilla Thunderbird is its support for vcards. A vcard is essentially a digital business card that can be attached to outgoing mail messages. While Thunderbird has built in support for reading vcards you have received and sending your vcard, it does not have support for importing and exporting vcard files.
Using vcards for your address book makes it easy to share contact information with others. If a co-worker needs somebody’s contact information, I can simply send them the vcard. This contains not only their name and email address, but potentially phone numbers, addresses, instant messengers, birthdays, etc. We do not use a shared address book for company contacts at WorkXpress. We do store all of the necessary information inside of our own application, but that’s not always convenient when using an email client. While the sales and customer service teams may be consistently logged into the application, I am not. As a developer, its not often that I have to send emails outside of the company, especially to customers.
So why doesn’t Thunderbird have better support for vcards? I’m not entirely sure. It’s a standard format that other email clients utilize (Note: I do not use Outlook so I am not sure if it supports vcards). Today I was on a mission to find better support for Thunderbird. A quick search for vcard at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/ turned up few results, none of which were what I was looking for. Then I turned to google where I found MoreFunctionsForAddressBook, a plug-in which adds support for importing and exporting vcards. You can even export an entire address book in vcf format (a collection of vcards). This plug-in also adds more Fields to the Thunderbird Address Book entries, including birthdays and photos.
For more information on vcards, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard.