I’ve used Mozilla Thunderbird for as long as I can remember; I much prefer desktop e-mail clients to their web counterparts and Thunderbird’s my number one choice on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. When I downloaded the Release Candidate 1 of Thunderbird 3, I was faced with a plethora of new features to sink my teeth in to, so where do I start?
After mourning the loss of my many incompatible add-ons, I struck up the courage to create an account in Thunderbird 3, and if you’re new to Thunderbird or you’re setting up another account, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to get up and running.
Rather than manually input the details of your email provider, all you need to do is type in your email address and password and Thunderbird sorts the rest out for you. I tested this with 3 email accounts, each on different providers and Thunderbird set up each one with no problems. If you want/need to set up an account manually, don’t worry, you can still do so!
Once you have your account set up, you’ll be navigating around your emails and feeds, which could be frustrating on Thunderbird 2 if you had a lot of things to manage at once and everything seemed to get rather unorganised. Thunderbird 3 introduces a feature called Tabbed Email, which does what it says on the tin and does it well. You can view your e-mail, feeds and messages in separate tabs which makes it a lot easier to navigate around your accounts, especially if you have a lot going on at the same time.
You’ll feel right at home if you use Firefox as your web browser, as it’s younger sibling has finally caught up to speed! I got used to the new tabbed interface almost instantly, and it makes the client a lot easier to navigate around in general compared to previous versions.
Another feature you’ll find is a new message archiving system, which has been well implemented and is easy to use. If you want to archive any message, all you have to do is select the message and press “A” or select the archive button and the message will be archived. To go along with this, you’ll also find a newly refined search function which searches through your saved or archived emails to find what you’re looking for.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well the search feature worked; not only did it find what I wanted based on my search, it opened the results in a new tab and displayed them in a very easy to view manner, with filter options, folders and people in the search results displayed on the left hand side of the window and the main search results displayed with a preview of the message in the main section of the window.
If you use any add-ons for Thunderbird, you’ll appreciate the new add-on manager in Thunderbird 3, which is split in to 4 sections: Get Add-ons, Extensions, Themes and Plugins.
This new layout makes it easy to manage a multitude of add-ons and get new ones, which you may need to do – around half of my existing add-ons were incompatible with Thunderbird 3, although they were mainly add-ons that tweaked the interface.
Finally, if you’re an OS X user, you’ll no doubt be extremely pleased to see that Thunderbird 3 now offers integration with your OS X address book!
Thunderbird 3 is a great mail client, and I still prefer it to Windows Live Mail, OS X’s Mail application and Evolution on Linux – for me, it’s definitely an all round winner, and one you should definitely check out as soon as you can! Do you prefer web based email or desktop email clients? Let us know in the comments!
Thunderbird Logo Source – Rebron.org