Inspired by Kevin’s post, I decided to give Thunderbird another chance this week. I’ve used it 90% of the time, only going back to Mail.app a few times – but I don’t think I’m ready to switch all the way yet. Unfortunately, there are several features in Thunderbird that I really like, and miss when I’m in Mail.app.
- A ‘Move to’ menu that actually works! It’s much easier for me to navigate a menu to move a message to a folder than it is to drag it to the folders drawer, wait for the folder to expand, hope they don’t scroll as I near the bottom of the area, etc.
- You can open up multiple folder views in different windows and work with them independently – sort of like using webmail in several browsers at once. This can be really handy if you’re doing a search through a folder and want the search to continue, but want to go grab another message while the search is going on.
- There is now an unread count in dock icon, and I like it better than the one in Mail.app. The unread count in the dock icon seems to clear when you bring Thunderbird to the front. I like that, I can leave things unread and and not have it nagging at me until another new message comes in.
- Clicking the dock icon opens the Inbox window if it isn’t already open – yay.
- Right now, it doesn’t read from the Apple Address Book. This is annoying, but having LaunchBar makes it manageable.
- When using a filter to mark an e-mail as read and move it to the trash, the unread count on the trash folder erroneously counts those messages until you click on the trash folder, then it clears.
- In the filters window, you can select multiple filters at once and hit Run Now, but only the first one runs.
- I really wish I could put a keyboard shortcut on a filter, or put it in the toolbar – at least a toolbar item to open the filters window. Anyone know of a hack to do this?
- When I select a collapsed thread and move or delete it, I want to move or delete the whole thread ( not just the first message in the thread). Mail.app does this right.
- I miss the ‘remove attachments’ feature in Mail.app.
- Like the rest of the Mozilla products, there is no tie in to Apple’s spelling service – no spell check as you go.
- Where are the message flags? I just started using this feature in Mail.app and SnapperMail.
- If you can run AppleScripts from within Thunderbird, I didn’t see how to do it – but I didn’t look hard.
- I wish I could hit letters while in the Move To menu to jump through the items like I can on Thunderbird on Windows.
- Nothing’s really ugly at this point, but I really wish I had control over the font size in the folder and message lists. Perhaps there is a hidden setting someone can tell me about? I couldn’t find it in the prefs.
The beauty of centralized data is that you can change your client at will. For example, with a web based application you can jump between browsers and not miss a beat. The same is true for IMAP e-mail. Changing e-mail clients isn’t even painful – all you need to do is enter your server information and bingo, there’s all your e-mail in your new mail client.
My bet is that the new Mail.app from Apple will fix some of the gripes I have with it, and I’ll find it marginally better than Thunderbird – but the bird is closing the gap nicely. On Windows, it’s already my #1 choice.