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Palm Sync?

Discussion of features in Mozilla Thunderbird
jhirshon

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Post Posted August 5th, 2003, 10:21 pm


conall

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Post Posted August 6th, 2003, 10:17 am

Cheers.


Personally, I'm inclined towards either C++ (which the existing PalmSync is written in) or <a href="http://wwws.sun.com/software/xml/developers/palm/">XML</a>.


Java is cross platform, but has a huge overhead when running, since it's not actually a binary, but Java's "ByteCode".

From my understanding, the Mozilla Trunk uses GTK as it's GUI library. This is a cross platform GUI library, although perhaps more common on Unix/Linux systems, since the Gnome Desktop is GTK as well.

I think GTK C++ is the way to go, since it's cross platform and it's requirements are also needed by the Trunk. But we already have most of this work done. So I'd prefer to just port the existing PalmSync, instead of having to write it from scratch. :) Of course, writing it in XML would be interesting.


One idea I have had is to port the Palm Desktop Suite into Java or cross platform C++ and keep it open sourced, but that isn't really a Mozilla related project, nor do I have the time for that at the moment.
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coffeemonk
 
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Post Posted August 6th, 2003, 11:02 am

The XML project certainly seems interesting. I could see that being a much more robust and extensible solution than the "straight" Palm conduit implementation that C++ would afford. besides, i'd bet it's only a matter of time before Palm goes in this direction themselves.

As for Java, yeah, what you gain in portability, you lose in convenience and resource usage.

Finally, shouldn't there be some way to tap into the GRE and utilize XUL as the GUI? i mean, considering the existing conduit *has* no GUI... i'd think it'd be wide open at this point. And, since we are talking about Thunderbird, the GRE will by necessity be installed... i would think a XUL solution would be just as viable, plus you'd be keeping it "in house" so to speak.

just a few more thoughts.
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conall

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Post Posted August 6th, 2003, 12:41 pm

coffeemonk wrote:Finally, shouldn't there be some way to tap into the GRE and utilize XUL as the GUI? i mean, considering the existing conduit *has* no GUI...


Why would a conduit need a GUI? All a conduit is used for is providing a 2 way link between a database on a palm and it's equivalent on a desktop, in this case Palm Contacts <--> Thunderbird Addressbook.


Tell you what, how about we try to port the existing PalmSync as a stop gap measure for now. At the same time, we look into writing XML based conduits and a XUL based Conduit Manager for a truely cross platform version later on down the road?

Now all I need to do is learn more XML than just XHTML and start learning XUL...
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coffeemonk
 
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Post Posted August 6th, 2003, 10:41 pm

conall wrote:Why would a conduit need a GUI?


well, you mentioned Mozilla Trunk's GTK based GUI... but yeah, the only GUI component our conduit would need would be the preferences called by the "Custom" selection of the HotSync Manager menu... the preferences that specify whether to synchronize or overwrite from desktop or handheld, and that may very well be a component of whatever conduit manager we end up going with.

conall wrote:Tell you what, how about we try to port the existing PalmSync as a stop gap measure for now. At the same time, we look into writing XML based conduits and a XUL based Conduit Manager for a truely cross platform version later on down the road?


perfect.
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conall

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Post Posted August 7th, 2003, 1:43 am

coffeemonk wrote:well, you mentioned Mozilla Trunk's GTK based GUI... but yeah, the only GUI component our conduit would need would be the preferences called by the "Custom" selection of the HotSync Manager menu... the preferences that specify whether to synchronize or overwrite from desktop or handheld, and that may very well be a component of whatever conduit manager we end up going with.


I've been able to set this within the Palm Desktop software already, but that's in Windows. I agree we could have some sort of GUIcontrol for Linux to allow a few customisations, until there is a cross platform version of Palm Desktop. Perhaps XUL would be nice, in keeping with XML idea of this extension?
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coffeemonk
 
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Post Posted August 7th, 2003, 8:18 am

conall wrote:I've been able to set this within the Palm Desktop software already, but that's in Windows.


really? last i knew (and having just tried it now, i see it's still the case) with the existing conduit, there's no way to call up the custom action dialog from the HotSync Manager... so the MozAB conduit either inherits whatever your previous Address Book conduit's settings were, or defaults to "synchronize".

conall wrote:I agree we could have some sort of GUIcontrol for Linux to allow a few customisations, until there is a cross platform version of Palm Desktop. Perhaps XUL would be nice, in keeping with XML idea of this extension?


I think XUL would be perfect, especially if we need to get into extended preferences (in the future). I remember some people in the original bugzilla bugs talking about how they'd like to have the ability to explicitly associate Palm AB fields with fields in the Moz AB... especially wrt custom fields and such. But i'd say that's something for much later, after the base conduit/sync is working cross-platform.
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kepardue
 
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Post Posted August 7th, 2003, 10:59 am

For this to work properly there would seem to be a need to improve the addressbook. The most obvious fix being that categories should be added to the default addressbook cards, so that we would have all the syncing going to a central folder, instead of making folders all over the place for categories listed in my Palm.

I don't think mail sync is necessarily feature bloat as much as a basic function that should be added. When setting up my Palm I have the options to sync with any Microsoft mail program, Netscape 4.x, and a few other clients I think. Gecko-based browsers are missing from this list and, while this may be a Palm problem, probably should be addressed as there are those people who might need to use this functionality. Whether it be in an extension or not, the addressbook issue needs to be addressed so that any future enhancements would be able to plug right into it.

Other things that might improve the addressbook would be (from another post on this forum):
- Add the ability to import a picture for a person to store with his or her card
- Add better handling of birthdays (and sex, spouse, children, anniversary fileds, for that matter) with date error checking and so forth, instead of being limited to throwing it into a "Custom #" field
- Add better handling of Display Name. Outlook's feature of having a drop down where you can choose "Lastname, Firstname", "Firstname Lastname", "Nickname" or whatever, is a beautiful thing.
- Make the "Notes" section more dynamic, where one can write rich-text notes, drag and drop emails (or other files) that would show up as icons, etc. would be incredibly nice.
- Adding a view similar to Outlook's "Address Cards" would be very nice.

conall

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Post Posted August 7th, 2003, 11:10 am

kepardue wrote:Other things that might improve the addressbook would be (from another post on this forum):
- Add the ability to import a picture for a person to store with his or her card
- Add better handling of birthdays (and sex, spouse, children, anniversary fileds, for that matter) with date error checking and so forth, instead of being limited to throwing it into a "Custom #" field
- Add better handling of Display Name. Outlook's feature of having a drop down where you can choose "Lastname, Firstname", "Firstname Lastname", "Nickname" or whatever, is a beautiful thing.
- Make the "Notes" section more dynamic, where one can write rich-text notes, drag and drop emails (or other files) that would show up as icons, etc. would be incredibly nice.
- Adding a view similar to Outlook's "Address Cards" would be very nice.



All of these suggestions are more connected to an overhaul of the addressbook at the moment. There have been a few suggestions, especially in these forums to make the addressbook a stand alone app, in which case these features could be considered then...
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jhirshon

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Post Posted August 29th, 2003, 8:59 am

Any updates on this project - thousands of eager Palm / Tbird users are hanging on your every word! :)

cheers, JH

conall

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Post Posted August 29th, 2003, 11:31 am

jhirshon wrote:Any updates on this project - thousands of eager Palm / Tbird users are hanging on your every word! :)

cheers, JH


Haven't started yet. Unfortunately, I've comittments in college to attend to first. :-/


One idea I had recently, is to talk to a guy I know in college about his project <a href="http://www.clevercactus.com/">clevercactus</a>. It's aim is to be a cross platform Java based, all singing and dancing PIM client that can sync with Palm and Symbian devices. Personally, I'd like to be able to sync my Nokia 7650 and my Palm together to Mozilla Apps, all under Linux. :)


I also should start playing with Sunbird and consider the idea of writing more than just Addressbook and Mail conduits. Calendar and To Do conduits would be nice as well...
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jhirshon

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Post Posted August 29th, 2003, 12:07 pm

Conall - best of luck, but please don't forget the many who just want to sync Tbird to their Palm desktop - for us, a simple conduit is all we need! :(

cheers, JH

conall

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Post Posted August 30th, 2003, 3:56 am

One thing that would get the ball rolling is for more help on <a href="http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=214407">Bug 214407</a>. Mozilla 1.5 Mail <strong>has</strong> a PalmSync, we want to isolate it and make it into an extension for Thunderbird.


Unfortunately, I don't appear to have a connected .xpi (at least not in my 1.5 Alpha install, I'll try the new Mozilla 1.5 Beta today...), but if we can get someone will all the required files involved, we'll have Windows AB Conduit to keep us going.
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jhirshon

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Post Posted August 30th, 2003, 11:35 am

Looks like there is some real activity happening between you and Scott in Bugzilla - we're all pulling for you on this, good luck! :)

cheers, JH

David James

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Post Posted August 31st, 2003, 9:28 pm

conall wrote:
coffeemonk wrote:well, you mentioned Mozilla Trunk's GTK based GUI... but yeah, the only GUI component our conduit would need would be the preferences called by the "Custom" selection of the HotSync Manager menu... the preferences that specify whether to synchronize or overwrite from desktop or handheld, and that may very well be a component of whatever conduit manager we end up going with.


I've been able to set this within the Palm Desktop software already, but that's in Windows. I agree we could have some sort of GUIcontrol for Linux to allow a few customisations, until there is a cross platform version of Palm Desktop. Perhaps XUL would be nice, in keeping with XML idea of this extension?

I don't understand why the Mozilla Palm Sync goes through the Palm Desktop in the first place on Windows - why bother? Surely you just need the conduit bits and then just shove a GUI control into the extension for the benefit of both OSes, since you can do the syncing in Linux with a few command line tools that every piece of Palm syncing software in Linux uses already. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you could already sync this way with an exported Mozilla address book (then the question becomes how well does Mozilla merge data from an imported address book file with its own).
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