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Oct 11, 2014

Thunderbird, LDIF, VCard, and Old Habits Die Hard

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I don’t know if this post will help anyone else, but it may so what the heck.

Thunderbird has been my e-mail client since I worked at Netscape in the late 1990s. So for the most part, I have been managing my email address book using LDIF since then. (Why? I used to work on the Netscape Directory server back in the day.) So my master address book is built in Thunderbird. Then, an LDIF file is saved to dropbox and all my e-mail clients can be synced with it. Mac, Windows, and Linux are all happy.

So last week while in San Francisco, I needed to email coworkers from my iPad, but of course my iPad cannot import LDIF files. (At least not that I am aware of.) Also, the employee directory at work now uses a newer format of VCard which Thunderbird can’t read. So importing entries is painful at best. They must be loaded in OS X Contacts and then export them back to VCard 3. Then into Thunderbird.

Then came the DOH moment! I realized that Thunderbird on OS X can read your Mac OS X Contact list. In addition, if you select all your entries and export them to VCard. The entire list can be imported into Thunderbird as an address book. No need for LDIF. Doh!!!!

So if you are an antique like me stuck in 1998, switch to VCard! :) GMail also supports VCard so address book nirvana may have been reached. Finally!!! We will see. For a standard to win in this space is a long time coming.

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