MozillaZine

Calling Thunderbird from other programs

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite / SeaMonkey (though some menu sequences may differ).


Thunderbird supports SimpleMAPI, which is a Microsoft standard way for a third party application to send email messages using the default email client. SimpleMAPI can be called from C , C++ and Visual Basic.

XPCOM (Cross Platform Component Object Model) is Mozilla's framework for writing cross-platform, modular software. Despite some obvious similarities, Microsoft COM and XPCOM components are not compatible or interchangeable. XPCOM components can be written in and used from C, C++, Perl, Python, and JavaScript.

Thunderbird supports command line arguments to open the compose message window and fill in the headers, the message body and attachment(s), but you'd still have to press the send button.

Thunderbird doesn't have a scripting capability. Its functionality can be modifed using XUL based extensions. It does not support traditional plug-ins.

If all you want to do is to process new messages don't overlook writing a script that parses the "inbox." mbox file using the X-Mozilla-Status headers to figure out if a message is a new message. A mbox file is essentially just a flat text file that has a seperator between the messages and special encoding for any "From" strings if they occur at the beginning of a line in either the headers or the message body.

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