From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Sharing team to-dos- Thunderbird and Firefox


Share team to-dos by integrating Thunderbird and Firefox and adding extensions.

Add-ons to connect to-dos in teams

  • Firefox Add-ons
    • Scrapbook builds a team library by storing web pages and organizing them. This creates an archive for present and future team use. It integrates across the network or team members sharing resources. ScrapBook adds annotation for web pages and allows an integrated searching of bookmarks, web pages and notes.
    • ReminderFox documents to-dos for web pages and e-mail. It links the to-do to the Internet or e-mail document. Use this add-on to monitor deadlines and to produce a task reminder. It offers a to-do list and integrates them into a calendar. Mozbackup and FEBE back up the profile and extensions.
  • Add-ons for Thunderbird
    • Use ReminderFox to create and follow-up on to-dos.
    • Tag Toolbar adds tags and categories. It organizes them.
    • TB Header Tools Extension modifies the header details of messages. It exposes headers for use in processing e-mails in actioning to-dos and complements message searches.
    • Mozbackup provides backup security.

As seen in the diagram the incoming Internet Messaging contacts integrate completely into the ReminderFox To-Do lists and the action list. Integration of Add-ons

Firefox and Thunderbird Configuration to simplify managing To-dos

Setting up a Thunderbird To-do E-mail Account.

Thunderbird interacts with team members to generate an e-mail to-do and automatically file it in a to-do Account. A typical solution sends an e-mail to oneself. While this method functions; it requires two steps and time. Saving to-dos to an account folder streamlines the process. And streamlining is what is all about. Set up a special To-Do Account or folder to store to-dos. Configure a separate account (modify an existing account or use the wizard to create a gmail account) with a descriptive name. Set this account for drafts to store in the designated to-do folder. To generate a new e-mail to-do choose that account from the from: line in the to-do draft. Using “File -> Save or Ctrl+S” the draft saves to the designated to-do folder. Note that the standard drafts from the user account still save to the normal draft folder. The to-dos you generate to yourself collect in the drafts folder of the to-do e-mail account.

Next configure a filter to route the incoming to-dos to the folder for incoming to-dos. Go to “Tools -> Message Filters ->” Pick the Account that picks up the e-mail. Select “New ->” Set the filter: “From:” is the account. “Action:” files the to-do to the designated folder.

Adding the E-mail To-do to the Team Action List with ReminderFox.

Use ReminderFox to set a to-do while reading an e-mail or for a document with a to-do. ReminderFox puts it into the team list. As seen in the diagram the user sets the ReminderFox to-do while reading the e-mail or web page. E-mail tags also set while reading the e-mail or triggered by information in a web page.

Set E-mail To-dos with a Tag.

The system uses an action tag to tag the message and then a stored search to list the current to-dos. Additionally using categories and category tags to tag the messages designates the processing and can be expanded to follow the processing progress.

  • Incoming Documents with Actions. An incoming document or message triggers the user to set a to-do in ReminderFox to add to the list, or tab the e-mail to include the e-mail and the attachment in a search. The document or message file to a to-do account generates a to-do to receipt the document. To generate a to-do send yourself an e-mail
  • Tabbing incoming documents or messages with to-do tags. Tag documents for to-do by sending the document to Thunderbird that treats it as an e-mail attachment for an e-mail. Use the add-on Tag Toolbar to add tag categories and tags to team messages. Use a category action or to-do to setup the tabs as: Que (line up as to-do), On-going action (being done), Delegate, Completed, File, Archive. Adding another category and tags for processing documents lines up the processing to treat the to-do. Tab incoming e-mails with the appropriate tag for action.

Automating Filing

Set up a search in “Edit -> Find -> Search Messages”. Set up the search to look for the tag. Use a saved search to find all messages with the action tag. Go to “Edit -> Find -> Search Messages -> Use Tag” contains to-do tag names (On-going action) and click on "Save as Search Folder". The search saves to “Local Folders” and efficiently lists all e-mails tagged to-do. Often in a copy of the original e-mail text helps in handling the to-do. Then use Message> Edit Message As new. A new Compose e-mail copy pops up and change the from: line to the to-do account and save it as a draft. It saves to the to-do folder.

Installation of ReminderFox to follow-up on shared team actions

The add-on ReminderFox tailors to marking and producing remainders and to-dos. To maintain a to-do list with ReminderFox install it with a standard installation. ReminderFox also installs with Firefox and integrates browser contacts with the e-mails. Adapt the standard configuration to use a shared ReminderFox file location for team use. As shown this integrates browser and e-mail contacts. Go to Firefox/ Thunderbird Add-ons: find ReminderFox and click on the options. Use the “Local File” tab in the ReminderFox Options. After deciding the shared file location; browse and configure this location for shared to-dos. Now in Thunderbird and Firefox using the ReminderFox icon generates a to-do. In Thunderbird this to-do links to the e-mail.

Summary: making shared to-dos work

This configuration integrates to-dos for Thunderbird and Firefox. It provides 3 to-do management options, shared storage and lists.

  1. Tabbed to-dos. A stored search lists all e-mails tagged to-do.
  2. It configures a to-do account or folder to store e-mails.
  3. ReminderFox integrates e-mail and browser contacts. It lists to-dos and integrates them into a calendar. It also offers additional management capabilities such as the calendaring, notification, lists and editing.

Configuring Message Filters to search for tagged to-dos.

Message filters do not search for tabs. Using TB Header Tools offers this flexibility and ease of search for filing automation. The message filter searches for X-Tags, X-Categories, X-Mozilla-Keys or any other header supported by Thunderbird. Use this extension to add the necessary search conditions to the defaults for X-Mozilla-Keys, X-Tags, and X-Categories. Go to the “-> Customize option” in Message Filters to add searching for X-Mozilla-Keys. Go to “Tools -> Message Filters” pick the account or local folders. Message filters are account specific. Then you should set either new or edit. Message filters do not normally contain tags. In the drop-down list choose customize and add the name of the header. If you want to search for X-Tags, then the header name is X-Tags. Otherwise you can search for tags by using X-Mozilla-Keys. Complete the filter with the selection rules including: condition and value. It is better to use “contains” in the rule as “is”. Then go to the “Perform these actions:” set the action and destination.

Configure X-Tags and X-Categories. TB Header Tools adds X-Tags and X-Categories. Install the extension. To configure the tags go to “Tools -> Add-ons -> TB Header Tools Options”. In New Header Defaults add the tag separated by a comma. When reading the message; set the X-Tags by going to “Tools -> Add X-Tags: ->” from the pull-down menu select the to-do tag.

Integrate team documents in a central to-do que.

Standard office applications and other software produce documents that trigger to-dos. Simply triggering to-dos with the documents streamlines processes without the bother of entering data.

Set a To-Do for a document for example Microsoft Office WORD. > Open the WORD document. “File -> Send to ->” Choose mail receiver as attachment. Thunderbird opens with the document as an attachment. Send the document to the to-do account for further processing. Inside the opened e-mail right click and select to-do to save the document as a ReminderFox list. If Thunderbird configures as the standard e-mail client, then it opens an e-mail to compose with the document as attachment. In software terms; this links to the document that opens it. It is exactly what is needed because now the e-mail will be sent to the internal action e-mail address and Thunderbird ques it in the Action folder. Treat it as a normal incoming e-mail to be actioned.

  • Tag it Action or put it into a ReminderFox To-Do with a date
  • The attached, linked document opens when clicked giving access to the document from the action e-mail. This elegant solution puts the document in the to-do que to be opened when needed.

Shared Profiles for searching and to-dos

Sharing information

Sharing documents and information plays an important role in the team success. It must easily and reliably connect the team members to the joint information sources. All team members need to review and edit to-dos. Individual use and team share needs conflict. Personal profiles use a secured, unshared folder.

Shared Team Profile in Thunderbird

This is a shared profile that replicates for each team member. The installation principle for this profile creates an additional Thunderbird profile complementary to the individual, user profile and replicates the shared profile for each team member.

First create and test a shared profile for use of the team members. To set up a team member profile create a new profile in Thunderbird. Add the share profile files writing over the existing files Transferring data to a new profile.

  • The shared file addresses may not always be the same for each member and check them.
  • Account. Check the accessibility and accuracy of the e-mail account.
  • Message filters. Ensure that rules and folders apply.
  • ScrapBook. ReminderFox. Check the share folder addresses.
  • Address Books. Copy standard address books. Sync address books. Export and import address books.
  • Add the stored searches. The Add-on Thunderbird Message Filter Import /Export helps.

Install Firefox to share ScrapBook, and ReminderFox

Scrapbook. Set up Scrapbook for Multi Scrapbook and activate it. Use one ScrapBook for team use and one for individual use. Put the team ScrapBook in the shared network folder. To configure the team ScrapBook goes to the Multi-ScrapBook Icon and press the arrow to manage. Use “+ Add” to add the directory or folder for storing the team ScrapBook. You can add a name so as not to confuse the folders during use. Check the file location. “Firefox -> Extra -> Add-ons > Scrapbook -> Configuration -> Organize -> Store Files in ->” browse to store in the share folder. Activate the Multi-Scrapbook. With this setting the user picks the selected Scrapbook. The user chooses between the profile ScrapBook and the team ScrapBook. To configure ReminderFox; in Firefox go to “Extra -> Add-ons “Local Files” ->” Uncheck the use standard and browse the storage for the ReminderFox folder and configure this folder to store the team to-dos.

Thunderbird. Install Mail and Mail Share

Thunderbird usually stores the e-mail in the profile directory. Place the shared e-mail in another network-shared folder. The team share folders remain identical for each team member to facilitate administration. Thunderbird uses the default setting for the e-mail: The profile folder is normally in the C:\WINDOWS\Profiles\User\ApplicationData\Thunderbird\Profiles\Profile.Default\Mail\. Copy this folder into the E-mail team share folder. Then to set Thunderbird to use this folder; (for accounts using the Global Inbox Local Folders). Go to “Tools -> Account Settings” and click on “Local Folders” in the left pane. Where it says local directory click on the browse button to select the desired folder (Local Folders) to store the shared mail. ReminderFox. See configuration for Firefox.

Message Filters. The message filters locate in the account folder for example: “\Mail\account-” account file, they copy also. The add-on Thunderbird Message Filter Import and Export will help in exporting and importing message filters. Menahy adds support for tags with tag pool, import and export tags. The tags are in the prefs.js and can be copied with a text editor.

Synchronization of address books

Thunderbird relies on relative paths. The add-on SyncMab synchronizes address books. Otherwise Thunderbird uses relative paths and does not offer another means of sharing address books. Junctions in the operating system can be installed to share address books.

Security includes the use of backups to prevent information loss. The add-on Mozbackup backs up profiles. FEBE not only backs up, but also makes selective backups of profile and preference data for Firefox. The share folder for the address book includes in the network backup.

LDAP accounts offer address book sharing For example using a Google gmail LDAP account enables address book sharing.

After its all done

Sharing is nice but taking a look at it is nicer. ReminderFox offers a rudimentary calendar that locates the to-dos and sends a reminder based on the user preferences. Or it will integrate with ICS compatible calendars. It offers the configuration to other on-line calendars. Lightning is a Mozilla calendar that will be compatible with Thunderbird 3. This calendar offers full calendaring functionality. [1] = Lightning. You can take the team on-line with services that specialize on monitoring to-dos. ScheduleWorld is a nice application that offers easy integration with Thunderbird. [2] = ScheduleWorld . Other alternatives of free calendar and task lists to use with Thunderbird include: Remember the Milk, Memotoo, Mobical, and Zyb.

Add-ons employed in the integration

ScrapBook. ReminderFox. Tag Toolbar. Header-Changer. TB Header Tools. Mnenhy. See - mnenhy: index. [3] SyncMab. Mozbackup or FEBE (Firefox). Thunderbird Message Filter Import /Export.

See also

Transferring data to a new profile [[4]]

Moving your mail storage location [[5]]

Sharing profiles – mail]] [[6]]