With all the hype focused on Firefox 3 and Thunderbird 2, we tend to forget about some of Mozilla’s other great applications. One of them is their calendar application that they offer in two different flavors: Sunbird is the standalone program that will only manage your calendar while Lightning is the Thunderbird add-on that provides both a calendar and email client in one convenient application. We have had the joys of tinkering with version 0.3 of both Sunbird and Lightning for over three months and a new release, version 0.5, is expected sometime this month.
The Calendar project continues to progress quite nicely and there are some new features underway. The first feature that the Calendar Weblog has talked about is the new Advanced Event Dialog which is pictured above. The goal of the dialog was to make it feel like an integrated part of Thunderbird while making Outlook users feel at home when using it.
Besides for that there are several “smaller” features that are being targeted for Calendar 0.5 and those can be found here. One thing that I did really want to point out was that they are working on improving the different Calendar views. To help out they have paid artistic designers millions and millions to draw some mockup images of what the calendar should look like…and here’s the result. Okay, so it’s ASCII art that was put together by the developers, but you still get the idea. :D The thing that seems to be the biggest problem right now with Lighting (the Thunderbird add-on) is getting the left sidebar to not appear so cluttered. They sum it up pretty well when they refer to the current solution and say “The problem with that solution is that 70% of the visual information is placed on 30% of the screen.“
The usability and integration of the Calendar is not quite there yet, but they are definitely taking steps in the right direction. We should see this next release sometime this month, but they seem pretty ambitious with what they want to get done for having less than two-weeks left. So don’t be surprised if the next release gets pushed back a little.
Thanks to “Jack of all Trades” for the tip!