Third alpha of Thunderbird 3 previews new features
Mozilla Messaging has released a third alpha version of their email client for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X to download for testing. The alpha releases are named "Shredder" to emphasise their unsuitability for production use. Alpha-3 offers several new features that give users a better idea of plans for the final version – for example, "Reply", "Forward" and "Mark as Junk" buttons within the message view, rather than just on the toolbar. According to the release notes, users will also be better able to determine whether a recipient has already been added to the address book before answering an email and they will be able to edit contacts from within the message view.
Shredder can now make messages and contacts available to Vista's search mechanism, allowing Vista users to also search their Thunderbird email and contacts from the operating system itself. IMAP emails are now automatically downloaded in the background. Mozilla Messaging has also responded to user requests and now has a birthday field in the address book, allowing users to keep an eye on coming anniversaries without leaving the email client.
Shredder is based on the Gecko 1.9 HTML rendering engine, which is designed to offer increased performance, more stability and a simplified code base. It contains a new add-on manager to give users a better overview of installed add-ons and simplified add-on installation. On Mac OS X, Thunderbird is now a native Cocoa application for Mac OS X, allowing for better integration with Apple's operating system. Thunderbird 3 is due to include an integrated calendar, a much improved search facility and numerous improvements to the user interface when the final version is released.