Thunderbird & Lightning

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From forum user: ddevine -Mmorse

There is also a description about general - mail AND calendar access from Thunderbird on a Zimbra server here - probably additional info from this page should be merged, and this page here removed?! HenningSprang

Contents

Zimbra and Thunderbird with Lightning

I use Thunderbird for my email client. It's quite speedy and nice. Coming from various places of employment that used Outlook and Exchange, I miss being able to schedule appointments via my email client (of course, with Zimbra, I'm able to do this via the web interface.but I like using Thunderbird for its ability to sort and handle my email).

But you propbably also want to see you Calendar from the same, single interface?! Enter Lightning, the Calendar extension for Thunderbird. (Which, by the way, should work the same way concerning this howto as the standalone Sunbird application).

But how to get the entries from your Zimbra calendar in there? We have to impoirt them, or, better connect Thunderbird to Zimbra's Calendar access interface.

Note that I'm assuming you use Zimbra/Thunderbird with IMAP. (Note: though, I don't see what IMAP should have to do with this - it's a mail protocol while we're talking calendars here HenningSprang)


Zimbra and Thunderbird Preparation

Clearly, first you want to install Lightning. Look at it's website - it installs as any other thunderbird extension/add-on - read the website to get an explanation if you never did that before!

(Note: As of 5.0RC1w/L0.5 or L0.7RC1 I did not need the Provider Addon - it might have been one of those things needed w/ L0.3)


Open Zimbra and browse to your calendar. Right click it and choose "share calendar". Your Calendar will not be openly published - you'll stil need your full login data to access it - see below. Copy the URL at the bottom of the pop-up window that appears when you choose share calendar. Then, switch back to your Thunderbird email client.


Thunderbird/Lightning Config

After restarting when you installed the extensions above, you'll see the lightening calendar bar in your default view. Click on Calendars and you'll see there is one called 'home'. This is your default one. Let's add a calendar...click on 'New'. Choose "On The Network" for your location.

Next, choose icalendar (ICS) and input the URL you copied from the previous step in the blank and click Next.Give the calendar a unique name and pick a color (I'm partial to green), click next, then click finish. It should prompt you for a login and password...make sure you use your Zimbra Login and Password. In case you are not prompted for a username/password, and have problems accessing the calendar after this, try to use a URL in this Format:

webcal://<USERNAME>:<PASSWORD>@zimbrahost.example.com/home/<USERNAME>/Calendar

Sure, it sounds odd to write the username twice, and a little ugly to have to store the mail password here (and, unfortunately, this URL cannot be changed, so you have to remove and re-add the network calendar. But for me it was he only possibility toi get it going, after figuring multiple times, for hours how it is supposed to work (tested with thunderbird 2.0.0.14/Lightning 0.8/Zimbra ??? - I'm not running the Server on my own HenningSprang).


  • (note: As of 5.0RC1 and earlier, Calendar events cannot be 'deleted' from Tbird. They must be marked as 'Status: Canceled' through the properties dialog 'More' section (lightning 0.5) or from the menu Options -> Status -> Canceled (lightning 0.7RC1) )
  • (note: This is also true for Sunbird 0.8.) --Dslehman 01:43, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • (note from bjquinn: For at least ZCS 4.5.8, there's also a problem in Lightning with appointments created or changed on Zimbra. Once Zimbra changes an appointment, or was the original creator of an appointment, Lightning can no longer update that appointment. Changes in time, etc., revert back to what Zimbra last set it to upon reloading the calendar in Lightning, and the attempted change is never reflected on the Zimbra calendar.)
  • (note from cedric_galletti : For ZCS 4.5.9, same problem in lightning with appointments... why ? )
  • (note: Deleting and changing entires in thunderbird which are created in Zimbra works perfect here with Thunderbird 2.0.0.14/Lightning 0.8 HenningSprang)
  • (note: For ZCS 5.0.6 and Sunbird 0.8, I do not seem to have this issue. I created an appointment in Zimbra. I then went into Sunbird and was able to change its title and its date. I then told Sunbird to update its calendars. I then went back to Zimbra and told it to update its calendars. Zimbra applied this change fine. However, if I set a reminder on an appointment in Zimbra, then disable the reminder in Sunbird, the reminder doesn't get removed from Zimbra. Instead Sunbird adds it again from Zimbra during its next update.) --Dslehman 01:52, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
  • (note from dave-stfu: (ZCS 5.0.11) I use https://zimbrahost.example.com/home/<USERNAME>/Calendar to connect to the calendar (ICS Calendar). Be aware to also link to the Zimbra tasks as they are kept in a separate store: https://zimbrahost.example.com/home/<USERNAME>/Tasks)
  • (note from alfa_sw33: (ZCS 5.0.10) iCal didn't really worked for me (lightning 0.9) If you choose the CalDav option when creating the network calendar, integration is much better: deleting and editing events now works like a charn and gets updated to ZCS, but much more important for me: the free/busy status of invited users is working this way. Simply use this URL after selecting the CalDav option:
    https://zimbrahost.example.com/dav/USERNAME/KalendarName
    Besides you won't have to save your password in cleartext...
  • (note from LesBarstow: As of Zimbra 6.0.2 and the Lightning nightly build of 2009-11-16, it appears that CalDAV support is once again fully functional - it wasn't for a bit... Be sure to turn off alarms for your read-only calendars.)

Zimbra Config

None needed...everything is ready to go.



Tidbits of Handy Information?

There is one downside I've found so far. When you create an appointment in Lightning, it creates it as an ICS attached email...so it's not completely integrated. You'll need to send out your appointments like this. (note: IMHO, this does only happen if you explictly chose "send attendees invitaion via mail" - it shouldn't happen under other circumstances HenningSprang)

Integrate the ReminderFox extension with Thunderbird to give you reminder pop-ups for all your appointments and tasks :-)


If you have problems connecting your Zimbra calendar, look at NAT for the problems. Think about opening up the right ports in your firewalls to allow access to IMAP and think of the proper FQDN for your server. You may have to use IP address instead if things are in a DMZ/orange zone. (Note: The calendar is not accessed via IMAP, but via http - so opening your firewall for IMAP ports wil defintely not help - it will only help to get your Thunderbird to fetch EMails from the Zimbra IMAPO Server, but that's not the topic here... :) HenningSprang )


Verified Against: ZCS 4.5.7, 5.0 RC1 Date Created: 7/28/2007
Article ID: http://wiki.zimbra.com/index.php?title=Thunderbird_%26_Lightning Date Modified: 11/16/2009
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