Zimbra 6.x birthday field

For Zimbra users, here is a brief explanation for why sync of birthday field between Thunderbird 3 and Zimbra was added in 0.8.15 and why it will likely be removed in 0.8.16.

One of Thunderbird 3’s most popular new features was a birthday field.  When Thunderbird 3 was released, the addon synced it’s birthday field with the birthday field in Zimbra 5.x.

However in Zimbra 6.x, the format of the birthday field changed from yyyy-mm-dd to free format text.  A Zimbra 6.x birthday field can contain: “17/4/1984″, “4/17/1984 or “hello world!”.

The loss of structure in Zimbra’s birthday field means that the addon can’t reliably sync it.  Sorry!

Feel free to comment either here or on the zimbra forum thread.

UPDATE: 2010-05-01…

Zimbra version 6.07 will return to yyyy-mm-dd, so the addon will retain sync of birthday field.

The Zimbra bugfix does not migrate birthday values entered as nn/nn/yyyy , so any Zimbra users who entered birthdays in Zimbra versions 6.0-6.06 will have to change those values to yyyy-mm-dd by hand.

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12 Responses to “Zimbra 6.x birthday field”

  1. Barry Kelywn Says:

    Well, it’s sad news for me because I like my birthday fields synced but I understand why you make that decision.

  2. Zimbra user Says:

    PS: There is a bug related to this, it should soon be fixed (targeted version Zimbra 6.0.7)
    http://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=46570

  3. Florian Says:

    “Can’t reliably sync it” is only true in general. However, you could leave it up to the user to take care of the content, or make it to a configuration option of Zindus. I think there are many possible solutions and most of them are better than simply not syncing it (which could of course be a user option, too).

    My 2ct.

    Regards,
    Florian

  4. leni Says:

    @florian, users don’t want to “take care of the content” in the sense of having to manually enter yyyy-mm-dd and avoiding the Zimbra datepicker because it generates nn/nn/yyyy. Nor do users want a configuration option in the addon to enable/disable something that ought to work out of the box.

    Yes, some advanced users might be able to take advantage of a configuration option that enabled TB’s structured birthday field to sync with Zimbra’s unstructured one. But this would be a fragile proposition at best, and would inevitably break in some percentage of cases, resulting in increased support for the addon. An unappealing scenario.

    In any case, any decision on this is on hold until Zimbra 6.07 is released (see comment #2 above).

  5. leni Says:

    Updated the blog entry as follows:

    Zimbra version 6.07 will return to yyyy-mm-dd, so the addon will retain sync of birthday field.

    The Zimbra bugfix does not migrate birthday values entered as nn/nn/yyyy , so any Zimbra users who entered birthdays in Zimbra versions 6.0-6.06 will have to change those values to yyyy-mm-dd by hand.

    The relevant fixes in the addon are curently in testing and will be in release 0.8.16.

  6. Dave Says:

    Ten years after Y2K and we still can’t exchange dates? Progress.

  7. RL-S Says:

    I have thousands of contacts with this birthday field. Is there a fix to assist with this.

  8. leni Says:

    @RL-S, when you ask “is there a fix for this” - exactly what is the problem?

  9. RL-S Says:

    It would take me far too long to edit 5000 contacts. Has anyone come up with a script that searches and edits the field?

  10. Peter Boncz Says:

    Sorry guys, some bad news.

    I am using Zimbra 7.1.2 and this is still an issue. Not only does this issue still pop up, but even after you correct all the dates (I did that TWICE, and I have 3000) the issues reappear. Yes, zimbra (or zindus) is apparantly modifying the date formats back. Actually, in zimbra they appear on the screen to be good. Just, modifying the date makes the issue disappear temporarily. But it comes back. So much for keepig your data synchronized and not worrying about it anymore.

    Tried zindus a year ago, noted this, corrected birthdates twice. gave up, hoped for improvement, but with zimbra 7.1.2 it is still te same story or worse.

    Users are simply not interested whether this is a bug in zimbra or zindus, it simply means that zindus is useless for managing zimbra contacts. And that was one of its prime intended uses, wasn’t it?

    It is not hard to write a parser that is tolerant/intelligent towards multiple date formats. The whole discussion above is lame.

  11. Peter Boncz Says:

    ah, and the policy of not synchronizing a single contact if this error appears even once, what is that, torture?

    What about:
    - only not synchronizing those contacts that have an “wrong format” la la la
    - synchronizing everything, except the dates (they are of lesser importance anyway)

    especially that last option from a dev perspective should be a no brainer. What about that for a default policy???

  12. Jeremy Hitchcock Says:

    Or have it not sync birthday address? Makes Zindus not work.

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