Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Tomboy and the Beast

To a large degree, Open Source is about scratching personal itches. The results are oftentimes small scripts, tools or plugins, rather than ending up as big projects of their own. Even if only little time is invested, the result can sometimes make a difference in terms of working efficiency. And picking low-hanging fruits surely is fun!

I'm using Claws Mail as MUA and Tomboy to organise my ideas and workflow. Both are truly excellent in their areas. However, an email is oftentimes connected to an idea, or a task, so I want to connect emails and notes somehow. Unfortunately, Claws Mail and Tomboy don't play well together.

When dragging emails from Claws Mail and dropping them into a Tomboy note, this is what you get:

Of course, the temporary files are cleaned up again after Claws Mail is closed, so the links are not only clumsy and non-descriptive, but also non-persistent and therefore totally useless in a note.

No more! I wrote a little addin for Tomboy that provides Claws Mail integration, so when loaded, email drag'n'drop results in this:

When clicking the link, the email is opened in Claws Mail again.

Code is on GitHub. I still couldn't find enough motivation to write the autofoo for it, so for now, a small hand-cooked Makefile has to do. Be sure to read the README file. I am not a fan of binary releases, but if anybody is interested in the dll, drop me a line. Also note that it currently only works with Claws Mail from CVS.

First impression of the Tomboy addin interface was very positive. It makes writing small addins easy, even for those unfamiliar with the general codebase. Well, even more in this case, as Tomboy ships with an Evolution addin which does the same thing for Evolution, and was an obvious source of inspiration.. Isn't Open Source great?


  1. this integration is great, thanks!

  2. hb, you say that " currently only works with Claws Mail from CVS". Do you know if this was before the release of claws-mail 3.7.4, or do we still need to build it from the CVS source?

  3. Claws Mail 3.7.4 should work fine.

  4. As a user of claws I was excited to try this add-in. That died pretty quickly when I was unable to build it. Errors are:
    gmcs -debug -out:ClawsMail.dll -target:library -pkg:tomboy-addins -r:Mono.Posix ClawsMailNoteAddin.cs `pkg-config --libs gmime-sharp-2.2` -resource:ClawsMail.addin.xml -resource:mail.png
    ClawsMailNoteAddin.cs(27,16): error CS0246: The type or namespace name `Gtk' could not be found. Are you missing a using directive or an assembly reference?
    Try using -pkg:gtk-sharp

    The error repeats several times, sometimes with a reference to gdk-sharp. I've tried installing the metapackage gtk-sharp on my Unbuntu 10.04 several times and it always chokes on the installation of monodoc-browser.

    Since I'm not particularly interested in debugging this and you mentioned that you may provide the dll could you get in touch with me at ?


  5. Al theses patches work only for selected combinations and without technical tweaking, fail more often than succeed.

  6. I too would like a binary... Open source is wonderful... but the tools and codebase changes so often neat things like this are difficult if nigh on to impossible for the average 'user' even if not a 'luser'.. no rant or attack intended. just want or need to the tool...