FiltaQuilla 1.0.0 released, adds custom search terms

By | December 2, 2009

Well I finally decided to quit adding new stuff, and just get a compatible FiltaQuilla out the door that works with Thunderbird 3.0 and SeaMonkey 2.0. You can get the new version from Mozilla’s download site here.

In addition to some new filter actions (print, add sender to address list, and save attachments to a folder) this release introduces “custom search terms” for the first time. This is a new feature that has been added recently to the mailnews core code, and is part of the TB 3.0 and SM 2.0 releases.

The search I am talking about is the old-style Thunderbird search, not the newer global database (gloda) search that was added to Thunderbird. Gloda gets all of the press, but we’ve also taught the old style search a few tricks as well! These are particularly useful in saved searchs (also called virtual folders).

I think that the most interesting new capability is that you can define a search (and therefore a virtual folder) by adding a few lines of javascript code that does precisely what you want. Let me give a very simple example.

Let’s assume that you want a virtualĀ  folder to contain all of the active items that you currently need to process involving projects. Incoming emails are marked with tags, either manually or by some sort of filter. You define new tags for each project, and each tag begins with “pro” and ends with some sort of project marker, say a number or word. You want to have your active folder contain messages that have a tag containing “pro”, but NOT include messages that are tagged “done”.

The standard mailnews tag search forces you to enter the tag name for each tag that you want. There is no way to search for tags by the characters in the tags. Plus, searching for several tags is an OR function, and saying to not include DONE messages is an AND function. But the standard mailnews search does not handle complex boolean searches.

The javascript custom search comes to the rescue! Go to the folder that contains the messages that you want, and select the Javascript search term:

Search Javascript search term

Click on the script icon Script edit button and you will get a small editor window, where you can enter a few lines of javascript. All that we need to do is grab the string that has the tags in it, and make sure it includes “pro” but does not include “done”. Our javacript is given a variable “message” which is the database header object that can be used to get message properties. We need to execute an expression as the last statement, whose value is either true if we want the message, or false if we do not. That’s just the following two lines of javascript:

let tags = message.getStringProperty('keywords');
(/pro/.test(tags) && !(/done/.test(tags));

So here’s what our javascript window and code looks like:

Enter Javascript code

Now save this as a virtual folder, and you have the exact virtual folder that you want!

OK, this is just for geeks, but it is really powerful in letting you define folders that can precisely define the workflow that you want. There’s also a few other geek-friendly search terms, including the much-requested regular expression search by subject or other header. For details, see the updated FiltaQuilla page on this site.

FiltaQuilla is still in experimental status, though I have now nominated it to be public. Still it may be a few weeks before it gets there. If you are an existing FiltaQuilla user, you will need to go to the download page directly and download and install the new version.