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Thread: [SOLVED] Zimbra not syncing properly with Address Book and iCal

  1. #1
    Colin Day is offline New Member
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    Default [SOLVED] Zimbra not syncing properly with Address Book and iCal

    I installed Zimbra iSync connector 4.5.753 and set everything up to sync my address book entries and my iCal with Zimbra. I noticed that my address book entries transfered through to Zimbra ok with some caveats:

    1.) A bunch of the entries in Apple Address Book do not transfer (IE: AIM/Jabber info, website address, birthday, etc...etc...). Sure, I could custom create these entries in Zimbra, but if the point of the connector is to truly sync address books, it should be done automatically.

    2.) Apple Address Book groups do not sync up with Zimbra. The entries in the groups are added to the main Zimbra address book, but groups are not maintained nor transfered from Zimbra to Address book. This is extremely important as it is one of Address Book's as well as Zimbra's more powerful features. If they can't talk together, I'd say the connector is not doing a complete job of syncing the data.

    3.) It seems a bit strange to simply sync iCal data files with the Zimbra calendar. Wouldn't it be more efficient to house the .ics files on the Zimbra server and broadcast to/from the only version so things are more centralized. It seems like there would be less data transfer and confusion if it was central on the Zimbra server, and not constantly being transfered from the user's computer to the Zimbra server. This would also be ideal for groups of people that are all editing shared calendars.

    I know this is a pretty critical posting, but I feel like there are other services out there that have already nailed a lot of this individually for Address Book and iCal (Plaxo for address book syncing, and iCal Exchange for LDAP ical broadcasting). Zimbra's interface and centrality is pretty great, so that's why I'd love to see the functionality worked out so we can continue to use programs like Address Book and iCal in full instead of being tied to a web browser.

  2. #2
    sculi2000 is offline Contractor
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    Hey there Colin. Thanks for your feedback regarding the iSync Connector.

    1. Recent versions of the connector do sync website addresses and birthdays. The stock Zimbra Web Client doesn't currently support IMs, so while we could potentially sync that information from AB, you couldn't view it anywhere. For what it's worth, the 5.0 version of the iSync Connector which is still in beta does sync IMs.

    2. AB Group and Zimbra Contact folders are not quite the same thing, and we are still working to find the optimal thing to do here. An AB group is not a folder, it's more like a playlist in iTunes. Also, AB groups serve as personal distribution lists, so if the iSync Connector sees a group, does it create a folder in your mailbox or a PDL in an already extant folder?

    This is something we are actively working on, and hopefully we'll come up with something that make sense and is very intuitive.

    3. I'm not sure what you're referring to here. Are you speaking about syncing appts with the Zimbra iSync Connector?

    Again thanks for all your feedback. We're very determined to keep improving our software and getting this kind of feedback is very valuable.

    Take care,

    Scott

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Day View Post
    I installed Zimbra iSync connector 4.5.753 and set everything up to sync my address book entries and my iCal with Zimbra. I noticed that my address book entries transfered through to Zimbra ok with some caveats:

    1.) A bunch of the entries in Apple Address Book do not transfer (IE: AIM/Jabber info, website address, birthday, etc...etc...). Sure, I could custom create these entries in Zimbra, but if the point of the connector is to truly sync address books, it should be done automatically.

    2.) Apple Address Book groups do not sync up with Zimbra. The entries in the groups are added to the main Zimbra address book, but groups are not maintained nor transfered from Zimbra to Address book. This is extremely important as it is one of Address Book's as well as Zimbra's more powerful features. If they can't talk together, I'd say the connector is not doing a complete job of syncing the data.

    3.) It seems a bit strange to simply sync iCal data files with the Zimbra calendar. Wouldn't it be more efficient to house the .ics files on the Zimbra server and broadcast to/from the only version so things are more centralized. It seems like there would be less data transfer and confusion if it was central on the Zimbra server, and not constantly being transfered from the user's computer to the Zimbra server. This would also be ideal for groups of people that are all editing shared calendars.

    I know this is a pretty critical posting, but I feel like there are other services out there that have already nailed a lot of this individually for Address Book and iCal (Plaxo for address book syncing, and iCal Exchange for LDAP ical broadcasting). Zimbra's interface and centrality is pretty great, so that's why I'd love to see the functionality worked out so we can continue to use programs like Address Book and iCal in full instead of being tied to a web browser.

  3. #3
    Colin Day is offline New Member
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    Default Address Book/iCal

    Quote Originally Posted by sculi2000 View Post
    so if the iSync Connector sees a group, does it create a folder in your mailbox or a PDL in an already extant folder?

    This is something we are actively working on, and hopefully we'll come up with something that make sense and is very intuitive.

    3. I'm not sure what you're referring to here. Are you speaking about syncing appts with the Zimbra iSync Connector?
    If the iSync Connector sees a group, it does not, to my knowledge, create a folder in my mailbox or "PDL in an already extant folder".

    I'll try to explain my reference of using a LDAP system to broadcast iCal calendars. I currently use a free service called icalx (iCal Exchange) to broadcast/contribute to public and private calendars. For example, I set up an iCal calendar to organize a bunch of hiking trips with a number of other people. I created the calendar in iCal and then used Calendar:Publish to publish the .ics file on a server with LDAP. This calendar can now be subscribed and contributed to by anyone using calendar software that uses .ics files. So, if I make a change in my iCal to that calendar, all of the people who have subscribed to that calendar will get the change/addition. The same is true if anyone on the list adds to the calendar. The change is reflected in my iCal instantaneously because it is reading the .ics file from the server, instead of simply uploading/importing the full calendar every so often. That is the sort of functionality I'd like to have with Zimbra, and maybe I'm missing how to do it, but it seems like it doesn't work that way. (Please correct me if I'm wrong by referring me to a part of the manual/website that describes how to accomplish this)

  4. #4
    sculi2000 is offline Contractor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Day View Post
    If the iSync Connector sees a group, it does not, to my knowledge, create a folder in my mailbox or "PDL in an already extant folder".

    I'll try to explain my reference of using a LDAP system to broadcast iCal calendars. I currently use a free service called icalx (iCal Exchange) to broadcast/contribute to public and private calendars. For example, I set up an iCal calendar to organize a bunch of hiking trips with a number of other people. I created the calendar in iCal and then used Calendar:Publish to publish the .ics file on a server with LDAP. This calendar can now be subscribed and contributed to by anyone using calendar software that uses .ics files. So, if I make a change in my iCal to that calendar, all of the people who have subscribed to that calendar will get the change/addition. The same is true if anyone on the list adds to the calendar. The change is reflected in my iCal instantaneously because it is reading the .ics file from the server, instead of simply uploading/importing the full calendar every so often. That is the sort of functionality I'd like to have with Zimbra, and maybe I'm missing how to do it, but it seems like it doesn't work that way. (Please correct me if I'm wrong by referring me to a part of the manual/website that describes how to accomplish this)
    No, the connector doesn't currently sync groups, either as folders or PDLs. As I mentioned, we're trying to figure out what to do with groups.

    As for the calendar part of the equation, I'm afraid that's beyond the scope of the iSync Connector and my knowledge level. What you seem to be describing could be handled with Zimbra's support for shared calendars. Is there a reason that enabling sharing on your calendar via the Web Client won't accomplish what you want?

    Take care,

    Scott

  5. #5
    Colin Day is offline New Member
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    I think the Zimbra calendar sharing will work, but it seems to limit my ability to share with people outside of the Zimbra system, etc...

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