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Thread: I'd rather have a complete IMAP client!

  1. #1
    dwmtractor's Avatar
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    Default I'd rather have a complete IMAP client!

    I just loaded the new Zimbra Desktop 0.51 (I'm a new Zimbra user all the way around) and was pretty disappointed when I discovered all I was getting was a duplication of the same stuff on my browser but replicated to a local host. While I can see why remote users (laptops and bad connections) would want this, for my use on a good LAN it doesn't help at all.

    In comparison to the current implementation of Thunderbird (2.0.0.5 with Lightning 0.5) feels sluggish--everything takes time to sync, actions take time to happen, etc. This is on an XP client with dual-core 3.0GHz, 1 GB RAM, 100MBit LAN to the server.

    I (and my user base) would much rather see the resources that are being expended on this effort, go into making a tight integration with a good open-source IMAP client like Thunderbird plus Lightning, which our people would use. All we'd need for that integration to be complete (as folders and calendars are already working) would be a common address book and better integration of spam classification.

    Hope this isn't too politically incorrect but that's how I see it. . .

    Cheers,

    Dan

  2. #2
    jjzhuang is offline Zimbra Employee
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    Thanks much for the feedback! For people who prefer Outlook or Thunderbird you are absolutely correct.

    However the intention of zdesktop is to serve a different need. In fact it's exactly what you just said at the very beginning. It's meant to be the "duplication of the same stuff" on local host because we want the offline experience to be the same as online. That way the IT department doesn't have to train their users twice.

    In terms of current performance, there's definitely a lot more that can be done. Once we reach feature complete more effort will be made on improving performance. Thanks!

  3. #3
    mmorse's Avatar
    mmorse is offline Moderator
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    Did you notice that IMAP and POP support is under development/coming to the Zdesktop (and web) clients?

    From a large corporation aspect-it's far easier to have your helpdesk workers only deal with one interface when helping end-users. You'd be amazed at the difference; for instance outlook is often the bane of IT depts. You add one client to support...then you add them all...far easier to take a hard line and go: "This is what we support - if you use something else you're on your own."
    A setting need to be changed? Fix it server side-then upon next sync the user gets the change.

    everything takes time to sync, actions take time to happen, etc.
    Well the point is to to have the ability to disconnect from the server, keep working, and not even notice. Then when your connected, every X sec/min content is synced. So I'm kinda missing the point of "everything takes time to sync". Sry...let me know if you meant different...

    As for the "actions take time to happen" I assume you mean that it appears to run slower than your server-side ajax version. Eventually the resource usage will be addressed. I've run it on some pretty basic machines-I'm sorry it's not working out fast enough for you. Welp, it's an alpha

    The goal would be something like this - The don't have a wireless card/an internet sharing phone, train/plane trip example:
    -The user grabs their laptop out of the cradle, and catches the morning train to whatever city.
    -Browse to localhost:7633/click icon
    -Read the 20 new emails from the following afternoon/night
    -Delete 6
    -Tag, then move 3 to one folder
    -Move 8 emails to another folder
    -Flag 2
    -Accept a meeting invite
    -Run a search
    -Add a new tag for some of the messages they need to consult for some replies
    -Save all the search results for later
    -Share a briefcase (documents for now) of some files with your team
    -Compose 5 replies-they go into the outbox folder
    -Add two events to my calendar-select some invites.
    -Made a mail filter for certain new emails to go to a particular folder
    -Give read only access on that folder to some colleagues (don't want to miss sales opportunities while your gone)
    -Made a new address book or contact group for some event (added 9 contacts)
    -Forgot to tell some people they were leaving for a bit; so set an away message letting people know they're going to be gone for a week
    -Read a book, nap a bit, watch a movie, etc
    -Arrive in whatever city, where waiting at the airport for a flight they hop on some free WI-FI
    -Doing other stuff on the web, all folders & actions are silently/transparently synced.
    -Get 7 more emails for their reading leisure on the plane. (Though they're on vacation now so they might/might not read them.)

    Now, all that's NOT new; could have (almost) done the same in outlook/thunderbird with offline folders mode (not to be confused with local folders). BUT the user is on the same exact interface as the web client-no extra settings and configuration for a user to muck up.
    No inbound/outbound mailserver addresses. The user already knows the url they access the webclient from, and they know their username/pass; it's that simple.

    If you have any tips on Thunderbird & Lightning configuration add them here: Thunderbird & Lightning - ZimbraWiki

    "spam classification."
    Myself, I'll be very happy when you can search(/index) in the web clients by message headers. I really used to rely on X-Spam-Score and X-Originating-IP...
    Spam detection improvement recommendations? (built in graylisting options would be cool-ie no self configuration-just simple boxes in the admin console) Bayes doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot of good for me...sigh

    jjzhuang might chip in with some thoughts (the resident zdesktop person)
    Anyway, thanks for your input-and sorry for the long reply

    *It appears I'm behind - already did!
    *Mozilla also has xulrunner in the works that may prove interesting
    Last edited by mmorse; 12-15-2007 at 03:59 PM. Reason: LOL

  4. #4
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    I know it's a bit sluggish but you will never get a web based app competing on speed with a local executable. I agree with the zimbra guys on the other point, the reason for zimbra desktop is to have a local copy for when you don't have a connection. Perfect for laptop users. If you have a connection why would you IMAP, just use zimbra via the web browser as you are supposed to. Disappointed to hear though that shared calendars and contacts won't be available in GA.

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    jholder is offline Former Zimbran
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    We've been testing the latest version internally preparing for the release. It is amazing, and you all will be very happy.

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    dwmtractor's Avatar
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    Well, it seems to me as silly to ask people why they want IMAP, as it is to ask why you want a web app. Both do different things better:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scholes View Post
    I know it's a bit sluggish but you will never get a web based app competing on speed with a local executable.
    There's reason #1 right from you. Users care about speed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scholes View Post
    I agree with the zimbra guys on the other point, the reason for zimbra desktop is to have a local copy for when you don't have a connection. Perfect for laptop users.
    This is absolutely true. However the same lousy speed that is why I don't like the web client on my desktop makes it just as distasteful for me on the laptop. For my perspective the backend server that keeps the data offline results in some level of performance hit for the rest of my applications on the laptop too. Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario and I would never claim it was.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scholes View Post
    If you have a connection why would you IMAP, just use zimbra via the web browser as you are supposed to.
    Supposed to??? Come on, that sounds like Micro$oft speak! Software is "supposed to" serve the user, not the other way around. Part of what makes Zimbra a great package is precisely the fact that all users are not locked into the same clients, procedures, etc. I want IMAP because:
    1. It's faster in the local environment, and most of my users AREN'T portable
    2. You can see more than 25 or 50 or 100 messages at a shot and scroll through them
    3. Because of (2) it's a whole lot easier to move messages en masse from one folder to another, move folders around, etc. Heck, it's even possible to pull messages off the server (for accounts with limited space) onto local folders so if people want to keep their stupid jokes and movies and stuff they can do so but I don't have to back them up.
    4. I have a choice of clients and layouts that include options that the web app--great as it is--doesn't offer me.
    But I would never be so haughty as to suggest that because IMAP is the best solution for my company, everyone else should use it. I know a lot of people want it so I WOULD say that Zimbra needs to have it as an option; and in fact I would love to see Zimbra become part of the working group for Mozilla's new effort to develop the next generation of Thunderbird. But I still use the web client when I'm away from my office and laptop, and so do a number of my users. Being able to have BOTH is vastly better than being stuck with only either one.

  7. #7
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    And I thought I was supporting zimbra with my comments.

    Sure users care about speed but the day you get zdesktop to run as fast as a local client like thunderbird I'll eat my hat. The browser would never allow that sort of speed and anyone with any experience knows this. Users should be realistic and use zdesktop for what it offers other than all out speed.

    Yeh "supposed to". This is a quote from your web site about zdesktop.

    "That means when you are out of the office without a connection (say, in a plane, train, or automobile), you can keep working without missing a beat."

    Correct me if I'm wrong zimbra was designed to be a client/server application. Zdesktop came after to offer access to the date offline when you don't have a connection. I see that as it's primary role so if I have a connection I connect to the server to get real time access to the data, as I am supposed to.

    By the way, I dislike Microsoft intensely.

  8. #8
    Mike Scholes is offline Advanced Member
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    To J Holder, I'll be very happy if it gives me access to shared data. Without being able to see the companies data like shared calendar, contacts etc it has limited use over my normal email client. Apparently this will not happen in GA I can't even copy appointments if I want copies in my personal calendar I have to create a duplicate, all 6000 of them!!

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    dwmtractor's Avatar
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    Not trying to disrespect either Zimbra or you, Mike. My point was that zdesktop is the ideal answer for some people, and totally wrong for others, and fortunately Zimbra caters to both. I personally hope to see a lot more of the IMAP and related client-server functionality developed because that's the functionality that both I and my company prefer. As we are fond of saying, YMMV.

    This thread, by the way, was one of my early threads, long before I became moderator, and although I stand by the sentiments, it was partially the frustration of a newbie that motivated it. Zimbra clearly does not place "doctrinal" tests on its moderators!

    Cheers,

    Dan

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