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Thread: gmail and zimbra desktop; how well do they collaborate?

  1. #1
    whileworth is offline Loyal Member
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    Default gmail and zimbra desktop; how well do they collaborate?

    Can someone with more experience with gmail and zimbra proof my thinking here?

    I'd like to migrate my outlook 2003 pst based stack of emails to google apps (google for domains). I believe the google-email-uploader tool will copy all of the pst based emails to gmail, and create labels for the various folders I have created.

    On my other gmail accounts I've only made light use of labels but I can get used to how they're different from the outlook folders. I now see that a recommended way to use gmail is to categorize emails via labels and then archive them; more or less parallel to how folders work in outlook. That way the inbox has less of a load; but everything is still there and available via the labels and All Mail. To date though I've archived almost nothing in my inbox.

    So an issue I've read about here is that zimbra desktop does not replicate the All Mail folder, for reasons stated in the faq. So what's the best practice? Is the fact that zimbra desktop does not have an All Mail folder is so important? ZD seems to synch the labeled emails pretty well.

    But since I've only used gmail in a superficial manner (for a couple years) and am very new to zimbra desktop, can anyone point out the gotchas? It'd be a real drag to move from outlook where all of my stuff is nicely organized in folders, to google apps and zimbra desktop, and then find that there was some serious issue with organizing messages in the new system.

    One issue that may come up for me is that I have a lot of folders. I don't see how the realtively simple folder/label menu systems of zimbra desktop and gmail will be able to present such a deep stack of folders gracefully. It's hard enough with outlook.

    zimbra desktop seems like a great solution. Thank you for making it available.

  2. #2
    PeterSteele is offline Active Member
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    We recently changed from an Outlook/Exchange environment to a google apps environment (to keep our Linux users from whining). Most of the Windows users did not take the transition to gmail well at all. The gmail web client is pretty primitive compared to Outlook, and Outlook in IMAP mode is *way* too slow.

    We all eventually (grudgingly) accepted the gmail client as our primary mail tool, and I personally was pretty much able to recreate my Outlook folder structure with gmail labels.

    Then we came across Zimbra, and since then all of the former Outlook users have migrated to Zimbra, and again I have been able to create a folder structure to mimic my former Outlook environment. Based on your comments I probably don't have as complex a folder layout as you, but I do have some nested folders, with filters set up to automatically move messages to specific folders for things like mailing lists I subscribe to.

    I keep my inbox pretty much empty, with no more than a dozen or so messages in it at any given time representing my "to do" list, more or less. Everything else gets placed in the appropriate folder.

    Zimbra has been working very well for us. As a web app, it's very good, with context menus, drag and drop, and many things that you'd only expect to see in regular applications. Zimbra is certainly not as feature rich as Outlook and I definitely miss some things (like being able to paste a graphic directly into the message I am composing), but compared to gmail it is *way* better.

    So, I'd definitely recommend making the switch.

    That's my two cents.

  3. #3
    whileworth is offline Loyal Member
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    Thanks Peter that's very useful input. I had not thought about pasting images in...I'd miss that a lot. Is there any kind of plan for zd to support that?

    Is zimbra desktop running in a browser? If so does it carry it's own browser with the install, or is it using my existing copy of IE or firefox?

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    PeterSteele is offline Active Member
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    It runs independent of a browser, which makes it feel very much like a normal application. It is a web-app though. Not sure if it is interfacing with IE or Firefox, or doing something else entirely.

    One thing that it supports that the gmail web-client does not is the ability to add attachments that are embedded in the message text, giving you the ability to compose messages similar to what Outlook allows through pasting graphics into a message. It's not as convenient as Outlook's approach, but gmail doesn't support even this so I get at least a part of one of my favorite Outlook features.

    It would definitely be nice for Zimbra to provide this feature (pasting graphics) in a future release.
    Last edited by PeterSteele; 02-21-2009 at 04:34 PM.

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    phoenix is online now Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSteele View Post
    Not sure if it is interfacing with IE or Firefox, or doing something else entirely.
    It uses Prism.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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    whileworth is offline Loyal Member
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    Prism, that's pretty cool.

    I see what you mean about zimbra desktop allowing embedded images, just not via cut and paste. I suppose I could still keep outlook tied in to gmail via imap, and use it when expedient.

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    whileworth is offline Loyal Member
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    I've not been able to get the Google Email Uploader to work and it looks kind of like google isn't paying attention to that project. So I have a dilemma re migration.

    First, I'm still glad of the move to gmail. It give me a much more accessible message store than my local pst. I have moved my account to gmail (google apps std) and have brought the gmail account back in to outlook as an imap email account. That gives me the ability to paste inline images into messages.

    With the migration tool DOA, the imap account in outlook might also become a method of transport. It seems that copying folders from the pst in outlook to the imap account does create labels on the gmail side. Gmail does not seem to have the ability to nest labels, exactly. But it does accommodate copied nested folders by creating label names that mimic the folder structure. If copy folder1 that has child folders folder2 and folder3, google mail ends up with three labels

    folder1
    folder1/folder2
    folder1/folder3

    It's not compact in gmail, but it works. And in zimbra desktop, the hierarchy of folders *is* collapsible.

    Given the failure of the Google Email Uploader tool, it was looking kind of grim for a while. But, if I take the time to manually copy to the imap account in outlook...it works out ok? Can anyone see any reason not to proceed with the migration?

  8. #8
    PeterSteele is offline Active Member
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    My only comment is that when our company first switched from our Exchange server to gmail, those of us who had been using Outlook with Exchange tried to continue to use Outlook in IMAP mode with gmail. All of have since abandoned Outlook in favor of either Zimbra or the gmail web client.

    We didn't really want to make the switch but Outlook is unbearably slow as an IMAP client. There's really no reason for it either. There are many email clients that use IMAP to talk to gmail and they work fine, as far as speed is concerned. Outlook seems to almost deliberately offer poor performance, perhaps to make you think twice about dropping Exchange.

    As a long time Outlook user, I'm reasonably happy using ZDesktop. Overall it's a decent email client. But it certainly isn't the same as the Outlook/Exchange combination.

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    whileworth is offline Loyal Member
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    I'm also scoping out thunderbird. I'm sure you considered it also when searching for an Outlook replacement. Can you tell me why you settled on Zimbra Desktop? I've only begun to experiment with it. I'd guess that it does not have glacial imap like Outlook does. Thunderbird does allow pasting images inline. But I've not tried it as an imap client.
    Last edited by whileworth; 02-22-2009 at 02:34 PM.

  10. #10
    PeterSteele is offline Active Member
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    In fact I didn't even know about Thunderbird. Our switch from Exchange to gmail happened very suddenly. The gmail advocates said we'd be able to configure Outlook to work with gmail just like it used to work with Exchange. This was not the case--Outlook in IMAP mode is pretty much unusable, as I've mentioned.

    So most of us gave up on Outlook and switched to using the gmail client. We weren't very happy. Then one of my co-workers pointed me to Zimbra Desktop and many of us have switched to this in favor of gmail. I have not had to time quite frankly to research what other options are available. Now that you've brought Thunderbird to my attention, I will probably check it out.

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