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Thread: Future of IM (instant messaging) client in Zimbra

  1. #1
    storm's Avatar
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    Default Future of IM (instant messaging) client in Zimbra

    It is likely that many Zimbra administrators, buyers, and users would wish to know about the future of IM client support in Zimbra. Whilst there has been much discussion concerning the internal IM server removal, there have been few, and seemingly contradictory, noises concerning the future of IM client support.

    1. What is the future of IM web client - removal/stuck in beta/enhanced and supported?

    2. Will IM web client (if retained) ever be usable from Zimbra Desktop?

    3. If the IM client is removed or unsupported, will there be any interop (chat logs, contact sync, UI integration) with external products to ensure Zimbra can be used as a full collaboration suite?

    4. Is it feasible or likely that any replacement IM external server solutions be packaged or bundled within Zimbra? as per https://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=47036

    Many thanks,
    Störm



    Background:


    Instant messaging in Zimbra falls under two areas:
    • IM server
    • IM web client (not available on Zimbra Desktop, so far)



    Internal IM server support being withdrawn


    Zimbra is gradually pulling support for internal IM servers. In ZCS 7 it is disabled by default, but can be switched on (though it is an unsupported beta products), details here:

    https://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=45932
    [SOLVED] Removed IM server


    Support for linking to alternative IM servers to be introducted


    It is said that support for linking with external IM servers (such as Jabber/XMPP) will be provided in place of the internal server support. From ZCS 8, internal IM server will be removed and IM server functionality will be available instead via 'interop with other leading IM products'.

    Some discussion of that here:
    [SOLVED] Removed IM server


    Users have proposed that an external IM server should be packagable/bundled with ZCS for ease


    Vote or comment here:
    https://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=47036


    IM web client to be enhanced or removed?

    It was being said that the IM web client, however, would be further improved.


    Sam Khavari 2010-04-09:

    "Based on feedback from existing customers and future customers, in ZCS 7.0 we
    will decouple the IM server from the ZCS server. Our current plan is to NOT
    ship an IM server but to integrate with existing XMPP based IM servers (eg,
    ejabberd). See bug 19398.

    We will focus on improving the integrated IM experience by enhancing the Ajax
    based IM client that exists today, eg bug 31738 & bug 42786, with existing IM
    servers."

    However, recently 50 bugs relating to IM web client have been closed
    e.g. https://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=33490
    https://bugzilla.zimbra.com/show_bug.cgi?id=36288

    There has been some discussion of IM web client and IM in Zimbra Desktop (e.g. Instant Messaging in Zimbra Desktop), but nothing on the forums or in Bugzilla specifying the future of IM web client, or IM client in zdesktop.

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    ewilen's Avatar
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    Default

    According to Phoenix in Zimbra plan with IM, removal of the existing IM Client shouldn't be construed to mean that integration with IM servers is being abandoned for ZWC.

    To add to your collection of references, in http://files.zimbra.com/website/docs...otes%207.0.pdf, p. 15, you'll find:
    Zimbra Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities are going to be removed in the next major release of ZCS. These capabilities include the embedded IM server and the Zimbra IM Client (part of the Zimbra Web Client). Zimbra IM is marked BETA and should not be enabled in a production environment and is not a supported feature.
    However, as Phoenix notes, the Functional Requirements document attached to Bug 19398 - Integration with external IM servers (XMPP proxy support) includes plans to have an IM client in ZWC.
    • The IM client will be a Zimlet/tab in the ZWC (AJAX), and should initially leverage the existing ZCS IM client as a baseline. No significant UI changes should be made until specified in future phases.
    • The client will communicate to external IM servers via a (new) Zimbra IM proxy / IM engine.
    [...]
    • The client will have a user-friendly and intuitive UI for customer setup that can be managed by the administrator.
    Last edited by ewilen; 03-01-2011 at 04:32 PM.

  3. #3
    storm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewilen View Post
    According to Phoenix in Zimbra plan with IM, removal of the existing IM Client shouldn't be construed to mean that integration with IM servers is being abandoned for ZWC.

    To add to your collection of references, in http://files.zimbra.com/website/docs...otes%207.0.pdf, p. 15, you'll find:

    However, as Phoenix notes, the Functional Requirements document attached to Bug 19398 - Integration with external IM servers (XMPP proxy support) includes plans to have an IM client in ZWC.
    Your response is appreciated.

    It would be helpful to have a more direct response from Zimbra. In any case, the point of creating this thread was to determine if there was to be a future IM client in Zimbra Desktop to leverage the planned third party IM server (or indeed other IM services).

    My questions still haven't been addressed anywhere, not even with a 'unsure'. Neither has any real timescale.

    The document you point to is helpful, but it would be far more helpful to have a statement (even if vague) which is more accessible and findable, especially since IM is clearly very important to many (paying) users who rely on Zimbra.

  4. #4
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Your questions have been answered in the bug reports and the Functional Requirements document for the future of the Web UI IM client.

    How much more 'official' do you want than the following from the Release Notes:

    Zimbra Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities are going to be removed in the next major release of ZCS. These capabilities include the embedded IM server and the Zimbra IM Client (part of the Zimbra Web Client). Zimbra IM is marked BETA and should not be enabled in a production environment and is not a supported feature.
    Those features are being removed from Zimbra in the next major release - there is no timescale at present for the next major release.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

  5. #5
    storm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    Your questions have been answered in the bug reports and the Functional Requirements document for the future of the Web UI IM client.

    How much more 'official' do you want than the following from the Release Notes:

    Those features are being removed from Zimbra in the next major release - there is no timescale at present for the next major release.
    I think everyone appreciates that the current IM is in beta, and is being removed.

    I appreciate that the plans are set-out, as far as they are available at present, in the Functional Requirements Document: http://bugzilla.zimbra.com/attachment.cgi?id=23281 attached to this Bug: Zimbra plan with IM.

    My first point was not a criticism of the overall position of your response to the more general IM issue, but merely a suggestion that for many users, including those less IT literate (but important nonetheless), reference to a document within a Bug report is not sufficiently accessible to have an insight into the future plans for an IM client.

    I have to say, the functional requirements document, whilst well-composed, was reasonably obscurely-located, and it would hardly jumped to mind as the place to look, it was only mentioned in another forum post (Zimbra plan with IM) on 8 Feb 2011. When a (non-technically advanced) Zimbra user searches the forums and blog to find out about the future of IM I think they could currently be excused for being confused and not really knowing about the future IM client plans.

    A lot of the discussion is quite technical to, about servers, and would go over some users' heads. The ideas within the report are very interesting, but I suggest would benefit from being further exposed or summarised in a Blog post or at least in these forums, in a clear statement (by that I mean the ideas for the future, rather than the removal of existing IM services, which have been communicated very clearly).


    My second point was referring to the questions that have not been answered - these are relating specifically to client/chat history capability in Zimbra Desktop, and these questions are not (AFAIK) addressed anywhere so far. Perhaps that's because they are not yet evolved, in which case, so be it, but it would be helpful to know either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by storm View Post
    In any case, the point of creating this thread was to determine if there was to be a future IM client in Zimbra Desktop to leverage the planned third party IM server (or indeed other IM services).
    Last edited by storm; 03-17-2011 at 04:44 AM. Reason: Typos/errors

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    50asm is offline Active Member
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    It looks like some one is looking to fill the gap of features that are being striped away.

    Check out this link, it looks to me that those wanting to keep the IM sever/client may soon have a no cost option to do so.

    ZeXtras CHAT for Zimbra Open Source

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    Good job something is being done in this direction. There's no way we're upgrading to 8 without some kind of IM.

    As it stands the voice stuff is next to useless in our environment and completely useless to FOSS users whose options have been completely cut off.

    To me it looks like the voice has been added to get "partnership payments" from the voice providers.

    :thumbdown:

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    goo0h is offline Active Member
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    Or, it's to counter MS Lynx....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by goo0h View Post
    Or, it's to counter MS Lynx....
    Which can do this, a common theme within these very forums : Integrating Lync with xmpp server (openfire) inside one company

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Lync_Server#XMPP

    Bueller ?

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