Briefcase is here to stay - Post improvements
Since the Announcements forum won't allow me reply, I am posting this here.
Earlier this month, Zimbra announced they will not be letting go of Briefcase despite the rollout of Horizon Suite which is not cost-effective and overkill for many Zimbra customers. VMWare will never get these customers to buy such a thing due to cost, lack of in-house IT competence and hardware limitations.
"For all the Zimbra customers out there, we wanted to let you know that the Briefcase application in Zimbra is here to stay. For the passionate Briefcase users, please let us know how we can improve it for the future. Please log requests in Bugzilla or post here."
I've been working with Zimbra since 2008 and ZCS 5 NE, especially, on Briefcase. The whole sales pitch of a drop-in replacement to MS Exchange must include the complete workflow and package that MS Server includes and provides end-users and that includes file/document management. The file server in MS Server is interoperable on all platforms. Unfortunately, MS Server gets cumbersome with various services not being unified and living independently of each other with myriad threads of connectivity between them.
A small digression: Current Briefcase has odd behavior on various platforms. For instance, using Firefox on Kubuntu/KDE 12.10 drag-and-drop is gone and when uploading causes the open file dialog to open. This is unnecessary since it is an upload and not a download.
With Briefcase, since the major portability and collaborative Zimbra experience in being a one-stop shop is over HTTP, WebDAV or some bridge protocol/connection like it must be used. While this is a very solid and standard way of managing file delivery that MS Server is conceptually based on, in Briefcase it is not stable over the three major platforms except for simple upload/download. Open>Edit>Save>, etc., type workflow is not consistent, and is complicated in versioning between on-the-fly editing and upload/download which are distinct functions.
Think of it this way. A worker is on the road using their laptop collaborating with others on the same document. One is in the office editing on-the-fly and the other on a place downloaded the same file to work on it locally on their laptop. In Briefcase, this ends up being a kludge while in MS Server it doesn't. The advantage of properly working document management is to lock the file once it is 'checked-out' by a worker so that others cannot edit it at the same time; one at a time. This is so another worker doesn't overwrite or cause out of chronology edits.
I'm not saying VMWare Zimbra is devoid knowledge and competency on this, they are pretty expert on working with me to try and solve the issue but it is not a priority at all, and for me, has not only hamstrung my office for the past five years but forced me to keep our MS Server still online and it has to be immediately taken offline as I don't want to put any more work hours or upgrade hardware into it.
This situation has also caused a huge loss of my credibility and respect from other workers in choosing Zimbra over something else and having to break a critical workflow. I can't say it with any more emergency or importance.
My big question has to be now is how does Zimbra manage its own document management and with what software? Other collaborative document management systems like Alfresco, Thinkfree and others, offer this kind of standard (as opposed to, robust) functionality so that office workflow doesn't get hamstrung after the migration to Zimbra from MS Server.
Actually, Thinkfree Office has the three basic productivity apps integrated that is pretty much a relplica of the same apps in MS Office. Plus, it will integrate into Zimbra but at a modest cost being much less than VMWare Horizon Suite.
What would have been a much easier solution is to adopt one of the third-party services and integrated into Zimbra. For me, Alfresco is more or less the best solution since they have an open-source version with tons of documentation, tutorials, videos and community support including regular gatherings to crowdsource improvements. Alfresco already has a Zimlet connector for Zimbra Mail but not for Briefcase.
Now. that is okay because with ample Zimbra codebase available to create tabs and components, Alfresco (or any others) could be seamlessly integrated eliminating Briefcase altogether.
I do not understand Zimbra's resistance to really bumping up the functionality of Briefcase so that it operates more or less the same way as an Alfresco or Thinkfree Office.