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Thread: Has anyone ditched email clients and use browsers only ?

  1. #11
    jennyl is offline Junior Member
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    Sounds like we have similar problems, and solutions! We also looked at Prism, but decided that we would only push the web client. As I am responsible for the training, having one supported client is best!

    The issue we face here is that our PCs are not locked down. Anyone can install and use any app. So, I can't ensure that everyone uses Firefox.

    Further, we are strongly recommending training for a consistent message, but I'm not sure if we will end up with mandatory training...

    Your C# app sounds wonderful. You have your authentication tied in to their desktop. We aren't there yet... Working on it!

  2. #12
    drdre is offline Elite Member
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    Guys i have moved to the new beta2 of Zimbra Desktop and it rocks .. so i will be testing it more for now... i hope they keep it free.

  3. #13
    hchan is offline Active Member
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    Hi. Glad to see a section here for educators to talk about Zimbra.

    We bought in to the Network Edition to satisfy one of our departments who use Outlook integration to our Blackbaud system a lot. As it turns out, they've mostly switched to using the AJAX Web client and use Outlook only when they have to generate mailings from the Blackbaud database.

    I'm very pleased with the feature set of Zimbra but I have to admit that the Network Edition pricing is painful for our budget. At this point in time, I'd have to say that I'd switch to the Open Source version if it weren't for the backup/restore and archiving options which are critical.

    I think there's an applied psychology or human interface research paper somewhere in there with respect to Outlook users switching to the Web client... <grin>

  4. #14
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    I would say that the Outlook connector is not ready for production use. It continues to get better, but we are now at 4 fairly significant bugfix releases since it was declared "GA." Getting Outlook installed and configured and updating client software 4 times in 4 months is expensive. Updating JavaScript code in the browser is just a matter of clicking "OK."

    Unfortunately, we're in the opposite position of many -- while the majority of the IT department does not like and does not use Outlook, the IT department continues to tell people that they need Outlook features. We spent over 1000 person-hours installing Outlook on 400 desktops (it was so difficult because we first had to uninstall GroupWise and fix lots of MAPI problems), and today we have fewer than 100 regular Outlook users, all but 3 of whom also used the web client this week.

  5. #15
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    Active usage thus far today, with "Active" meaning "Sent one or more email messages":

    1341 AJAX web client
    245 IMAP client
    131 Standard HTML web client
    105 Outlook

  6. #16
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    webman is offline Special Member
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    @Rich: Out of interest, what Outlook features (that ZWC doesn't have) does the IT Department tell people they need?

  7. #17
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    natrixgli is offline Loyal Member
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    I work for a nonprofit of about 150 users (mostly old ladies familiar with Microsoft Outhouse)

    We now use ZWC exclusively. About 30% Love it, 30% Hate it, and 40% could care less how they get their mail. The biggest complaint is speed, but then we have many underpowered desktops, and this can be solved by using the HTML client. (of course then you lose docs, and briefcases..)

    I must say, as much of a Zimbra fanboy as I am, the quality and usability of the web client has gone down some since 5.0. It's not showstoppers, but little nuisances such as:

    - Deleted tag, tag reappeared about a dozen times because web client was open on another computer.
    - Some shortcuts that require the ALT key don't work (on FF / Ubuntu at least... Not sure about Windows)
    - Seems like a lot more button pressing is required to get new messages to appear in the inbox
    - Auto-populated GAL contacts in contact picker do not update when new users are added to the system
    - When adding attendees to an appointment using auto-complete, users often get "blah appears to be invalid, send message anyway?"
    - Sometimes a "Chats" folder appears, even if IM is disabled system-wide
    - Searching calendar appointments produces inconsistent results

    On the other hand, we love the fact that:

    - The client looks much nicer, especially the HTML client.
    - Calendars can be published in HTML format on the web
    - Contact picker can autopopulate and can load more than 50 contacts
    - There is a mobile client
    - etc, etc, etc.

    The reason we ONLY allow users to get mail via ZWC is that we can enforce a message lifetime policy and prevent users from storing messages offline by disabling IMAP and POP3. The goal was to get people to use email for what email is supposed to be - messaging - NOT file storage, etc. Having briefcases and documents makes this much easier, though it would be kind of cool if you could "send to documents" much like you can "send to briefcase".

    We won't downgrade though because some new features in 5.0 were necessary, and the performance feels much better than 4.5.x. We could live without the inconsistency and bugs. We use 30% Ubuntu Linux 7.10 / Firefox, and 70% Windows XP / IE 7.0.

    -n8
    Last edited by natrixgli; 04-23-2008 at 02:24 PM.

  8. #18
    webman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natrixgli View Post
    the quality and usability of the web client has plummeted since 5.0.

    ...

    70% Windows XP / IE 7.0.
    With regards to speed of the ZWC, if anything I would say there is a huge speed improvement in the 5.x version over 4.5.x. IE is pretty poor though.

    Have you considered using Prism (the same program used by Zimbra Desktop) to create an "email application"? It has the benefits of separating email from the web browser process; uses Firefox 3 so it's damn quick with Zimbra; and more screen real-estate due to lack of menus, toolbars and statusbar.

  9. #19
    natrixgli's Avatar
    natrixgli is offline Loyal Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennyl View Post
    The issue we face here is that our PCs are not locked down. Anyone can install and use any app. So, I can't ensure that everyone uses Firefox.

    If you use Active Directory, you could always use group policy to force IE to use a bogus proxy, i.e. 1.1.1.1 - this would prevent IE from working, thus making Firefox the only option!

    It would be cool if, in the Admin Console, you could disable support for IE... I do agree that IE (especially 6.0) performance is dreadful compared to Firefox.


    - n8

  10. #20
    webman's Avatar
    webman is offline Special Member
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    If you're dedicated to stopping IE users from accessing Zimbra, you can sit Zimbra behind an HTTP proxy (Apache2/nginx) and do some User Agent detecting. Granted it's not foolproof; but most IE users wouldn't know what a User Agent string is let alone how to change it.

    For example, in Apache:

    Code:
    BrowserMatch MSIE iexplorer
    Deny from env=iexplorer
    And using nginx.

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