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Thread: Shared Contacts: Why the Limitations?

  1. #1
    erikm is offline New Member
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    Default Shared Contacts: Why the Limitations?

    Hi folks,

    I've gotten really close to deploying Zimbra for a client of mine that needs push email, contacts, and calendaring for their business.

    The requirements were that they could cache all data to their Macintosh laptops offline, and still have up to the minute meeting notices and contact data sent to their phones.

    One big hurdle that we've run into is the ability to share and edit one big company address book - about 5000 records.

    While Zimbra makes it possible to share each others contact list, and sync this list to the computer (and even seems pretty smart about handling edits from each persons shared list), there is no way to send these shared contacts OTA to the phone.

    I wanted to know if this is a limitation with mobile platforms in general? When the architecture was designed (Exchange, Zimbra, Kerio, Communigate, etc), was the assumption made that people would only need to push contacts to their phone that they owned - much like their own email?

    Was this a business strategy decision or just an oversight in general? Seems to be an issue across these types of solutions, unless I'm completely missing something.

    If contact lists can be shared and synced with a user's local Address Book, what would be the limitation to also allowing shared contacts to be pushed back and forth to a person's phone via Activesync?

    I know that in a huge corporation it wouldn't make sense to share out a company wide address book with 30000 people (I understand you could do an LDAP lookup if you're connected) - but what about a division or a team of people that all need access to a subset of the same data on laptop and/or mobile device?

    In this case, we're using WM6 devices (with iPhones planned for future use)... I may be able to do a hack workaround by disabling OTA contact syncing and using Missing Sync to communicate to the phone via Address Book (and then AB back to Zimbra)...

    unless someone knows of a fix??! I'm sure this has been asked 1000 different ways on the forums, but I've not seen a way to do this, or see if it's even a planned feature addition.

    -- Erik

  2. #2
    p24t is offline Moderator
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    I would have to assume that the major limitation is in the handheld device. I believe that WM6 is capable of using the GAL remotely (a feature yet to be released but anticipated) - but I don't know about support for multiple contact lists. Palm has categories, but those are more like tags than anything. I don't know that there's any phone that has support for actual multiple contact lists, much less the ability to sync them. If there is a phone that has it, I don't know that the sync itself would support the option. That may be something for WM7 and the next version of ActiveSync.

  3. #3
    erikm is offline New Member
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    This doesn't quite make sense to me. If Now Contact / Up to Date was able to do it for years - share one central address book and sync that to the phone; and Daylite is able to do it presently (allow for syncing of other peoples contacts to your phone), then shouldn't it be possible with these other solutions?

    Additionally the GAL doesn't allow for offline caching of data, does it?

    My present workaround is this:
    to share out each persons contact list with the others
    allow the Zimbra iSync connector to sync to Address Book
    Disable OTA contact syncing on the phone
    Wire the phone directly to the Mac and sync via Missing Sync

    The initial tests seem to have gone fine, but we haven't yet tested it with 7 users all sharing their address books with each other.

    Still seems it would be easier if there was one central list that could be pushed out to anyone's phone and back again.

  4. #4
    p24t is offline Moderator
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    I've never heard of any of those.. programs? Do they do OTA contact sync for mobiles (preferably WM-compatible sync)?

    And wiring the phone directly to your computer introduces a new mechanism to transfer data. That still doesn't mean that ActiveSync can do that. If it can't then it can't. Even if Zimbra wrote something that was beyond what ActiveSync can do, then it still can't do it.

  5. #5
    Rich Graves is offline Outstanding Member
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    ActiveSync is hobbled by the limitations of Microsoft Exchange and Windows Mobile. And because it's "the industry standard," everyone else is following suit. Unfortunately, SyncML never entirely caught on.

    The Contacts application in Windows Mobile has no way to store and access a second addressbook... let alone sync it. Same with Calendar.

    Missing Sync, Chapura PocketMirror, and Daylite work around the limitations, but only by inventing their own protocols for merging multiple addressbooks into a categorized stream that can be presented to the device as one addressbook. This works, but can be somewhat fragile.

    Now Up to Date and the legacy Palm interfaces were nice while they lasted.

  6. #6
    phoenix is online now Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

  7. #7
    erikm is offline New Member
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    Interesting.

    Now what about something like Funambol? Does that introduce any different type of solution, used in conjunction with Zimbra? I still haven't fully grasped what it does, if it's a connector solution, or it's own server setup.

    To me their website is slightly vague.

    thx

  8. #8
    phoenix is online now Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Funambol is a server and connector, check out this thread in the forums: http://www.zimbra.com/forums/zimbra-...nc4j-code.html
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

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