Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Zimbra Demonstrates Offline Ajax

Category: Offline, Showcase

I know that the network will catch up, but in today’s world people want to be able to access their data when they are offline, whether it be on a plane, or just when the darn cable connection does out again.

Zimbra demonstrated taking their Ajax collaboration app offline today:

The design goal is to have the same user experience with Zimbra both online and offline. Technically the Zimbra Offline client is the same AJAX client UI but now connecting to a local sync’d cache of the data and more importantly the ability to search, tag, organize, etc without network access. The two way sync of mail, calendar, contacts, and documents will allow Zimbra user’s to take their collaboration data together with the Zimbra AJAX experience with them on the road or in places without a network connection and when they come back online – all of the changes made while offline (like composing, deleting, moving, creating messages, contacts, events or folders) are sync’d back to the cloud. Just like traditional offline mail clients – messages pending to be sent are stored in an Outbox where you can edit and view them until re-connected. You’ll notice in the screenshots that both POP accounts and RSS feed folders are sync’d when in offline mode just as when online. RSS folders have been part of Zimbra for a while. POP aggregation will be part of our next major release and IMAP will be added shortly after that. Mail identities allows you to respond with the FROM and REPLY-TO addresses that the mail come with – responding to mail POP’d from gmail; Zimbra will automatically set the FROM address to your @gmail.com account. This feature is also useful for people who would like to respond as support@company.com when responding on behalf of a support team mail list for example. Mail identities will also be part of Zimbra’s next major release. Watch this space for more on the architecture of the offline sync cache – meanwhile below are some screenshots.

I haven’t heard what implementation they are using. In the past they use the localhost proxy (so you could always connect) but that is an install, which is a pain. Now they could be using browser storage?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 5:32 pm
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…I wonder how the capabilities compare between Zimbra’s offline capability, and Dojo’s. Anyone know?

Comment by Mark Holton — November 9, 2006

[…] Zimbra demonstrated an offline version of its Ajax client yesterday at Web 2.0. It handles two way synchronization of mail, calendar, contacts, and documents for disconnected work. I’m assuming they’re using some sort of browser storage approach, although Ajaxian mentions that in the past they’ve used a localhost proxy to allow for disconnected access. Installing and running a localhost sounds far too painful. I’m betting on browser storage. […]

Pingback by Anne 2.0 » Blog Archive » Zimbra Introduces Offline Version — November 10, 2006

They did not say anything about bowser support – which all browsers will it support?

Comment by Binny V A — November 11, 2006

What exactly is the scope of their offline support? Can I shutdown the browser and start it again without losing data? Can I startup the browser, open the mail page and view my inbox, all without an internet connection at the start?

Comment by Oliver Clevont — November 12, 2006

[…] Zimbra working on offline application […]

Pingback by Techhawking » Blog Archive » Offline Storage in Ajax applications ? — November 12, 2006

>They did not say anything about bowser support – which all browsers will it support?

All the browsers Zimbra’s AJAX app supports today… Firefox, IE, Safari, Mozilla, etc.

>What exactly is the scope of their offline support?

Full offline sync of your collaboration data. Mail and contacts will be the focus of the first beta.

>Can I shutdown the browser and start it again without losing data?

Yes.

>Can I startup the browser, open the mail page and view my inbox, all without an internet connection at the start?

Yes.

Comment by KevinH — November 16, 2006

Zimbra uses Derby for offline storage!

I was poking around the blogosphere and discovered serendipitously that the new offline support in Zimbra uses Apache Derby, and was actually inspired by the demonstration Francois did of offline Derby at ApacheCon in 2005. Way cool!

Trackback by David Van Couvering 's Blog — November 17, 2006

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