Zimbra users have been asking for how they can take the Zimbra AJAX UI offline. Today at Web 2.0 we demo’d this for the first time.
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 email@example.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. The beta version of the offline client for email and contacts will be available in Q4.