Ross Dargahi

Open Source Product Management: How do features get into Zimbra?

By | February 28, 2007
One of the great advantages of being an Open Source company is having a community and customer base that can help guide and shape the evolution of the product. Our community and customers use Zimbra in a wide variety of deployment scenarios from the single individual, to small and medium business, to hosted services and large Internet service providers. Such diversity naturally breeds some excellent ideas around product features and improvements. In many ways we think of our community and customers as product managers whose ideas and experiences can really help improve the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS). In order to fully leverage such a wonderful resource, it is important to provide the right set of tools and process to easily enable communicating ideas and suggestions to us. It is equally important that folks can track the progress of their suggestions. We have a product management process and website that we have been using internally for quite some time; today, we are making the process and a version of the website public.… Read more »

Firefox 2 vs IE 7

By | October 25, 2006
Last week I posted an entry comparing IE 7 with Firefox 1.5 and the venerable IE 6. Lot's of folks have since asked for Firefox 2 to be added to the mix. The reason we didn't initially include Firefox 2 is because it was not at the time officially released and so we felt it unfair for it to be included. The graph below shows the cumulative time it took for IE 7 and Firefox 2 to execute the Zimbra Web Client (ZWC) peformance tests at various dates leading up to the final release of each browser. As can be seen, both IE and Firefox showed improvement in their final release, and so we think leaving Firefox 2 out of last week's tests was indeed the fair thing to do. So now that Firefox 2 has been officially released, how does if fare against IE 7? We ran each browser over a common set of Zimbra Web Client (ZWC) operations such as logging in, viewing messages, navigating around various folders, changing options, viewing contacts, and performing various calendar operations.… Read more »

IE 7 vs IE 6

By | October 19, 2006
Back in April I wrote an entry complaining about IE's performance as a Web 2.0 platform: "From a Web 2.0 application developers perspective (developers who use a lot of JavaScript and DOM manipulation), IE 6 is plagued by a number of well known problems such as its ability to readily leak memory. Regrettably, Microsoft's next release of Internet Explorer, IE 7, does little to resolve these issues." I am happy to say that I was wrong. Microsoft's IE team has clearly been hard at work on improving their browser's memory management and JavaScript performance. IE 7 has made some significant leaps forward based on some initial in house testing here at Zimbra.… Read more »

Look Ma, No Mouse: Keyboard Navigation and Shortcuts in the Zimbra Collaboration Suite and The Kabuki Ajax Toolkit

By | September 12, 2006
Keyboard shortcuts and navigation are indispensable time savers for an application's frequent and power users. Who among us has not quickly learned the keyboard shortcuts for performing common tasks within an application that we use regularly? Unfortunately, one of the more common complaints against web-based applications is that they are, in many instances, lacking when it comes to supporting keyboard shortcuts and navigation. Frankly, the lack of keyboard support (both shortcuts and navigation) is something that has annoyed me about the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS), and it is something that I have been wanting to add to both Kabuki (the Zimbra Ajax Toolkit) and the ZCS; however, I didn't want to just stuff in some basic keyboard shortcuts and call it a day. Instead, I wanted to have a go at implementing the same level of keyboard support that most traditional UI toolkits and desktop applications support. This actually turned out to involve quite a bit of work - for example, since only input elements may have focus (in most browsers) we needed to simulate and track focus for toolkit components which frequently have no native input element associated with them - but at the end of the day, I think it was worth the effort. (more…… Read more »

Web2.0 + AJAX: The Loosely-Coupled Web

By | May 8, 2006
The Web is a massive, globally accessible and ever growing information repository. Just about any information you can think of can be discovered and retrieved via the Web. Until recently much of this content has been accessible through web sites and web applications that tightly coupled application data, business logic (a.k.a. services), and presentation into HTML pages. Since there were no external interfaces with which to access the information, the only way for third parties to get at the underlying services/data was to "screen scrape" HTML pages in order to extract salient content - a very fragile and time consuming task. This was the world of Web 1.… Read more »

Will there be a Web 2.0 browser war?

By | April 17, 2006
IE 6 is an inadequate platform for developing advanced Web 2.0 applications. I suspect that a number of hard core web application developers will nod their heads in agreement with this statement. From my experience, IE 6 is certainly more challenging to work with than some of its competitors, and it exhibits some very unpleasant behaviours that make it a difficult platform with which to develop advanced Web 2.0 applications. Before I go further, I know some folks may be asking what exactly are “advanced Web 2.0 applications?” I describe them as the class of application making extensive use of AJAX and DHTML - which I like to, for convenience, group together under the AJAX umbrella - to provide a rich and compelling end user experience.… Read more »