Zimbra users no longer need to be wedded to the Internet to use the popular collaboration app's interface. On Tuesday, the open source messaging and collaboration vendor released Zimbra Desktop, an offline-capable client that is essentially the same as the original Web-based client.
Like its older sibling, the new client is browser-based and platform-agnostic. The difference, however, is that data is now accessible when the Internet is not. Thus, with Zimbra Desktop, users can access e-mail, calendar, contacts, and documents through the same AJAX-based user interface they've use with Zimbra Web.
The main difference is the synchronization functionality that resides on their system, John Robb, Zimbra vice president of marketing, told ServerWatch.
When a user comes online, all the changes he or she while made offline (e.g., composing, replying to, deleting, editing or moving contacts ), are synchronized with the Zimbra server and mobile devices.
Users who choose to work from the desktop client by default will also have their data synched at predetermined intervals, Robb said.
Previously, users who needed to work offline had to use Outlook.
Other advantages of Zimbra desktop include excellent rendering capabilities and no restrictions on mailbox size, Robb said.
Zimbra Desktop supports Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, including Ubuntu and Red Hat. It runs with most browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
Future plans for Zimbra Desktop include "IMAP and POP3 capabilities so it can be used with non-Zimbra servers," Robb noted.
The Zimbra Desktop Alpha is available now as a free download. It works with both the network and open source editions.
To date, Zimbra has 6 million paid mailboxes and 1,300 organizations that have paid to use it Robb says.