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Thread: How can Zimbra be extended?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default How can Zimbra be extended?


    I'm pretty new to Zimbra and wonder how Zimbra can be extended by propriatary functionality:

    I read about the so called Zimlets as a way to add functionality to Zimbra. As far as I was able to find out, those Zimlets appear in a special area on the right side in a separate box. What I need to do, is to add functionality to Zimbra, that goes far beyound a new Zimlet in a box on the left side of the user interface: I want to add much more functionality. E.g. I want to replace the login mechanism with a completely differnet login funcionality. Also I want to add new DIV's on the User Interface, which contain complete different functionality.

    So, if I complete want to rearrange the GUI, that is predetermined by Zimbra, how would I do this (or is this possible anyhow?). Usually, one would expect to have something like a graphical editor, where one can rearrange the DIV's and contents of the user GUI, afterwards you would clik on somethin glike a "Generate"-Button and then the complete AJAX-Code would be build. Is there somethink similar in Zimbra? Or will I have to edit teh AJAX-Code (=js-Files) of the Zimbra sources (if so, it seems to me, that adding extensions means a huge effort, if not to speak of an almost impossible mission)?

    Thank you for your reply in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    hi jmen, Zimlet's functionality does not limit at just "showing up in the left side separate box". It CAN, if you wanted it to, for example, make certain predetermined things disappeared, and even re-arrange the fashion how some components are displayed.

    While giving your the courage, I hate to give you the bad news too, there is no IDE tools like what you described/requested. Zimbra consists of many many tools in addition to just a Ajax interface. You need to know JSP, JavaBeans, taglib, SOAP, and to some extend, Linux admin skills to really make changes to how Zimbra look/work/serve.

    Having said all that, you will need a commercial/network edition to be able to make changes. These are just my personal experiences and I strongly recommend going with the commercial/network edition.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Login process

    Thank you for your response.

    In order to go into further detail (maybe my question will also become clearer):

    My customer thinks about replacing their current web-mail-solution (>4 million active user) by Zimbra. As you can imagine, this will not be done by installing Zimbra and "copying" mail-files from one location to the other. Especially, the customer wants additional functionality, that is now being offered to their >4M customers, also transferred to the Zimbra solution. This means, that we will have to strongly adapt Zimbra and change quite a lot of things, in order to make Zimbra offer all the functionality, the current portal system offers.

    To start with the first use case:
    The current login process is a single-sign-on which side-affects to a minimum of 5 applications and systems. So plugging in an LDAP-Interface to Zimbra will definitely NOT work. We will have to replace the whole source code of Zimbra, which is responsable of the login process.

    So for the login process, my question is: is it possible to replace the Zimbra login mechanism by a completely new mechanism? How would we do this? Is there any developers documentation? How would we "build" the front-end-dialogs, that will be presented to the user? Will we have to code the javascript ourselves, or is there something like a Ajax-GUI-Editor?

    Thank you for your reponse!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Maybe pre-authentication is just what you need. But if you are looking for a totally customized authentication you could implement an extension. See a ZimbraCustomAuth class.

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