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Thread: Suggestion on Zimbra's Architecture

  1. #1
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    Default Suggestion on Zimbra's Architecture

    I have been looking at a number of people asking for plain Webmail client or some who just want to use their Webmail client or some who want to run Zimbra on a low config machine with not all features that Zimbra supports. There are also many who want to use all features of Zimbra and in addition add some of theirs.

    Would it be in the interest of Zimbra (the company), to provide a completely (multi-level) modular architecture, such that:

    1. If I want to use my existing mail server, and Zimbra Web Client, I can do so. (1st level modularisation)

    2. If I want to use my existing web client (e.g Outlook, Evolution, Thunderbird, ...) and use only the Zimbra Server with Anti Spam and Anti Virus features, I can do so. (1st level modularisation)

    3. If I want to setup Zimbra Mail Server and Zimbra Client, but no antispam or no antivirus, I can do so. (1st level modularisation)

    4. If I want to use Zimbra Client, with Calendars and Tasks (yet to come), and Address Book and other Apps, I can select the ones I want. (2nd level of modularisation).

    5. I can run a command, such as, zmzimletctl listAllZimlets and have a list of all zimlets on my local disk as well as the ones on the Zimbra Server. (third level modularisation)

    Perhaps, saying, something such as: zmzimletctl deployRemoteZimlet com_zimbra_zimletname would download the zimlet from Zimbra's server and deploy it on my instance of Zimbra.

    6. A well-defined API for adding modules on all of the three levels:
    1st level: Operating System Applications (to modify or add core Zimbra functionality)
    2nd level: Zimbra Apps (to modify or add higher level functionality)
    3rd level: Zimlets (to allow easiest means to develop mashups)

    So the person wanting to use Zimbra needs only to install something like a Zimbra Framework, which comes with many commands and utilities to add 1st, 2nd or 3rd level modules. (The concept is like CPAN or Ruby Gems)

    This will be too much effort, I understand, but wouldn't this attract many more users?

    Zimbra may decide to keep certain 1st level, 2nd level and 3rd level modules paid. Thus, a good revenue stream and charge as per which modules are required.

    Additional Support Contracts, Indemnity, etc. charged additional, of course.
    Last edited by czaveri; 10-20-2006 at 08:09 AM. Reason: The concept is like CPAN or Ruby Gems
    Regards,

    Chintan Zaveri
    (Yet another ZIMBRAN!)

    "Dhundhne par Bhagwan bhi ..."

  2. #2
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    Default

    Thanks for the feedback. We are working on a couple things that will help low-end PCs. First we are looking at creating a HTML only 'lite' client that can be used on slow dial-up or modem connections. This would also work for some mobile phones. Additionally in the AJAX client we plan to allow user's to disable certain app functions if they don't require them (calendar, contacts, documents, etc). This will allow the AJAX client to load faster and work on lower end PCs with limited CPU/MEM. Our plans don't include allowing you to run without the Zimbra Server since no other server offers the level of search, conversations, tagging, etc that we need to make our client function. If you remove all those advanced features then there are plenty of plain and simple IMAP webmail clients. So Zimbra wouldn't be adding much value there.
    Looking for new beta users -> Co-Founder of Acompli. Previously worked at Zimbra (and Yahoo! & VMware) since 2005.

  3. #3
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    Of course, Kevin, and thank-you very much for your reply. And I am sure Zimbra has incomparably more well-thought-of strategy than what I can conjure up in a few words, sprung from my, perhaps, not-maturely-developed ideas.

    However, I, sometimes, do tend to think, that if there would be an independent Zimbra Web Client, there can be many takers. This, itself would bear a lot of value - I don't know of other clients that are:
    • Ajax-based and thus no reloads needed
    • View Emails as Conversations
    • (the forthcoming) PGP/GPG , S/MIME features
    • Ability to add new modules (Apps - Calendar, Wiki, IM, etc.)
    • Ability to add Zimlets (or anything equivalent), etc.
    - all of these and more in one package.

    In addition, wouldn't it be fascinating to have a remote App and Zimlets, deploy feature? That is, from a zimbra.com maintained repository - similar to CPAN. And there can be competitions for the best app and best zimlet and so many other fun things.
    Regards,

    Chintan Zaveri
    (Yet another ZIMBRAN!)

    "Dhundhne par Bhagwan bhi ..."

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