March 25, 2007 9:00 PM PDT

Start-up Zimbra takes Web e-mail offline

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E-mail software company Zimbra on Sunday released an early version of Zimbra Desktop, Web e-mail software that will run online and offline.

The company has built an open-source, Web-based alternative to existing mail servers and clients such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. Zimbra uses Ajax, a Web development technique that runs across browsers and operating systems.

Zimbra Desktop requires users to download software that will synchronize with a Zimbra server.

The download includes the Apache Derby database, which acts as a local e-mail store, said Satish Dharmaraj, the company's CEO. Future versions will not require users to do the manual download, he said.

The first release of Zimbra Desktop is an alpha version. The beta version, due this summer, will work with POP and IMAP e-mail servers and will include access to the company's calendaring server. When the company releases its 5.0 product, it will include the offline capabilities.

Dharmaraj said the company has sought to replicate the experience people are used to with products like Outlook. He is scheduled to show Zimbra Desktop in San Diego at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, which starts Monday.

"All this innovation has been happening on the Web side (with browsers and Web services), and we want to bring innovation to the desktop as well," he said.

More Web development technology that bridges the desktop with the Web is starting come out.

Adobe Systems earlier this month released an alpha version of Apollo, which allows people to write Web applications that can run on desktop machines.

And last week, online-collaboration-software company Joyent detailed Slingshot, software that lets developers convert Web applications written using Ruby on Rails to hybrid online-offline applications.

See more CNET content tagged:
Web development, AJAX, e-mail server, Web application, Microsoft Outlook

3 comments

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Offline Messaging... Been There Done That
Why would anyone think this is something unique? The fact is, you still have to download a piece of software that will sit on your computer and sync to a Zimbra server. Nothing new here... Move along.
Posted by Charles.H.White (3 comments )
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This is BS, nothing new here, just more silicon valley VC funded company Hy
Why in gods name is this news?
What the hek is innovative here? NOTHING.
Web based email & client based email have all been done for ions. Who cares that Zimbara, what a stupid name BTW :( is doing it again!
I mean look at this bit of this report:
"Zimbra uses Ajax, a Web development technique that runs across browsers and operating systems. "
WHAT THE HEK do you call Hotmail and dozens of similar web based emails?
They all "run across browsers and operating systems. "

Oh let me guess why this is news: because silicon valley VCs invested in this piece
of Junk, and since silicon valley VCs invested in it then their mafia brothers in Big media
have gotten the marching orders to Hype it.
OTOH, they ignore 100s of great interesting offerings from around the world because
they have not gotten silicon valley VC funding.
Wake up people to this lie/game :(
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Posted by manojkthakur (1 comment )
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