GroupWise Retains Client Edge

 
 
By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-11-21
 
 
 

GroupWise Retains Client Edge


With GroupWise 7.0, Novell Inc. has simplified information management for users, maintaining GroupWises excellent pedigree as an enterprise-class messaging and collaboration application.



Click here to read the full review of GroupWise 7.0.

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With GroupWise 7.0, Novell Inc. has simplified information management for users, maintaining GroupWises excellent pedigree as an enterprise-class messaging and collaboration application.

At $130 per user, GroupWise 7.0 is one of the more expensive enterprise messaging solutions on the market. However, eWEEK Labs tests show that it also delivers considerable value, particularly in the way the GroupWise client exposes the platforms excellent workflow tools without sacrificing ease of use and learning. The GroupWise family also includes GroupWise Messenger, an instant messaging server and client.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs reviews of low-cost groupware servers.

GroupWise includes Novells e-Directory, offering administrators a solid alternative to Microsoft Corp.s Exchange and Active Directory—especially since GroupWise supports the Outlook client. Indeed, one thing that sets GroupWise apart from other enterprise messaging servers is its breadth of client support, with native clients for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux desktop operating systems.

The Mac OS X and Linux clients, as well as the Web-based WebAccess client, support the core features of GroupWise, but they dont support all the organizational elements of the Windows-based client.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

For example, using the Mac OS X client, eWEEK Labs couldnt designate a category for an e-mail message or organize column-based views. The WebAccess client has the look of the GroupWise client, but the navigation elements and features are organized differently.

Novell has done a good job integrating its Evolution groupware client with GroupWise—Evolution can take advantage of GroupWises collaboration features within the scope of its own conventions. For example, recipients of assigned tasks and calendar invitations can accept them through embedded buttons in an e-mail message.

Whatever the platform, the GroupWise client does an excellent job of providing a framework for collaboration around tasks and documents. However, users new to the client—particularly those used to the Outlook mail client—may be a little confused at first by some of its conventions, such as organizing tasks under checklists in the navigation tree.

We liked the configuration options for the GroupWise client, such as the ability to organize views by columns. GroupWise supports up to a three-pane view of e-mail and has some good tools for organizing and categorizing messages by topics and threads.

Next Page: Productivity enhancements.

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Productivity enhancements

GroupWIse includes some solid productivity features, such as automatically caching local copies of documents so users can work on the documents even if they did not synchronize before disconnecting. It also integrates with Microsoft Office applications to simplify sending documents to the GroupWise document repository.

In GroupWise 7.0, the Windows-based client includes several enhancements that make it easier for users to view and manage information. For example, we liked the new navigation bar, which provides a customizable tabbed interface for quickly accessing data such as documents or calendars. We also appreciated the improvements to the calendar that allowed us to manage multiple calendars and see them in a consolidated view.

For companies that want an integrated IM solution, GroupWise Messenger is a good option. Messenger is most comparable to XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)-based IM servers, such as Jabber Inc.s Jabber XCP and Antepo Inc.s OPN System, in that it supports persistent messaging rooms and has integrated conversation archiving. (Messenger isnt part of the core GroupWise server, so we needed to install it separately.)

ConsoleOne, which installs as part of Novells e-Directory, manages the GroupWise Messenger features through extensions to the e-Directory schema. These extensions allowed us to control features such as a users ability to create persistent chat rooms.

The GroupWise Messenger client has a simple and intuitive user interface. Novell provides GroupWise Messenger clients for Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. Other client options include the open-source GAIM client and Cerulean Studios Trillian Pro client, both of which make it easy to manage contacts on public IM networks in the same interface.

On the server side, GroupWise supports NetWare; Windows; and Linux, including the SUSE and Red Hat Inc. distributions.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

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Evaluation Shortlist

IBMs Lotus Domino 6.5 Enterprise groupware with database-driven applications (www.IBM.com)

Microsofts Exchange Server 2003 Defines groupware in the Outlook world and allows forms-based applications in Outlook (www.microsoft.com)

Scalix Corp.s Scalix Server 9.2 Brings good Exchange and Outlook feature fidelity to the Linux and Outlook world, with an excellent Web mail interface (www.scalix.com)

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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