Coming soon: Offline access to Web applications

Coming soon: Offline access to Web applications

Summary: Zimbra, one of the early Web 2.0 collaboration suites, is announcing offline support for its on demand collaboration suite (see Read/WriteWeb and Techcrunch) tomorrow.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Zimbra, one of the early Web 2.0 collaboration suites, is announcing offline support for its on demand collaboration suite (see Read/WriteWeb and Techcrunch) tomorrow. The Desktop Zimbra client (alpha code) will solve the problem of disconnected use, which plagues many online, on demand application users. The desktop version offers faster search, rich email rendering and synching with the Zimbra server. The Desktop Zimbra alpha download is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and is free for open source and Zimbra Network Edition users to try out. Pricing and availability haven't been set, according to the company. 

Zoho is expected to offer offline access for some of its online applications later this year, and Firefox 3 will add support for offline access to applications. ThinkFree has announced a premium online edition that includes offline access and file synchronization. Also, Joyent has developed Slingshot, which allows Web applications written with Ruby on Rails to have offline capabilities.

In addition, platforms such as Adobe's Apollo and Dekoh (see Ryan Stewart's coverage of Apollo and Dekoh) offer dual mode use. Given Microsoft's statements about a hybrid approach, with online and offline products, the company should be ahead of the pack in delivering synchronization between the two modes--but first Ray Ozzie's team needs to deliver a Web Office.

See also: Mike Arrington interviews Zimbra CEO Satish Dharmaraj about Desktop Zimbra 

Topic: Browser

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7 comments
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  • ?

    Doesn't this feel sort-of like fat client?
    LinuxHippie
  • Making a 'B' line

    [i]Given Microsoft's statements about a hybrid approach, with online and offline products, the company should be ahead of the pack in delivering synchronization between the two modes?but first Ray Ozzie's team needs to deliver a Web Office.[/i]

    Why should MS come out with a web office? What overall advantages does this bring compared to desktop apps augmented by web services? The biggest advantages I see having a web office, is not having to install an application on your computers, and having to deal with licensing your software to be used on several machines that you own, or wanting to install your app on several virtualized OSs. In virtually every other area, desktop apps plus web surfaces, beat web apps.
    P. Douglas
    • B line

      Give people choice...if they want to work from the cloud or the desktop or both...
      dbfarber
  • Loss will turn into a rout

    Offline web apps should be MSFT's worst nightmare. Especially if those offline web apps run equally well on any platform.

    If those work as advertised, the trickle of people and businesses switching to OSS will turn into a flood.

    It's going to take something besides a steady stream of defections to really put a dent in MSFT. The IT environment is already dangerous to them. Anger and resentment of their licensing and pricing, increased capability of OSS, wider willingness to spend the money on a Mac. It's like a room full of gasoline vapors, all it needs now is a spark to set it off. Maybe disconnected web apps are that spark.

    I could certainly see the potential.
    Chad_z
    • Heads inserted

      If MSFT could be represented by a cartoon, without litigation resulting, that old "You have this problem" drawing with the person's head inserted into a lower extremity could be modified with one eye, peering out of the navel.

      MSFT, of course, can follow the trend, but as the (in name) 'pioneer' of the GUI, it may not be flexible enough to do that.

      It may be that in future days, MSFT will follow Intel to China. The Chinese will teach them flexibility in a very short time.
      wgraue
  • on/off-line data sync access Will start a roll coaster

    I've watched Scyrbe with its fancy demo and its offline capability and wondered how long b4 the came 2 the masses. Even hoped they would re-licence their bag-og-tricks 2 the other vendors (or open source) 2 get the bacnd rolling.

    Looks like the others are finally catching on the main hangup of going 2 an online only world (opps my internet connection has gone -- I'm dead in the water)

    Lal
    more at http://lallylogic.blogspot.com
    thelal@...
    • The masses

      This is just my view, mind you.

      These off-line offerings seem to be originating where the masses don't normally go, so they haven't yet heard names such as 'Scrybe,' 'Zimba,' etc. They have heard of, and accept 'Firefox,' however, I even use that in Linux. 'Firefox 3' will usher in the off line feature, and it'll be free of cost.

      My point is that no matter what you are selling, name recognition and freeware usually win these days. That is why Microsoft seems troubled when introducing the price to a new offering, while Ubuntu, for example, sails right along, gaining their former customers daily. Example: the customers may not totally replace XP, with Ubuntu 7.04 beta, but the time their daily use 7.04 instead of XP is increasing.

      Our own FAA, city governments, and Cuba, among many more, have turned their backs on Microsoft.

      One reason is that Ubuntu is open source, with many dedicated amateurs contributing, whereas Microsoft hires professionals who believe their fiscal efficiency depends on their exerting the least amount of effort for the most amount of personal income.

      Microsoft has thought of themselves as the 'only real solution' for so long, that they cannot follow customer attitudes fast enough. They concentrate on buying up or breaking the competition rather than pleasing the customer, so did our car makers, and look where they are now.
      wgraue