Communicate Products the New Client is coming along!!

It has been a while since I have updated you on what we are doing with the Comms products. The team has really been working very hard to make some major changes with great progress. As I said in my blog on April 19,2007 What's Happening with Comms we are really focused on major priorities. The first and most important is quality, we have added to the QA team and the products have really become more stable thanks to hard work of QA and Sustaining team!! We are closing bugs in days now and our testing has improved to catch stuff before you see it!! Our work here is never done, and we will keep investing!


WebClient – The team is making great progress and they keep pushing the schedule up. We're trying a new strategy in comms to put new products in front of our customers very early, well before they're complete. We get timely feedback and our customers get to participate in development, the process has begun with a few customers. Expect to see an open preview very soon . At this point we have email and contacts running. Calendar and instant message to follow very shortly in November. We will announce very soon how you can access the site! I have attached a  screen shots for you to see the progress! It really looks great and we are excited about getting it to market! Everyone that has used it so far thinks it ROCKS!!


 


Another major area of focus is the Calendar server! The new CalDAV / CarDAV servers are underway and the project just received some new members to the team to accelerate the schedule. We are planning to release the new server in 2008, I will update you from time to time on the progress! There are already several server and client implementations available for CalDAV and interoperability sessions are held on a regular basis by the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium (calconnect.org). The comms group has been attending roundtables and interop events with the consortium over the past couple of years and we'll be the host for next one, Roundtable XI held Feb 4-8 2008.


The comms products have a very strong position in the service provider market because of the strength of our messaging product. We plan to capitalize on that with a focus on mobile communications across the communications suite. We have been active participants in the IETF Lemonade working group which is focused on protocol extensions to support mobile email. Lemonade RFC 4550 extensions will be present in the next release of our messaging server and we're actively working on the profilebis extensions. We do not intend to rest even as we start wrapping up our Lemonade implementation. We plan to stay actively involved in the standards bodies and of course in implementing as the standards emerge. More importantly, we are kicking off an aggressive effort to leverage Lemonade and other mobile extensions we are adding to Communication Suite.

Our Priorities remain:


  1. Bring "Wow" back into the Web Client. Actively under construction is aWeb 2.0 client for mail, calendar, IM and contacts that will raise more than a few eyebrows.

  2. Complete rebuild of the install environment (so SIMPLE my mom could install it).

  3. Deliver a calendar server based on the latest CalDAV standard.

  4. Open Source Comms components

  5. Increase search and management capability of the message store

  6. Enable large message store capability

  7. Bring carrier grade, push e-mail to the market. Based on IETF/Lemonade standards.

  8. Granular and light-weight web services to all Comms backend data.

  9. Deliver SyncML support

  10. Improve and expand Outlook Connector

  11. Offer support for better /cheaper storage & mail-store integration.

  12. A connection back to Sun for to better support users

  13. Add a blogging engine to the Comms Suite


Of course we have some surprises coming as well, that we know you are going to like!!




To learn more about Sun's Java Communications Suite and how it can help your business, you can take a look at http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hubs/comms/overview/index.jsp


Send your comments and feedback, we believe in our products and we know that Comms on Solaris can be a competitive advantage for you in your business.


Comments:

Where can I find the source tree? How can I join the community?

Posted by Barry Redd on October 15, 2007 at 01:14 AM PDT #

Looks really good. The other JES features sound really smart as well.

Big problem I see is that Sun are a good 3-4 years too late for this. We rolled JES out when UWC and the Outlook connector were still beta and full of promise. 4 years down the road we have just started to deploy exchange for our staff (~15k students stay on JES for now but I suspect it's only a matter of time- doesn't make much sense to run two systems).

Moving to open standards is great in theory but when people want to use Outlook it doesn't help. User need a \*decent\* working Outlook connector \*now\*. It needs to work with Outlook 2007 which is far from a new piece of software now (the connector \*still\* doesn't work properly with reminders from shared calendars for example).

Sun have missed the boat on this one IMHO :-(

Posted by Darren Chapman on October 15, 2007 at 03:22 AM PDT #

Reading the bit on Lemonade makes it sound like there's no mobile support in the currently shipping messaging server, which is not the case.

Since JES 4 we've been supporting pipelining, DSN, AUTH, START TLS, SIZE, 8-bit MIME, and enhanced status codes in the SMTP server. And literal+, namespace, and UID plus on the IMAP side.

In R5 we added SMTP chunking, binary MIME, and IMAP IDLE.

Support for BURL and URLauth will be coming in our next release, then additional mobile features after that.

Mobile support is a spectrum of good/better/best rather than a simple yes/no. We've got some very good mobile support now and are pushing to make it better and better.

Posted by Jeff Allison on October 15, 2007 at 05:54 AM PDT #

Jim,

It's good to see a list of the priorities that you have for the product.

I agree with a lot of what Darren has had to say, but we are still sticking with JES. (although the argument to do so is getting harder by the day without any differentiating features in the non service provider space)

Certainly the work being done on better mobile support is good to hear. In my opinion you need to do as much as possible to get an out of the box solution to allow mobile clients to access Calendar and address book functionality that syncs back to UWC AB server and Calendar Server)

In The tertiary space we are seeing the ability to have this becoming an increasing requirement and that stuff is available now from other vendors.

Certainly the one click install stuff should help you gain market share in the ever increasing space of alternatives to M$ Exchange.

The new AJAX client looks nice. Let's hope it functions as well as it looks.

I hope you are planning on opening up a hosted test service for your subscribers to gain early access viewing. This sort of thing is very good to have when one tries to justify to a CIO the decision to keep using the JES stack.

Give it the WOW sounds like a good idea. It's never had that. You should solicit opinions from the iMS list on your priorities as well.

Keep up the good work! I am liking the new Sun. Let's make the JES stack as good as your hardware! (and get some more bods on the ground in NZ)

Regards,

Scott

Posted by Scott Lawson on October 17, 2007 at 02:50 PM PDT #

Thanks for the teaser, Jim.

We are planning to upgrade to JES 5 in q1, 2008. We have a support contract. Should we hold off to get some of these features? And is it possible to run the new web client against an existing 2005q4 install just to get a preview?

Thanks,

Jim Curran

Posted by Jim Curran on December 13, 2007 at 11:31 AM PST #

I agree with the other posters, we are now looking at products like Zimbra, and even M$ Exchange. When can we expect a production release? This is a nice teaser, but it is from October, and here we are almost to Feb, where is the update?

Also Sun has a WCAP Lightening extension for Thunderbird, why not add a UWC/Addressbook extension, that would make Thunderbird a very complete client solution for JES, and that is the \*BIGGEST\* complaint from all our users (including Presidents, CEOs etc that are the ones approving the $$$ for the product) is the lack of an acceptable Outlook alternative, especially for our Mac users.

Posted by Troy Knabe on January 28, 2008 at 01:48 AM PST #

Ditto on Troy's comment. I work in an IT group for an educational institution. The lack of a "Fat Client" alternative has sunk our deployment of JES. Now our Executive are looking at migrating to Exchange. As long as organizations are bound to Outlook; Exchange will be their answer. The Outlook Connector just plain does work as expected.

This maybe too late but I hope Sun looks to Thunderbird as a short term JES client strategy until they can get the AJAX solution out there. What is really lamentable is that it wouldn't take too much effort to get Thunderbird "Enterprise" ready. One of the Exec's of my institution asked me that very question (why doesn't Sun get behind Thunderbird). I did not have an answer for him. It's almost like Sun does not want to compete in this market space....

Posted by Chirs Beaver on March 10, 2008 at 03:14 AM PDT #

I'll "third" Troy's post. Lightning+WCAP is fantastic for what it is, but adding in things like CalDAV, SyncML, and other well-supported open standards really opens up the playing field to a variety of clients on \*nix, Mac OS X and other OSes.

Unfortunately, I see almost no mention of any of these features on the wiki for the CommSuite 6 beta. I'm concerned about waiting in vain...

Any update to the status of the priority list would be really appreciated.

Keep up the good work! -mike

Posted by Mike Culbertson on March 18, 2008 at 06:57 AM PDT #

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