GroupWise 8 will be here in a matter of weeks (See novell.com/beta), giving you the ability to deliver a highly connected collaborative workspace that leverages Web resources and next-generation technology. While past articles have told you what your users can expect in GroupWise 8, (See Personal Overdrive), this article is written specifically with administrators in mind, giving you insights into some of its key server-side improvements that you’ll be able to take advantage of.
Calendar publishing is somewhat similar to the calendar sharing capability in GroupWise 7, but while sharing is aimed at internal users, calendar publishing is primarily targeted at external users. The calendar publishing agent or host in GroupWise 8 enables your users to collaborate more effectively with their contacts, regardless of where they are and what e-mail system they're using. Whether they’re using the Windows or WebAccess client, the calendar publishing host can dynamically generate HTML versions of their personal calendars—including free/busy information—and then publish them as a Web service. (See Figure 1.)
In addition to allowing you and your users to publish any of your personal calendars, it allows groups or organizations to publish more general-use calendars such as conference room schedules, class schedules, company holiday schedules, team project calendars and more. Once a calendar is published, it’s exposed as an iCal standard calendar, giving others the ability to access or subscribe to it from any iCal-supported system, including GroupWise, Exchange and Notes.
When calendar publishing is combined with the subscribe capabilities in GroupWise 8, it enables your users to enjoy one of the most dramatic time management improvements to GroupWise: free/busy searching of people on a different e-mail system. The publishing host in GroupWise allows your users to easily publish their free/busy information in a calendar and then provide the URL for that calendar to their external contacts (e.g., partners, suppliers and clients), or even internal contacts that might be on a different system as a result of a merger or acquisition. Users from different organizations or systems can then subscribe to each other’s free/busy calendars and busy search them to schedule appointments with each other.
To allow your users to take advantage of the ability to publish their free/busy data, as well as publish their personal calendars, you can install the calendar publishing host to a Web server on either NetWare, Linux or Windows. Each publishing host is identified by a unique name. The name might include the location of the publishing host, as well as the users it serves.
To allow external users to access published calendars, the host uses the DNS host name of the Web server as part of its URL. So, the base URL might be abc_company.com/gwcal, and this URL location would host a list of published calendars that users can browse to find the calendar they want to view.
In order to provide unique and easily identifiable URLs for each users' calendars, the host's base URL is simply extended. In the example above, the extended URL would include a calendar ID like the following:
Once you have installed the calendar publishing host, you can configure it in ConsoleOne with the following settings (all of which are disabled by default):
- Enable Calendar Publishing lets users publish their personal GroupWise calendars by simply right clicking a personal calendar, clicking Publish, and then selecting their desired options.
- Enable Rules to Move Items to a Published Calendar gives users the option to create rules to automatically post certain types of calendar items to specific published calendars.
Subscribe to Connection Magazine
- Enable Publish Free/Busy Search allows users to publish their appointment information so external users can perform free/busy searches on their GroupWise calendars.
- Enable Subscribe to Calendar allows users to subscribe to Internet calendars that are updated on a regular basis, such as calendars for sporting events.
When a user publishes a calendar, the GroupWise Post Office Agent (POA) creates calendar data in a standard ICS-formatted file and free/busy data in a standard-IFB formatted file, and then delivers them to the calendar publishing host. Depending on how a client requests a published calendar, the publishing host has the ability to render the files in HTML or deliver them in their original ICS or IFB formats.
The calendar and free/busy information published at the Publishing Host are kept up-to-date by any event changes in the user's calendar. As a GroupWise administrator, you can control whether users can publish or subscribe to calendars, and whether they can publish their free/busy information. You also have the ability to deploy multiple calendar servers in different geographic locations to improve performance and scalability, especially for locations with limited Internet bandwidth.
Another backend enhancement found in GroupWise 8 deals with its document indexer. In the past, the document indexer didn’t always recognize new file types and file formats released by application vendors. This meant that when users performed searches in their data store, attachments of those file types might not be included in the search results.
To address this problem, Novell has re-architected the GroupWise document indexer so it inherits the capabilities of the Stellent document viewer used in the Windows and WebAccess clients. This gives users a broader array of file types that GroupWise will index for attachment searching purposes, including OpenOffice files, the latest PDF versions and Office 2007 files. This new indexing feature basically means that any attachments your users can see, they can find.
While this redesign delivers immediate support for a broader base of current file types, its biggest impact is that it gives GroupWise a greater ability to keep up with new file types as they’re released and then supported by the Stellent viewer.