There’s always a demand for the roadmap of GroupWise, especially for those who have been long time devotees of the product. In the last few years—the development of GroupWise has seen some notable releases—GroupWise 2014 R2 SP1, GroupWise 2014 R2 SP2, and GroupWise 18. Each of these has brought new features and enhancements to the product like native Mac mail and calendar application integration, Filr integration, and conversation threading.
Probably the biggest indication that Micro Focus continues to take the future of GroupWise seriously was the acquisition of GWAVA. This brought a full portfolio of supporting products that made GroupWise better: security, archiving, disaster recovery, and more. That happened in late fall of 2016—and since then—we’ve seen the release of both GroupWise 2014 R2 SP2 and GroupWise 18, not to mention Enterprise Messaging: the evolution of GroupWise.
Enterprise Messaging and GroupWise: The same foundation
Many customers seem to think the development path of GroupWise and Enterprise Messaging are separate. They are not, however. GroupWise forms the base on which Enterprise Messaging is built. While not marketed as a “suite” of products, Enterprise Messaging is exactly that at this point in time. There are no differences between GroupWise 18 and the email, scheduling, and instant messaging portion of Enterprise Messaging: it is GroupWise 18. Enterprise Messaging simply contains other separately installed products to make a complete enterprise-ready messaging platform: security, archiving, disaster recovery, mailbox management, and chat-based teamwork (GroupWise TeamWorks).
Let’s dive into the future plans for GroupWise, since that is the basis of Enterprise Messaging. As always, these are forward-looking statements and do not represent an obligation or commitment by Micro Focus to deliver on them. (Yes—I always have to say things like that . . . and there’s a full legal disclaimer at the end of the article I’m required to put in too.) Having said that, let’s take a look at the exciting future of GroupWise.
Just Released: GroupWise 2014 R2 SP3
While GroupWise 2014 is fast approaching the end of committed support at the close of June 2018, there was a new support pack released in March. Unlike other service and support packs in the GroupWise 2014 release cycle (R2 SP1 and R2 SP2), this version really is a true support pack release. It contains no new features, but rather holds a host of bug fixes for greater security, stability, and performance. It is highly recommended for all users of GroupWise 2014.
Now let’s quickly tackle what the “end of committed support” means for those still on GroupWise 2014. First of all, it doesn’t mean you are cut off from all support. Micro Focus has changed its support policies, and after the product stops committed support, it moves into a period of “Extended Support”. During this Extended Support period, if you are paying your maintenance, you can still access previously released software updates, get technical support, and enjoy self-help resources. However, any defect support requests or enhancement requests for the product will be addressed in GroupWise 18, not GroupWise 2014. In short—you can still get the support you need to install, configure, and trouble-shoot GroupWise 14, but there will be no further product enhancements, engineering bug fixes, or security patches for GroupWise 14 going forward. To get those critical fixes, new features, enhancements, and security patches—you will need to be on a version of the product in committed support. In this case: GroupWise 18.
A very minor support update for GroupWise 18 happened in March 2018 as well. There were several enhancements to existing GroupWise 18 features in this release that are of note:
Conversation Threading Enhancements:
- When replying inline to a conversation, you can select to copy the parent message or the original message as part of the reply.
- Inactive items won’t be marked as read.
GroupWise TeamWorks Integration Enhancements:
- You can now search for TeamWorks rooms in the GroupWise 18.0.1 client.
- You can create a new TeamWorks room in the client as well
- You can Favorite/Unfavorite a TeamWorks room in the client.
Drag and Drop Enhancements:
- The Attachment drop down now lets you drag and drop items.
- You can drag and drop attachments and items to an inline reply.
- Encapsulated items and files can be dragged and dropped at the same time.
There were other changes and bug fixes as well and a complete change list can be found in the GroupWise 18 Readme file located on the Micro Focus documentation site.
This release is consistent with the newer model of product release cycles planned in this portfolio: following essentially a two-a-year release cycle. The first release focus on enhancements, security, stability, and bug fixes—but does not introduce any new features. The second release of the year will focus on larger improvements, new features, and new integration—which brings me to our next version of GroupWise: GroupWise 18.1
On The Horizon: GroupWise 18.1
As for the future of GroupWise—there’s an update coming that moves GroupWise further down its path of being a more robust and integrated product. Along these lines—you can expect to see deeper integration with some of the products that were acquired when Micro Focus purchased GWAVA. Probably most notable, the integration of GroupWise Mailbox Management (formerly GWAVA Vertigo) is planned. What this means is that there will no longer be a separate install or management console for this product—but it will be integrated directly into the install and admin management console of GroupWise 18.1. However—in order to activate these advanced features you will need either an Enterprise Messaging license key—or a valid GroupWise Mailbox Management (Vertigo) license key. They will not be on by default if you have just a GroupWise license. There may be other former GWAVA products similarly integrated into the product as well.
Along the same lines of integration, there is deeper and further integration with GroupWise TeamWorks planned. The vision of GroupWise TeamWorks is a more immediate, social, and fun way to create chat-based teams for better collaboration that works seamlessly with your GroupWise email.
Some notable improvements are the ability to see the difference between private and public TeamWorks Rooms directly from the GroupWise 18.1 Client.
Clicking on in the Rooms area for the context menu of a Room brings up the ability to search for Public Rooms, create new Public or Private Rooms, remove a Room from your Favorites list, as well as edit the Properties of a Room that you have created.
Clicking on the Properties option from the context menu allows you to further edit the properties of a Room that you have created, including the ability to change the name and description of the room, change the privacy or access settings of a room, and edit the members of a Room.
Over all, the goal of this integration is to further seamlessly blend both traditional email with the immediacy of dynamic chat-based teamwork for a true workforce productivity solution. Users will now be able to interact with GroupWise TeamWorks with the same amount of functionality as the mobile or web interfaces, without ever having to leave their GroupWise email client.
Along the same lines of improvements in GroupWise 18.0.1, there will also be further refinements to the conversation threading feature that was introduced in GroupWise 18. These refinements include the ability to quickly adjust screen real-estate for the Quick Viewer, along with ability to increase the screen area when replying in-line to a thread, perfect for longer, more detailed responses. Adjusting the visual area the Quick Viewer comes in two presets: Wide and Extra Wide.
Depending on your choice, the information contained in the GroupWise main window will change to display both the subject and message preview as well as your folders (Wide) or remove the folder tree in favor of a reduced messages Mailbox and more space and formatting control over your in-line reply (Extra Wide). The amount of visual real-estate the Quick Viewer takes up will also change. These two settings allow for a more easily functional approach for those that utilize the Quick Viewer to read and respond to messages without ever opening the messages up into a new window.
GroupWise 18.1 will also improve the search functionality in a few areas. This includes the ability to search for specific terms inside message threads. You can search for whole word matches, matching cases, and choose to have the matches highlighted by the search. This makes finding information in especially long threads quite easy.
Improved finding and searching of the GroupWise Address Book is also planned. This will allow you to more easily locate people, especially if you can’t exactly recall their full name. For example, if you know you needed to send an email to someone named “John” in “Sales”—you would be able type in “John” and “Sales” and now locate people based on department, job title and other fields not previously included in the search function.
There will be further enhancements in the Messenger product as well in GroupWise 18.1 These include the ability to send files directly in Messenger using Filr, and integration with Retain archiving for GroupWise so instant messages can be archived along with email. Additionally, the ability to spell-check may make it into Messenger 18.1 as well.
There are some planned back-end architectural changes to reduce dependency on some third-party products as well—but such changes will be essentially transparent to both the end-user and email administrator.
The planned availability of GroupWise 18.1 will be the second half of 2018, with GroupWise 18.1.1 being planned for the first half of 2019. The GroupWise 18.1.1 release will mainly focus on security and quality, along with minor enhancements—much like the GroupWise 18.0.1 release.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be construed as a commitment by Micro Focus, its affiliates, or any participating company to develop, deliver, modify, or market a product, code, functionality, or to meet any dates, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of functionality remains at the sole discretion of Micro Focus.