Novell Cool Solutions

GroupWise 8 – More to come


November 10, 2009 3:17 pm





As I promised in my last blog I wanted to share with you what we are doing in GroupWise 8 SP2. This blog is actually based on a session that Dean and I presented at GWAVACon Berlin, and plan to include at Brainshare next year.

Typically we release a .0 product and then follow it up with an SP1 which contains a quite a number of features, as well as bug fixes. After the SP1 release we never put features into the subsequent support packs. We followed this pattern with GroupWise 6.5, and GroupWise 7, however, with GroupWise 8 we are stepping away from this ‘standard’.

GroupWise 8 SP1, which released in August, did not contain many features at all – for a recap, Dean blogged on what those few features were here. Where we are really entering new territory though is with the GroupWise 8 SP2 release. With this support pack we are adding features that fall within a couple of different themes.

First of all – the disclaimer – we make no guarantee that the features I am about to describe will be included in the product when it ships.

With that done, the themes under which the features will fall are Teaming Integrations, Conferencing Integrations and Access Control. The teaming and conferencing integrations are important as they help our users, many of whom spend the majority of their day in the GroupWise client, access the new collaboration methods that teaming and conferencing provide. This allows them to gain value from those products in a much more inuitive manner. The access control features are aimed at administrators and center around some of the features that we have been asked for the most.

So what are the features?

Teaming Integrations
Drag email to a Teaming folder The driver for this feature is that many of our customers use Teaming to track projects and they want to store all of the emails concerning a project with the project content itself. This feature will allow a GW user to be able to drag an email to a Teaming folder in the GroupWise client.
Save email to Teaming This is related to the requirement above, but instead of dragging a dropping one of the browse targets on the File | Save dialog will with Teaming.
Attach file from Teaming Similarly a browse target on File | Attach will be Teaming, so that a user can attach a file stored in Teaming to an email. In future versions we will add the ability to just attach a file reference instead of the actual file, so that any modifications to the file are stored in the central repository.
Teaming feed panel in Homeview This will be a panel that shows just the most recent updates in Teaming, which is a very popular feature of Teaming 2.

Conferencing Integrations
Schedule a conference from within GW This will allow a user to schedule a conference, including sending recipients unique PINs where necessary. It will simply be another option on an appointment.
Start a conference from within GW If you are the conference owner then the concept of ‘starting’ exists, which essentially allows people to enter the conference, and see/hear the content being presented.
Join a conference from within GW As a conference recipient you need the option to join, which is essentially starting the client and logging you in.
Start an ad hoc conference This is very simiilar to the other features I just described but, instead of it being a pre arranged conference, it is the ability to start a conference right away from various points in the interface. For example, on a contact or group, or from within a received email.
Search GWIM history The driver for this one is that we know many people remember that they had a conversation about a particular subject, but often don’t remember what medium that conversation was in. This means that they have to search their email, IM conversations and other places to find what it is they were looking for. Most of the work for this requirement is actually on the GWIM side of things, and involves GWIM storing it’s conversation logs in GroupWise. Once done this will allow those conversations to be searched alongside emails, and will appear on the history tab of a contact. It will also mean that those conversations can be replied to, forwarded etc.

Access Control
Access Control List for distribution lists Simply put, an administrator will be able to limit which users are able to send emails to any particular distribution list. What companies are trying to facilitate here are the ALL distribution lists, but keep them from being generally available. There are various ways to achieve this, but they are more workarounds than solutions.
Filter attachments of specific types This is for both internal and external mails. Customers want to be able to limit the kinds of attachments that can be added to emails – the plan is to allow for either a white list (only these kinds of attachments) or black lists (anything except these attachment types).
Limit number of recipients a user can send a mail to This has been a pretty popular request over the years, though many companies deal with it in their corporate policies. The idea is that you can, for any particular set of users, limit how many people they can send an email to at one time. It will likely be found in the Client Options interface for administrators.
Search on additional fields This last one is for WebAccess specifically, and will allow users to search on a few more fields. At this point it will not be equivalent of the Windows client, but that is our long term goal.

This is what we have planned for SP2, but we are also planning features for SP3. I will cover that closer to the time. I am planning my next blog topic, but I anticipate it to be around entering enhancement requests, and how I, as the GroupWise Product Manager deal with them (and no, they do not go into a black hole).

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  1. By:sveld

    Hi Alex,

    Our customers can’t wait to have the Teaming integrations:) Especially dragging the mails to a Teaming folder is the most requested feature. When will sp2 get into closed beta?

    Regards, Sebastiaan

    • By:aevans

      We are still working on scope and schedule. The requirements, as I present them, are what we are planning, but engineering go through a series of scoping exercises to figure out how long each one will take. Based on that scoping exercise we will define dates. Right now we are planning first half 2010 as a broad target.

  2. By:tmstone835

    Thanks for the update but here are the items that I think need to be included in the next SP.

    1. The new address book is an improvement but it looks like it was designed by an engineer. There are some great new features but you really need some polish to the interface. Get some feedback from end-users who actually use this. Not the IT folks who normally give you feedback.

    2. Calendar printing still looks crude and acts crude. As an example the Month printing feature prints 4 weeks and not a true month. This has been broken forever and I still can’t believe it isn’t fixed. You have to use the multi-week printing to actually get a full month’s printout and that isn’t intuitive.

    3. Get document management working on the Mac and Linux clients. It has been too long in coming. Teaming is not the answer.

    4. Improve DMS management and functionality. It has languished since 5.5 which is simply atrocious. This is an excellent DMS system that has great capability. It just needs updating and better tools. Again, Teaming is not a good solution.

    5. Don’t give up on the Outlook Connector. This was the only thing that allowed integration with 3rd party applications that will never develop to GroupWise. They all develop integration with Outlook.

    6. Either get Novell to dump iManager and switch back to ConsoleOne or get GroupWise-iManager management working. Every client I have hates iManager and will use ConsoleOne as their first choice if possible.

    7. Include ActiveSync in the next SP or at least in a HP if the service pack is going to be delayed.

    There are more requests but I think this is enough for now.

    • By:aevans

      Firstly – please refer to the previous blogs on the ActiveSync subject. That release is not tied to a GW release and will be shipped independently.

      For the rest of the issues you bring up it is exactly this that I want to address in my next blog. The role of the PM is to take the lists that every customer deems important (which is never the same list twice) and combine that with other inputs, and then define what each release looks like. You can already see from the responses here that the features I have listed are popular with at least some people – you can’t please all of the people all of the time – this is the balancing act that Product Managers have to perform. I hope that you see that there is value in the features I have listed for your organisation. GWDMS, which is where the majority of your request center around, is actually used by a small minority of our customer base, whereas, Teaming and Conferencing bring value to a much larger set. It is not that we do not see value in the things you suggest, but everything is a matter of priority given a number of constants.

      • By:tmstone835

        Alex –

        I agree that the DMS component is not utilized as much as other technologies. However, I say that it isn’t used because it hasn’t seen an ounce of development for years. Make some effort in this area and you would have a great selling tool for GroupWise. The core seems to be solid but he front end user interface and management tools need a refresh.

  3. By:jsauve

    Hey Alex,

    The new features sound great!

    My primary wish is to present the Teaming hierarchy a bit differently within Groupwise. Even with T2.1, we still just see our personal workspace and “My Teams”, which in my case – belonging to a large number of teams – makes it unusable. It would be great if we could see the 3 main workspace root folders: Global, Personal & Team, and be able to drill down from there.

    Now THAT would be cool!


    • By:aevans

      The issue you describe is one that we are aware of, and suffer through ourselves. There are some ideas about things we can do in Teaming to alleviate the issues, and we continue to consider the best way to get there. No decision made as yet though. Hope you can use the things we plan to deliver though

  4. By:joebrug

    Thanks for the post Alex…
    One feature that would be incredibly awesome is for the Contacts (Address Book) to have the ability to have pictures, etc for EMPLOYEES ON THE SYSTEM ADDRESS BOOK!!! My users and bosses are screaming for this feature. Currently we have to have an intranet which has employee pictures, etc so people know who is who around here (revolving door sometimes). Having this in GW (like an “eGuide” replacement) would be amazing! Admin puts info in C1 and a picture somehow, everyone can see it… can’t tell ya how good this would be, and how disappointed we were to find out that it only works for personal contacts.

    • By:aevans

      Yes we have some work going on in that space. Essentially, we plan to allow users to manage their own profiles, including uploading pictures, and those changes push out to everyones address books. We also have plans to replicate the eGuide reporting structure feature in Teaming, so that the GW contact will link to the Teaming hierarchy.

      • By:skapanen


        I hope you plan to do this pic&profile thing through eDir and not something GW-only stuff.
        Add users pictures to eDir and then take it to System Address book, one central location. Through eDir the picture and info can be easily used in other solutions too (We keep losing the eDir synergy in way too many cases – not good!).

        And others, if you need this feature, just make your enhancement requests =)


        ps. previosly mentioned calendar printing issues are on my list too.. needs fixing.

      • By:wadrian

        Hello Alex,

        are there any news ore timeframe for the feature “photos in the system address book”?


  5. By:sveld

    After the ‘we do not want to create a corperate dating service’ statement, I was expecting that most of our customers would like so see that feature of having pictures in the corperate GroupWise address book. Well, near 80 procent asked that as one of the first things after a GW8 upgrade. This makes that a verry welcome enhancement.

    That makes me wonder if any addressbook enhancements will be made when using multiple address books; the ability to have addresses stay in sync. Most customers do sync a personal or a seperate ‘mobile’ addressbook to their mobile devices, and also use that as their preffered addressbook in GroupWise. With all the confusion around the multiple addressbooks that has been talked over and over for years, is their being looked at a solution for this in the near future?
    -Keep (subset of) contacts in sync between different address books; GroupWise/Personal/mobile/team(s) etc
    -Have just one big addressbook with every address in it, in ones mailbox and ability to create filters on that (with the names like addresbooks are named today). This instead of the multiple addressbooks that we have today and need to be synced.

    • By:aevans

      Aah yes – the legacy I was handed. So the statement is did not want to create a corporate dating service. This was the reason that we didn’t add pictures to the system address book – not the only reason, there were also performance concerns (the domain gets bloated). We knew from even before we shipped GroupWise 8 that this was going to be the number 1 request, and it is, but again, the balance here is what helps us drive our business at the same time as providing real value to our customers and users. Pictures are important, but we currently prioritize it under the things I have listed.
      We are also looking at multiple address books, and segmented address books – but those are not support pack items.

  6. By:bsnipes

    Is that slated for SP2? It was supposed to be in GW8 and got pulled. I expected it in SP1 but it wasn’t there. Adding CalDAV would make access for mobile devices and other email clients to the Calendars much much better. Also what about the new Messaging system ( don’t recall the name ATM )? At the first of the year it was slated for release by year’s end – what is the release status on it now?

  7. By:gwingend1

    Hi Alex,

    do you have any plans to improve the storage of outgoing mails?

    Generally you move incoming messages to different folders to organize them.
    But what about the outgoing mails?
    They are all stuck in the big big outbox folder.
    Shure, you can go to outbox and drag an drop it to an folder to organize them together with the incoming mails they belong to.

    What about an optional feature “file outgoing message?”.
    If activated, after sending the mail the client should ask to which folder the outgoing message should be saved.
    Our users know and love this feature from the mailing solution they used before and miss it in groupwise.


  8. By:emerson

    Well, this time maybe there will be a public beta,
    Sp1 shows why….

    But, for most of our customers, teaming is not a priority,
    so looking for the stuff that most finds lacking is more “basic” stuff.

    Today, supporting GW and trying to setup all clients in a structured way involves C1 settings AND reg-hacks or manual setting “per client” which feels “old”.

    The single most important feature as I/we see it would be the possibility to manage the majority of options/settings directly from a management station.

    Besides that ? just a stable, non-crashing poa would be great.
    Also some easier way to find out stuff like when mta to mta communications stop.

  9. By:window_cleaning

    Having separate options (folders) for outgoing and incoming is indeed a great idea. Lessens lot of complications.