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ULM Computing Center

Upcoming Zimbra 8 Upgrade

Within the next week, the University Computing Center will be upgrading the current installation of the Zimbra email system to the latest version. In Version 8, Zimbra undergoes a face lift that makes it cleaner, sleeker, and easier to use. Some of the new changes are summarized below. We also have an entry in our FAQ section for those Frequently Asked Question regarding the new upgrade.

Zimbra 8 Changes and Features

  • Redesigned interface - cleaner slicker interface makes things easier to find and more usable
  • Contextual secondary menu - using AJAX technology, this sub menu bar changes to show only choices relevant to the module in use
  • Thematic changes - reflect the ULM colors
  • Search changes - redesigned search interface is less cluttered
  • Functional changes - several updates to Zimbra functions improve usability, stability , and performance

The first thing any Zimbra user will notice when moving to Version 8 is the newer cleaner interface. All functions are nicely bundled into a top level menu bar that holds all of the main modules in an obvious and usable layout. Gone are the scattering of buttons and clickables that seemed scattered all over the top part of the screen on older versions. Sleeker and leaner, Zimbra now is even easier to use than before.

The main menu holds the major Zimbra modules: Mail, Calendar, Address Book, and Tasks, a module allowing the creation and management of "to-do" lists. The preference tab is also more visible and obvious than before. All configuration of each module is done in this central location.

Under the main menu is a context menu that changes according to whichever module is currently in use. When Mail is chosen, this menu shows only options specific to mail and handling mail. Clicking on the Address Book tab on the main menu makes this secondary menu change to show choices relevant to the organization of contacts and contact information. By offering only relevant options in these drop down menus, Zimbra saves valuable screen space and provides only functionality that might be needed in the current environment.

One of Zimbra's most powerful features, the Advanced Search has been reorganized to offer the search criteria choices on the left. With virtually every option available to search (dates, body text, size, etc) the layout change improves what was already a very powerful ability. What tended to run together before is now more segregated and easier to see with only results flowing into the main window.

In conclusion, you will find the new Zimbra to be a nice change to an already competent email system. This version with advanced AJAX programming provides an experience more like a traditional application but with the web-based advantages. A new cleaner interface provides a better look and feel and enhanced experience which makes Zimbra easier to use and more intuitive to learn.

Link to our FAQ for further information: http://www.ulm.edu/computingcenter/faq/zimbra

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