I was reading through the Zimbra 7 release notes today and noticed that with this release the Briefcase section has added some new features. Mainly the ability to check out/check in documents and keep revisions of the older versions.
This immediately peaked my interest because I’ve always liked the idea of a collaborative file storage area hosted on a server, which is still easy to use for the end user. The first thing you need to do is share a briefcase. To do this create a new briefcase (or use your personal briefcase) then right click on it and select “Share Folder”. After doing this then you can type the email address of a user to share the folder with.
After selecting “Share Folder” you will see a new dialog box that allows you to enter an email address of the person you want to share the folder with and what permissions level you want to give them. All you need to know is the email address of the person that you want to share the document with and they will get an email invitation similar to a meeting invite, where they can click Accept or Dismiss. The dialog box that allows you to add people to the share looks like this :
After setting up all the users that need access and they accept you go to the Briefcase Tab and you will then have the shared briefcase in the list on the left. Each document inside of the folder has a list of actions when you right click, they include: Check out / Check in, Send as attachment, etc (see screenshot).
Ben and I played around with a doc file today just to see how the revisioning and check out and check in works, and I have to say it is pretty slick for a free software product. Basically what you do is Select “Check Out File” then you will download the file from the server and it will open in the default editor. So you then edit the file and save it to your PC. Then you go back to the server where the document is located and right click the file and click “Check In File”, then a box will open and you select the file that you modified to upload back to the server and also edit revision notes. That is it!
After three revisions here is what the interface shows: (click to enlarge)
Overall my experience is still positive. I have had it running several months now and have to say it is still working like a champ. It has even caught a bunch of virus’s in the last several weeks without letting anything through. Oh and god knows how much spam it’s caught lately.