BRAINSHARE - Novell GroupWise goes wireless

In support of its strategy to create a universal network with a range of connectivity choices, Novell is adding wireless support to its GroupWise messaging server.

Novell also plans later this year to add knowledge management features and hooks for tying back-end systems into GroupWise, the company said at its annual BrainShare conference.

Novell and AT&T are teaming up to bring the mail, calendar and workflow features of GroupWise to cell phones. The service will combine the GroupWise WebAccess client with AT&T's Pocket Net service. Novell plans to add support for other wireless devices in the future. With the PocketNet service, the WebAccess client detects the type of client that is trying to connect to the server and pushes out a custom interface designed for that device.

The WebAccess client, which runs on the GroupWise server, has been panned by users who say it is prone to crashes, but Novell is working on making the client flexible enough to provide a set of services to wireless devices including handhelds.

Novell last quarter saw a surge in the number of new GroupWise seats added, but still trails rivals Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange by a considerable amount in the number of total users.

But Novell is adding features in an attempt to make GroupWise more attractive to those who want e-mail access from any number of devices.

Novell is supporting the Wireless Access Protocol, which provides an efficient way for Web-based data and applications to be transmitted over a wireless connection, as well as the Wireless Markup Language.

The wireless support is part of Novell's Directory-enabled Net Infrastructure Model (DENIM), which is a framework built on eDirectory for delivering directory-enabled services. Novell announced the DENIM strategy at BrainShare.

"GroupWise is demonstrating the way services will be delivered in DENIM either over the wire or wireless," says Leif Pedersen, product manager for GroupWise.

The wireless support will be a free download starting April 3, but the software runs only on GroupWise servers installed with the 5.5 Enhancement Pack. Wireless support will be built into the next release of GroupWise, codenamed BulletProof, which will ship by year-end. That release also will support GroupWise running on Solaris and Linux.

The BulletProof release also will include knowledge management features that can be delivered a la carte to a single Web browser interface, including discussion forums, news feeds and document management.

On the server side, Novell will offer a set of APIs (application programming interfaces), codenamed XIS, based on XML (extensible markup language). The APIs will be an open way for any back-end system to be integrated into GroupWise.

Novell also is adding Metastorm's Infowise, a search tool that allows users to search subsets of e-mail messages and attachments related to a specific topic. The personal edition of Infowise is available now for download. The enterprise version is expected to ship this summer.