Centrinity, whose FirstClass Collaborative Groupware technology was originally developed on the Mac, has launched FirstClass 7.0, with a server for Mac OS 9 or Windows and clients for Windows and Mac OS 9/Mac OS X.
FirstClass is a groupware, e-mail, discussion board and collaborative environment that started out as a turn-key bulletin board package with modem dial-in before we were all on the Internet. Today it’s used by a lot of universities and school systems. It offers one mailbox for e-mail, fax and voice mail that can be managed from your browser, telephone, cell phone or Palm OS device. Together with the groupware solution powered by FirstClass core architecture, it offers self-service communication, collaboration, conferencing, knowledge management and calendaring.
In version 7.0, there are several changes on the administrative side. For example, some standard groups have been made optional and most of the interface groups are no longer required. Web Users, Directory Users, DOS Users, Command Line Users, Macintosh Users, Windows Users are not included in new post offices.
However there is a new group called Unauthenticated Users. This group controls the privileges and user limits of anyone connecting to your site with a Web browser, LDAP client or Finger client. When a user logs in to your site, they are removed from the unauthenticated users group and becomes a member of whatever groups are listed in the user info form.
There’s also a new optional conference group, All Mailboxes that will control the permissions of every mailbox on your system. The new All Personal Calendars is a calendar group that will control the permissions of every personal calendar on your system, leaving the All Calendars group to control the group, location and resource calendars.
For the end user, FirstClass 7.0 offers FirstClass Migrator for Microsoft Outlook, a client utility for importing one or several Personal Message Stores (*.pst files) and the user’s mailbox (located within Microsoft Exchange private message store) into a user’s FirstClass account. This utility can be used by itself or in conjunction with the FirstClass Migrator for Microsoft Exchange Server. The FirstClass Migrator for Microsoft Outlook lets you migrate Microsoft Outlook messages and mailbox information to FirstClass.
A new feature of calendars is conflict notification using a graphical indication of availability. If you try to book a meeting or make an appointment with one or more users, you can use one screen to first look at whether each of them has something scheduled at that time.
If somebody has a prior commitment, you have two options. One: you can book the meeting or appointment anyway. In this case the person with the prior commitment will receive a message letting them know they now have a conflict, and they can decide how they wish to deal with it. Or two: you can do a search for the next time all participants have available at the same time, and book the meeting or appointment then.
Time zones are now specified when you create a new meeting. New printing options have been added in version 7.0. Now FirstClass messages, documents, address books and calendars (all views) can be printed out in the format and page size that you prefer.
In the FirstClass Editor, you can now add background images to your e-mails and documents and you can now access your FirstClass messages using Palm OS devices.
There are different pricing structures for education, businesses and service providers. Go to the FirstClass Web site for details.