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If your business needs a Web-based solution for managing team projects, or if you are looking to create an all-new Web application, Horde might be the perfect solution. Horde is comprised of two distinct, yet closely intertwined, components: Horde Project and Horde Framework. Horde Project is the suite of Web-based groupware applications the end-user sees and interacts with, while the Horde Framework is a platform that Web-based apps are built on.

Horde Project

The Horde Project was born out of IMP (Internet Messaging Project), by Chuck Hagenbuch. As more and more features were requested, the project eventually grew far beyond IMP and came to include productivity, project-management and messaging applications.

IMP

IMP is still one of the core Horde components. IMP contains virtually all the features a standard, desktop-based email client contains, including support for POP3 and IMAP accounts, full MIME attachment handling, filters, address autocompletion, spell checking, thread view, WYSIWYG editor and more. IMP has also passed the MIME Torture Test and the E-Mail Acid Test, ensuring that your emails are standards-compliant and will display correctly.

Turba

Turba is Horde's address book and contact management application. Whereas older versions of IMP included a basic address book, Turba was designed to be a more modern, robust replacement.

Kronolith

Kronolith is the calendar and daily organizer component. It has advanced features, including repeating events and the ability to intelligently display multiple overlapping events.

Nag and Mnemo

Nag is Horde's task list manager, complete with multiuser support, while Mnemo is a basic note-taking application. Both of these applications can create items, either tasks or notes, that are for individual use or to be shared and collaborated on with other users.

In addition to the core components, there are groupware, file management, photo management, ticket-tracking, inventory management and more.

Horde Framework

The Horde Framework is the platform, or glue, that binds these various applications together. It consists of code, libraries and interfaces that are shared among the applications. The framework helps provide some of the functionality and features that are seen throughout the individual programs.

The Horde Framework serves as a valuable resource for developers looking to build their own Web apps. If your goal is to integrate with other Horde-based apps, Horde provides a graphical framework that will help unify your app with the Horde interface. The Horde Framework can also help you add a plethora of functions to your app, thanks to hundreds of libraries.

Availability

Because Horde is written in PHP, and Web-based, it is widely available and compatible with any platform that can run PHP. Horde can also be embedded into your Web server via plugins. The end-user applications can be accessed from virtually any computer or mobile device.

Horde is integrated with cPanel, WHM and Plesk server management software. Because of this, it is widely available on a range of existing servers and hosting plans.

License

The Horde Framework and all its applications and libraries are open source. They’re licensed under any of the following: GNU general public license (GPL), lesser general public license (LGPL) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Powerful features
  • Wide range of available applications
  • Broad compatibility
  • Free

Cons:

  • None

Points to Remember

Horde is, on the one hand, a powerful suite of Web-based groupware and collaborative tools. On the other hand, Horde is also a framework that can be used to create any number of powerful, Web applications for your company's use.

Both the suite of existing applications, as well as the framework, are under active development, with new applications and features planned for future releases.

With Horde, your company can make use of all these features to keep up with progress in projects from anywhere that users have Internet access. Because the framework and applications are free to use, your only cost will be Web hosting and installation, but as always, consult your host before installing any application on your server.

Horde Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Horde? I see it around a lot.

    No, Horde is much more than just a webmail client, it is a PHP-based framework designed for collaboration and can be described as web-based groupware. The whole Horde package includes the Horde IMP email client, task tracking tools, wiki system, file manager, calendar and note app. However, Horde does trace its roots back to the Internet Messaging Project (IMP) webmail designed in the late nineties. Since then, it has evolved into the Horde Project, which encompasses a range of other applications.

  • I don't need all that groupware stuff. Can I just stick to their webmail? What about other email services offered by Horde?

    Of course, Horde IMP webmail is still a standalone option, in case you don't need any groupware functionality. In addition to IMP, Horde also offers MIMP, which is a streamlined version of IMP and supports more hardware platforms. The Sork email package uses four Horde modules to manage accounts, passwords, forwarding and vacation settings. In case you need an email filter rules manager, you should take a look at Horde Ingo.

  • What modules and features are included in Horde Groupware?

    Horde groupware consists of four basic modules, a note manager dubbed Mnemo; Nag, which is a task list manager; a calendar application called Kronolith and the Horde address book and contact manager, called Turba. Gollem is Horde’s web-based file manager. Horde Groupware Webmail Edition extends this package with IMP and Ingo.

  • What can I use Horde Gollem for? Can I manage FTP or SSH servers?

    Gollem provides users with the ability to manage file systems stored in several backends, including SQL databases, FTP, Samba or on SSH servers. It can also be used to manage files in a real file-system. It relies on Horde's MIME viewer framework to identify file types, view file contents, associate icons and more.

  • Ok, I'm sold on the groupware, but what about proper business tools? Does the Horde framework feature anything useful?

    Horde is working on a new time tracking application called Hermes. The tool will employ a new dynamic view and a host of advanced features, but it’s only available as a dev build for the time being. Horde also offers Sesha, an inventory manager designed to track items rather than time and tasks. It supports multiple categories with unique properties and stackable organization of various items.

  • What about LMNucleus? Should I migrate my old Nucleus stuff to the fork? Is it still actively developed?

    LMNucleus still receives some updates and new plugins. The latter are designed to take advantage of PHP 5.4 or PHP 5.5. LMNucleus also addresses a number of issues faced by Nucleus in PHP 5.x. You might want to do a bit of research, but moving to LMNucleus is an option you should consider.

  • I might be interested in setting up a wiki and sharing some content among my team members. Does Horde offer content management functionality?

    Horde’s wiki tool is called Wicked and in addition to powering Horde’s official wiki, it also supports several different markup dialects, so you should have no trouble using it if you're familiar with other wikis. The Ansel photo management application allows you to create image galleries and integrate them with the other Horde applications, in case you need to share various images such as screenshots or product photos.

  • Is Horde free? Which license is it published under?

    Horde is free, and this applies to all modules. Horde is published under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which means some restrictions may apply, but the vast majority of users should not be affected.

  • Does Horde have any special requirements? Will it create additional expenses down the line?

    No, Horde does not rely on any technology or service that could add to your hosting bill. There is nothing to worry about, as Horde will run on just about any web hosting server.

  • What about Horde installation and integration?

    You don't have to worry about installation, either. Horde is already integrated in cPanel/WHM and Plesk control panels. This means you should be able to set it up with no hassle.

  • Does Horde have any instant messaging features?

    No, you will have to use third-party instant messaging to talk to your team. Horde only handles other aspects of team management and collaboration, such as task tracking, scheduling, email and so on.

  • How does Horde compare to other collaborative software suites?

    Horde is a relatively popular platform and in terms of features it is roughly on par with alternative solutions. The only features it lacks compared to its competitors are email storage, IMAP sharing, instant messaging and embedded antivirus software. If any of these are must-have features, you can choose from a few dozen web-based groupware solutions.

  • Is Roundcube a good alternative to Horde webmail?

    Roundcube is a very good webmail solution and many users are quick to point out that it has a cleaner and easier to use UI than Horde. It offers a three-pane interface which is used on most email clients like Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird, so novice users should have no trouble finding their way around it. However, Horde still has a few additional features for advanced users.

  • But what about Squirrelmail? How does it compare to Horde webmail?

    Squirrelmail is all about ease of use and speed, so it has a basic UI and lists all your emails in one place. It’s a good alternative for those looking for the simplest possible webmail platform, basically a backup in case they can't use their email client. It is no match for Horde in terms of features or capabilities.

  • Are there any other webmail alternatives aside from Horde IMP, Squirrelmail and Roundcube? Are they worth my time?

    Horde IMP, Squirrelmail, and Roundcube and the most widely used webmail solutions, so most people stick with them. However, this does not mean there are no alternatives worth checking out – there are plenty. Atmail, Zimbra, FastMail, Hive Mail and a number of other interesting alternatives.

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