Kerio Workspace review

26 May 2011

An intriguing collaboration tool with good links to Microsoft Office, but it offers too little functionality for the price

Price when reviewed: 
126exc VAT per 5 users,more
3

Kerio Workspace is a collaboration tool. It will run on a workstation or a server, and provides simple intranet websites where colleagues can create and edit workspaces and the pages within them.

Once the administrator of a workspace has granted access as reader, contributor or administrator, users can see or edit its stored data. Each page can have one or more component on it, such as text, image, video, a list of hyperlinks or a file library.

The text and image components can be used to add explanatory text and illustrations around other controls. More useful is the File Library, which lets contributors upload files that can then be read or edited by others. Kerio Workspace indexes all the text it can find, so you can search and find matching documents instantly. Many different file types can be previewed in the web browser, or you can download and edit the file on your desktop.

Kerio Workspace

There’s a small helper application that needs to be installed on each workstation to make editing and saving files easier. Files from Kerio Workspace are downloaded to your Temp folder; when you’ve finished editing, the changed file is uploaded again. This works reasonably well most of the time, but if the application doesn’t exit properly, you could be left with an orphaned file containing edits on your PC.

Kerio Workspace keeps a history record showing who edited what and when, and you can use this to retrieve old versions of documents. You can also get a link to a file, or a particular version of a file, to send to someone by email or instant message. It pops up as plain text in a dialog box, ready for copying and pasting; we’d have preferred it to go directly to the clipboard.

You can nest workspaces within workspaces for deep organisation of your data – think folders within folders in a traditional file system – but workspaces have descriptions and comments as well as pages, and it’s the pages that can contain files.

There are only three possible layouts when creating a page, with one, two or three columns. The left and right columns are generally thinner and have a coloured background, but all columns can contain many controls. You can change their width by dragging a splitter bar, and you can change the layout later by clicking a button to the right of the page title. This also lets you see the page’s history, set its security, print it or email someone a link. Of course, that only works if they have the right permissions.

Kerio Workspace

Kerio Workspace is simple to set up and use, but allows for remarkable flexibility given so few features. Unfortunately, there’s no Wiki-style linking from text components, but the rich text editor does let you create tables, paste from Word, tidy up pasted code and copy formatting from one area of text to another. Other components such as image (JPEG, GIF & PNG) or video (FLV only) are also simple. The “mashup” component just gives you a textbox into which you can type or paste HTML – not a lot of help to less technical users.

You can set up newsfeeds to send you an email when someone edits or uploads content to workspaces marked as favourites. You can also view workspaces on the Mac or iPhone, where the pages are reformatted to fit the small screen. Windows Phone 7 devices aren’t supported.

For simple collaboration, beyond a network folder in which to store documents, Kerio Workspace provides easy-to-use facilities that can be installed quickly on Windows, Linux or Mac. For many users that makes it a good next step on the collaboration path.

The fly in the ointment is Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, which does much the same job but has far more features and is available for free with Windows Server 2008. If you already have that within your organisation, Kerio Workspace looks very expensive for what it does.

Details

Price ex VAT £105 per 5 users, 1yr support
Price inc VAT £126
Overall rating 3
Ease of Use rating 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 2
Software subcategory Other software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? yes
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes