(51) Int Cl.: G06F 17/30 ( )

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1 (19) TEPZZ 7 _B_T (11) EP B1 (12) EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION (4) Date of publication and mention of the grant of the patent: Bulletin 13/14 (21) Application number: (22) Date of filing: (1) Int Cl.: G06F 17/30 (06.01) (86) International application number: PCT/US1999/ (87) International publication number: WO 00/0994 ( Gazette 00/) (4) SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR UPDATING A REMOTE DATABASE IN A NETWORK SYSTEM UND VERFAHREN ZUM AKTUALISIEREN EINER ABSTANDSDATEI IN EINEM NETZWERK SYSTEME ET PROCEDE D ACTUALISATION D UNE BASE DE DONNEES ELOIGNEE DANS UN RESEAU (84) Designated Contracting States: AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LI LU MC NL PT SE (30) Priority: US (43) Date of publication of application: Bulletin 01/3 (73) Proprietor: Good Technology Corporation Dover DE (US) (72) Inventors: NG, Mason Sunnyvale, CA (US) QUINLAN, Sean, M. San Francisco, CA 942 (US) RUAN, Tom Campbell, CA 9008 (US) MENDEZ, Daniel, J. Menlo Park, CA 9402 (US) ZHU, Jing Fremont, CA 9438 (US) CHENG, Martin, Jr. Fremont, CA 94 (US) WILLIAMS, Matt, O. Palo Alto, CA (US) RIGGINS, Mark, D. Mercer Island, WA (US) (74) Representative: Spaargaren, Jerome et al EIP Fairfax House Fulwood Place London WC1V 6HU (GB) (6) References cited: EP-A WO-A1-99/06 US-A US-A US-A US-A US-A CHRONAKI C E ET AL: "WebOnCOLL: Medical Collaboration in Regional Healthcare Networks", IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN BIOMEDICINE, vol. 1, no. 4, December 1997 ( ), pages , XP012828, EP B1 Note: Within nine months of the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to that patent, in accordance with the Implementing Regulations. Notice of opposition shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention). Printed by Jouve, 7001 PARIS (FR)

2 1 EP B1 2 Description BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention [0001] This invention relates generally to computer networks, and more particularly provides a system and method for updating a remote database in a computer network. 2. Description of the Background Art [0002] Data accessibility and consistency are significant concerns for computer users. For example, when a roaming user, i.e., a user who travels to a remote location, needs to review or manipulate data such as calendar or address information, the roaming user must either carry the data to the remote location or access a workstation remotely. Maintaining a true copy of a database is a cumbersome process. Accordingly, system designers have developed an array of techniques for connecting a remote terminal across a computer network to the workstation storing the data. [0003] To guarantee readability of the downloaded data, the user must carry a laptop computer containing all the applications needed to present and enable manipulation of the downloaded data, or find a network-connected computer that contains the needed application programs. Further, the user must maintain a record of all identification and authentication information for each database site that the user wishes to access. [0004] WO99/06 describes providing clients with synchronization capability by equipping a client with a synchronisation system on local client device. The synchronization system interfaces with a variety of Personal Information Managers (PIMs) so as to synchronise the different instances of workspace data with corresponding instances stored in the database. [000] Thus, a system and method are needed to enable a roaming user to access data stored on a remote database easily from any site connected via a network. And, to make such a system easy to use and facilitate the population of the remote database, a system and method are needed for easily moving workspace data (such as in a PIM) from the user s local data store to the remote data store in a [0006] An article by Chronaki C E et al. entitled "WebOnCOLL: Medical Collaboration in Regional Healthcare Networks", IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN BIOMEDICINE, vol. 1, no. 4, December 1997, pages , describes a web-based medical collaboration environment. A workspace manager is responsible for maintaining workspace-related data. A client workspace applet is described as having two threads of control. A user thread responds to user requests and passes administrative requests to the workspace manager. An update thread polls the workspace manager for updates in the status of the workspace. manner that advantageously uses existing infrastructure such as browser technology and the Internet communications infrastructure. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0007] The present invention provides a method for synchronising workspace data held at a client device in a computer network, such as defined in claim 1. The computer network comprises a global server coupled to a local client and to a remote client. The local client uses a browser for establishing a communications link with a web server on the global server. The global server has memory for storing independently modifiable copies of workspace data maintained by Personal Information Managers (PIMs) on the local client, and has PIM Downloadables for interfacing with these PIMs. [0008] The local client requests synchronization capability for a particular PIM. The global server sends a PIM Downloadable corresponding to the particular PIM to the local client, which installs and initiates execution of the PIM Downloadable. Accordingly, a user interface receives information designating workspace data to be synchronized and information selecting a synchronization mode such as one-way replace, one-way merge or two-way synchronize. A PIM interface instructs the particular PIM to retrieve the workspace data to be synchronized. A synchronization module determines update data based on the synchronization mode selected and possibly based on an actual comparison with the corresponding workspace data copy on the global server. A communications engine delivers the first update data to the global server, which updates the server e- mail workspace data. [0009] The present invention provides furthermore for a computer-readable storage medium, program code and client device according to claims, 11 and 12. [00] The present invention may advantageously enable the synchronization or one-way import of data corresponding to particular PIMs across a network to a global server. The invention enables the selection of a mode of synchronization or import. The invention enables the automatic configuration of both a local client and a remote client to operate this invention. That is, since the PIM Downloadable is downloaded from the global server, the local client need only have a communications engine, such as that provided by a conventional browser, and a PIM to obtain synchronization or import capability. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0011] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a computer network in accordance with the present invention; FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating details of a com- 2

3 3 EP B1 4 puter; FIG. 3A is a block diagram illustrating details of the PIM downloadable of FIG. 1; FIG. 3B is a block diagram illustrating details of the update engine of FIG. 1; FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method of updating the global server, in accordance with the present invention; FIG. is a flowchart illustrating the synchronization mode of one-way data replacing; FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating the synchronization mode of one-way data merging; FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating the synchronization mode of two-way data synchronization; and FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating details of the user data store of FIG. 1. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EM- BODIMENT [0012] The present invention provides a system and method for updating a network database to store current PIM data, which may be accessed from any remote site coupled to the network and operating a communications engine such as a web browser. [0013] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a computer network 0, in accordance with the present invention. The computer network 0 includes a global server coupled via a computer network, e.g., the Wide Area Network (WAN) commonly referred to as the Internet 1, to a Local Area Network (LAN) commonly referred to as an Intranet 1. A local client 1 and a calendar Personal Computer (PC) 12 are coupled to the Intranet 1. The Intranet 1, the local client 1 and the calendar PC 12 may be protected by a firewall 130. The global server may be protected by a global firewall (not shown). The computer network 0 further includes a remote client 13 coupled to the Internet 1. [0014] The global server is a computer which includes a web server 140 for communicating with and responding to requests from web browsers. The global server further includes a user data store 0 for storing user workspace data. FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating details of the user data store 0. User data store 0 may include a first store 80 for user#1, a second store 84 for user#2, etc. Further, each store 80, 84 may include separate folders for each program. For example, the first store may include a first folder 8 for calendar data, a second folder 8 for address data, a third folder 82 for other PIM data, etc. Still further, each folder 8, 8, 82 may include separate workspace databases as designated by the user. It will be appreciated that, for synchronization purposes, individual records may be selected from one or more PIM workspace databases and recognized as a single database. [00] The global server also includes PIM Downloadables 14. A Downloadable is executable or interpretable application code, which is downloaded from a source computer and run on a destination computer. For the case herein, the term "executable" includes "interpretable." A Downloadable is typically requested by an ongoing process such as by an Internet browser or web client. Examples of Downloadables include Java applets designed for use in the Java distributing environment developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc., JavaScript scripts also developed by Sun Microsystems, Inc., ActiveX controls designed for use in the ActiveX distributing environment developed by the Microsoft Corporation, and Visual Basic also developed by the Microsoft Corporation. Downloadables may also include plugins, which add to the functionality of an already existing application program. It will be appreciated that each Downloadable may include one or more applets, one or more ActiveX controls, one or more plugins, etc. or combinations thereof. It will be further appreciated that the Downloadable need not be deleted upon logoff. Each PIM Downloadable 14 may communicate with a corresponding PIM, and may communicate with the global server to update the user data store 0. Details of a PIM Downloadable 14 are illustrated in FIG. 3. [0016] The global server further includes an update engine 19, which retrieves the appropriate PIM Downloadable and downloads it to the local client. The update engine 19 further responds to requests for retrieving and modifying workspace data contained in the user data store 0. The update engine is described in greater detail with reference to FIG. 3B. [0017] The local client 1 is a computer which includes a browser 17 for communicating with the global server via the web server 140. It will be appreciated that the browser 17 may include a conventional web browser. The local client 1 further includes a first PIM and first PIM data 160. The first PIM includes an program for controlling . The local client further includes a second PIM client 16 for communicating with a second PIM server located on another computer which is connected to the local client 1, and second PIM data 170. [0018] The second PIM PC 12 is a computer which includes a second PIM server 180 for responding to the requests made by the second PIM client 16. The second PIM server and interface may collectively provide calendar services, address services, services, etc. The second PIM PC 12 includes second PIM data 18 that is unique to second PIM data 170 stored on the local client 1. One skilled in the art will recognize that the second PIM 180 and second PIM client 16 may store second PIM data only on the local client 1, only on the second PIM PC 12, on both the local client 1 and the 3

4 EP B1 6 second PIM PC 12 collectively, or on both the local client 1 and the second PIM PC 12 redundantly. For example, with reference to servers, the second PIM PC 12 stores a copy of an received but downloads the copy to the local client 1 upon request by the e- mail server interface. Examples of the second PIM client 16 and server 180 include Outlook and Exchange by the Microsoft Corporation, Lotus Organizer and Lotus Notes by the Lotus Development Corporation, GroupWise by Novell,Inc., etc. [0019] The first PIM knows the location of the first PIM data 160. The second PIM client 16 knows the location of the second PIM data 170 on the local client 1. The second PIM server 180 knows the location of the second PIM data 18 located on the second PIM PC 12. Thus, each component can retrieve its corresponding data. [00] The remote client 13 includes a browser 190, which can connect to the web server 140 of the global server 140 and can access, review and possibly manipulate workspace data stored in the user data store 0. [0021] FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating a computer system 0 which illustrates details of each of the global server, the local client 1, the second PIM PC 12 and the remote client 13. The computer system 0 includes a processor, such as an Intel Pentium microprocessor or a Motorola Power PC microprocessor, coupled to a communications channel 2. The computer system 0 further includes an input device 2 such as a keyboard and mouse, an output device 2 such as a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) display, a communications device 22, data storage 230 such as a magnetic disk, and working memory 23 such as Random-Access Memory (RAM), each coupled to the communications channel 1. The communications channel 2 may be coupled to a network such as the to the Internet 1 or to the Intranet 1. One skilled in the art will recognize that, although the data storage 230 and working memory 23 are illustrated as separate units, data storage 230 and working memory can be integrated or partially integrated units. [0022] An operating system 240 controls processing by the processor, and is typically stored in data storage 230 and loaded into working memory 23 (as illustrated) for execution. Other programs such as browsers, servers, downloadables, data, etc. may also be stored in data storage 230 and loaded into working memory 23 (as illustrated) for execution by processor. [0023] One skilled in the art will recognize that the computer system 0 may also include additional information, such as network connections, additional memory, additional processors, LANs, input/output lines for transferring information across a hardware channel, the Internet or an Intranet, etc. One skilled in the art will also recognize that the programs and data may be received by and stored in the system in alternative ways. For example, a computer-readable storage medium (CRSM) reader 24 such as a floppy disk drive, hard disk drive, CD-ROM reader, magneto-optical reader, CPU (for RAM), etc. may be coupled to the communications channel 2 for reading a computer-readable storage medium (CRSM) 20 such as a magnetic disk, a hard disk, a magneto-optical disk, RAM, etc. Accordingly, the system 0 may receive programs and data via the CRSM reader 240. [0024] FIG. 3A is a block diagram illustrating details of a PIM Downloadable 14. Each PIM Downloadable 14 includes a user interface 30, a first PIM Application Program Interface (API) 3, a second PIM client interface 3, a communications engine 3 and a synchronization module 32. [002] The user interface 30 enables a user to designate workspace data to synchronize, enables a user to select a synchronization mode (one-way replace, one-way merge or two-way synchronize), and enables a user to initiate synchronization. Examples of the different modes of synchronization are illustrated in FIG., FIG. 6 and FIG. 7, respectively. Designating workspace data to synchronize causes the web server 140 to maintain a separate database (e. g., database 830) in the user data store (e. g., user#i store 80) corresponding to the identified user (e. g., user#1), as illustrated in FIG. 8. The web server 140 determines whether a corresponding database already exists. If not, then the web server 140 will create a corresponding empty database and add the empty database to the user data store 0. [0026] The first PIM interface 3 includes program code for enabling the PIM Downloadable 14 to communicate with the first PIM. Moreover, the first PIM interface 3 requests the first PIM to retrieve the appropriate databases of the first PIM data 160 for synchronization. The first PIM responsively retrieves the appropriate databases and passes them to the PIM Downloadable 14. Alternatively, the first PIM informs the PIM Downloadable 14 of the locations of the appropriate databases. [0027] The second PIM client interface 3 includes program code for enabling the PIM Downloadable 14 to communicate with the second PIM client 16. Moreover, the second PIM client interface 3 requests the second PIM client 16 to retrieve the appropriate databases of the second PIM data 170 and of the second PIM data 18. The second PIM client 16 responsively retrieves the appropriate workspace data from second PIM data 170 and requests the second PIM server 180 to retrieve the appropriate workspace data from second PIM data 18. The second PIM client 16 passes the workspace data from the second PIM data 170 and from the second PIM data 18 to the PIM Downloadable 14. Alternatively, the second PIM client 16 may inform the PIM Downloadable 14 of the locations of the databases on the second PIM data 170 and on the second PIM data 18. As another alternative, the second PIM client 16 may retrieve the appropriate workspace data from the second PIM 4

5 7 EP B1 8 data 18 on the second PIM PC 12, and store them locally with the second PIM data 170. The second PIM client 16 may then inform the PIM Downloadable 14 of the locations of the appropriate databases. It will be appreciated that other methods of enabling the PIM Downloadable 14 to access the workspace data are also possible. It will be appreciated that the second PIM client interface 3 may be included in a separate PIM Downloadable 14, which has second instances of the user interface 30, the communications engine 3 and the synchronization module 32. [0028] The communications engine 3 includes program code for enabling the PIM Downloadable 14 to communicate with the web server 140, optionally via the browser 17. [0029] Upon request, the synchronization module 32 instructs the first PIM interface 3 or the second PIM client interface 3 to perform its services for retrieving the workspace data to be synchronized. The synchronization module 32 also requests the web server 140 to retrieve the workspace data from the user data store 0 on the global server, and to pass the information via the Internet to the local client 1. Alternatively, if a previously status of the database stored on the global server is known, then the synchronization module 32 may request only the changes made since then. In any case, the synchronization module 32 need only learn the content of the corresponding database stored in the user data store 20 on the global server. The synchronization module 32 compares the e- mail data contained in the local client 1 database with the data contained in the corresponding global server database, and accordingly performs a synchronizing response. The three modes of synchronization, i.e., one-way merge, one-way replace and two-way synchronization, are illustrated and described below with reference to FIGs., 6 and 7. It will be appreciated that the synchronization module 32 need not learn the contents contained in the corresponding database stored in the user data store 0 on the global server when performing a one-way replace operation (since the contents are overwritten and thus irrelevant). [0030] FIG. 3B is a block diagram illustrating details of the update engine 19. The update engine includes a communications engine 30, a PIM Downloadable retrieval engine 3 and a user data store manager 360. The communications engine 30 communicates with the communications engine 3 of the PIM Downloadable 14. The PIM Downloadable retrieval engine 3 receives requests for synchronization capability from the local client 1. Each request may identify the particular PIM or alternatively may identify the service for which synchronization is desired. If only the service is identified, the PIM Downloadable retrieval engine 3 determines the PIM based on a previous selection corresponding to the service identified. The user data store manager 360 controls retrieval and manipulation of e- mail workspace data contained in the user data store That is, the user data store manager 360 retrieves workspace data for the server database identified by the PIM Downloadable 14 as the database to be synchronized. The user data store manager 360 forwards the corresponding workspace data to the PIM Downloadable 14 for comparison with the database maintained by the PIM. The user data store manager 360 also modifies the server database based on update data received from the PIM Downloadable 14. [0031] FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating a method 400 of synchronizing PIM data with a global server, in accordance with the present invention. Method 400 starts with the local client 1 in step 40 requesting a connection to the global server using the browser 17 and common URL technology. The browser 17 and web server 140 in step 4 establish a communications link. The web server 140 in step 4 sends HTML data to the browser 17 for setting up a user interface, which may include a request for user identification and authentication information. The browser 17 in step 4 sends the user identification and authentication information to the web server 140, which identifies and authenticates the user. [0032] The local client 1 in step 42 requests synchronization capabilities for a particular PIM, such as for the first PIM. The PIM Downloadable retrieval engine 3 in step 430 downloads a PIM Downloadable 14 corresponding to the particular PIM to the local client via the browser 17, if necessary. That is, if the downloadable 14 has already been downloaded or stored on the local client, then the step 430 is unnecessary. The browser 17 in step 43 installs the PIM Downloadable 14. Installing the downloadable 14 may include moving the downloadable to working memory for execution. The local client in step 440 requests synchronization of a particular PIM database. The local client 1 in step 443 configures the PIM Downloadable 14 by selecting one of three available modes of synchronization, described in detail with reference to FIGs. -7, although other modes are possible. The browser 17 in step 44 initiates execution of the PIM Downloadable 14. The PIM interface corresponding to the PIM maintaining the database (e.g., the first PIM interface 3) in step 40 requests the PIM (e.g., the first PIM ) to retrieve the PIM workspace data (e.g., the PIM e- mail data 160 contained within the PIM database). The PIM Downloadable 14 in step 4 performs synchronization with the global server according to the synchronization mode selected above in step 440. Method 400 then ends. [0033] FIG. is a flowchart illustrating a method 00 of replacing data, referred to herein as a "replacement synchronization mode." Method 00 illustrates a first example for performing step 4. Method 00 begins with the synchronization module 32 in step 0 receiving the PIM data for the selected database from the PIM, e.g., the first PIM. The synchronization module 32 in step uses the communications module to forward

6 9 EP B the PIM data to the web server 140. The user data store manager 360 in step replaces the workspace data of the selected database in the user data store 0 with the forwarded workspace data. Method 00 then ends. [0034] For example, if the database maintained by the PIM contains exactly records A, B and D, then regardless of the contents of the database on the global server the synchronization module 32 will upload elements A, B and D to the global server. The user data store manager 360 will replace the workspace data on the global server with the uploaded workspace data. Accordingly, both the database maintained by the global server and the database maintained by the PIM will store exactly records A, B and D. [003] FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating a method 600 of merging data, referred to herein as a "merging synchronization mode." Method 600 illustrates a second example for performing step 4. Method 600 begins with the synchronization module 32 in step 60 receiving the PIM data for the selected database from the PIM, e.g., the first PIM. The synchronization module 32 in step 6 learns the contents of the corresponding database on the global server. Learning the contents of the database on the global server may include downloading the entire contents of the database, or using software cache technology to download the differences from the last download. The synchronization module 32 in step 6 compares the database contents to determine update data indicating how the database maintained by the PIM was modified (updated) relative to the database maintained on the global server. For example, records may have been deleted, added or modified since the last connection, documents may have been modified since the last connection, etc. The synchronization module 32 in step 6 instructs the communications module to send the update data to the global server. The user data store manager 360 in step 62 adds (manipulates, etc.) the update data to the database in the user data store 0. Method 600 then ends. [0036] For example, the database maintained by the PIM may include records A, B and D and the database maintained by the global server may include records A, B and C. The synchronization module 32 compares the contents of the databases to learn that the database maintained by the global server does not include record D. Thus, the synchronization module 32 forwards record D to the global server, which stores the record in the corresponding database. Accordingly, the database maintained by the global server will contain records A, B, C and D, and the database maintained by the PIM will contain records A, B and D. [0037] For another example, the database maintained by the PIM may have included records A, B, C and D and the database on the global server may include records A, B, C and D. If record C is deleted, the synchronization module 32 will determine based on version information that the record C has been deleted. Accordingly, the synchronization module 32 may do nothing so that a superset is maintained on the global server. Thus, the database on the global server will contain records A, B, C and D, and the database maintained by the PIM will contain records A, B and D. Alternatively, the synchronization module 32 may inform the web server 140 that record C has been deleted, and the user data store manager 360 may delete record C from the corresponding database on the global server. In this case, the database maintained by the global server and the database maintained by the PIM will each contain records A, B and D. [0038] FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a method 700 of performing two-way synchronization, referred to herein as "two-way synchronization mode." Method 700 begins with the synchronization module 32 in step 70 receiving the PIM data for the selected database from the PIM, e.g., the first PIM. The synchronization module 32 in step 7 learns the contents of the corresponding database on the global server. The synchronization module 32 in step 7 compares the workspace data from the database to determine update data indicating how the database maintained by the PIM was updated relative to the database maintained on the global server and update data indicating how the database on the global server was updated relative to the database maintained by the PIM. As stated above, workspace data in the database maintained by the PIM may have been deleted, added or modified. The synchronization module 32 in step 7 sends the update data to the global server. The user data store manager 360 in step 72 adds the update data to the database in the user data store 0. The PIM interface, e.g., the first PIM interface 3, in step 730 instructs the PIM, e.g., the first PIM, to add its update information to PIM data 160 in the appropriate database. The PIM in step 73 adds the update data to the database. Method 700 then ends. [0039] For example, the database maintained by the PIM may include records A, B and D and the database on the global server may include records A, B and C. The synchronization module 32 will compare the workspace data to learn that the database maintained by the PIM does not include record C and that the database on the global server does not include the record D. Accordingly, the synchronization module 32 will send record D to the global server and the PIM interface will instruct the PIM to store record C in the appropriate database. [0040] The foregoing description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention is by way of example only, and other variations and modifications of the above-described embodiments and methods are possible in light of the foregoing teaching. For example, although the invention has been described with reference to browsers, any web engine for communicating with a web server may alternatively be used. Although the system has been described as having only two PIMs (and thus only two PIM interfaces, only two PIM downloada- 6

7 11 EP B1 12 bles, etc.), one skilled in the art will recognize that any number of PIMs may be managed by the system and methods of the present invention. Although the PIM Downloadable has been described as including a PIM interface to communicate with a PIM to obtain data to be synchronized, one skilled in the art will recognize that, if the Downloadable knows the location of the data, no PIM interface is needed. Thus, the downloadable may use an engine for retrieving the data from the known location without the assistance of a PIM. Although the network sites are being described as separate and distinct sites, one skilled in the art will recognize that these sites may be a part of an integral site, may each include portions of multiple sites, or may include combinations of single and multiple sites. Although each of the network sites is being described as a single computer, one skilled in the art will recognize that each site may include multiple computers. Further, components of this invention may be implemented using a programmed general purpose digital computer, using application specific integrated circuits, or using a network of interconnected conventional components and circuits. Connections may be wired, wireless, modem, etc. The embodiments described herein are not intended to be exhaustive or limiting. The present invention is limited only by the following claims. Claims 1. A computer-based method for synchronising workspace data held at a client device (1), and associated with a first user, with corresponding e- mail workspace data held at a server database (0) connected to a computer network, the server database (0) including a plurality of data stores (80, 84) each holding workspace data associated with a respective user, the plurality of data stores including a first data store associated with the first user, the method comprising the steps of: using (430) a browser (17; 190) to receive identification of a downloadable (14) from the computer network, the downloadable comprising executable application code downloaded from the computer network, the downloadable being capable of operating in each of a plurality of synchronisation modes; receiving (440) information designating workspace data (160; 170, 18) to be synchronized, the designated workspace data being associated with the first user; designating (443) a said synchronization mode; initiating (44) execution of the downloadable; using the downloadable to instruct a personal information manager (PIM) (; 16,180) to retrieve the workspace data to be synchronized; using the downloadable to determine (4) first update data based on the workspace data to be synchronized and on the designated synchronization mode; and using the downloadable to deliver the first update data to the server database (0) connected to the computer network, wherein, for at least one of said synchronisation modes, the method comprises determining said first update data based on a comparison of said designated workspace data (160; 170, 18) with corresponding workspace data stored at the server database (0). 2. The method of claim 1, wherein the synchronization mode is one of one-way replace, one-way merge and two-way synchronization. 3. The method of claim 1 or claim 2, further comprising the steps of communicating with the server database to learn the server database contents associated with the workspace data to be synchronized. 4. The method of claim 3, further comprising the steps of determining second update data based on the comparison, and instructing the PIM to modify the e- mail workspace data to be synchronized by the second update data.. The method of any preceding claim, further comprising the step of downloading the downloadable from the server database. 6. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the e- mail workspace data is contained in a user data store (160; 170,18). 7. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the information includes identification of an service, and wherein the particular PIM corresponding to the service is known. 8. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the downloadable includes a user interface (30) for enabling a user to select a synchronization mode and to designate a database (160; 170,18) containing workspace data to be synchronized. 9. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the downloadable includes a synchronization module (32) for computing the update data.. A computer-readable storage medium storing program code for causing a computer to perform the steps of any preceding claim. 11. Program code embodied in a carrier medium for controlling a computer to perform the steps of any of claims 1 to 9. 7

8 13 EP B A client device (0) arranged to synchronise workspace data held thereon, and associated with a first user, with corresponding workspace data held at a server database (0) connected to a computer network, the server database (0) including a plurality of data stores (80, 84) each holding workspace data associated with a respective user, the plurality of data stores including a first data store associated with the first user, the client device comprising: the PIM to modify the workspace data to be synchronized by the second update data. 17. The client device of any of claim 12 to claim 16, wherein the downloadable is downloaded from the server database. 18. The client device of any one of claim 12 to claim 17, wherein the workspace data is contained in a user data store (160; 170,18). means for using a browser (17;190) to receive identification of a downloadable (14) from the computer network (1,1), the downloadable comprising executable application code downloaded from the computer network, the downloadable being capable of operating in each of a plurality of synchronisation modes; means for receiving information designating e- mail workspace data (160; 170, 18) to be synchronized, the designated workspace data being associated with the first user; means for designating a synchronization mode; means for initiating execution (44) of the downloadable; means for instructing a personal information manager (PIM) (; 16, 180) to retrieve the workspace data to be synchronized; means for using a browser to determine first update data based on the workspace data to be synchronized and on the designated synchronization mode; means for using the downloadable to deliver the first update data to the server database (0) connected to the computer network, wherein, for at least one of said synchronisation modes, the client device is arranged to determine said first update data based on a comparison of said workspace data (160; 170, 18) with corresponding workspace data stored at the server database (0). 13. The client device of claim 12, wherein the synchronization mode is one of one-way replace, one-way merge and two-way synchronization The client device of any one of claim 12 to claim 18, wherein the information includes identification of an service, and wherein the particular PIM corresponding to the service is known.. The client device of any one of claim 12 to claim 19, wherein the means for storing workspace data and the downloadable is arranged to store a plurality of PIM downloadables. 21. The client device of any of claim 12 to claim wherein the PIM downloadable includes a user interface (30) for enabling a user to select a synchronization mode and to designate a database (160; 170,18) containing the workspace data to be synchronized. Patentansprüche 1. Computerbasiertes Verfahren zum Synchronisieren von -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die auf einer Client- Vorrichtung (1) gehalten werden und die einem ersten Anwender zugeordnet sind, mit entsprechenden -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die in einer Server- Datenbank (0) gehalten werden, die mit einem Computernetz verbunden ist, wobei die Server-Datenbank (0) mehrere Datenspeicher (80, 84) enthält, wovon jeder -Arbeitsplatzdaten hält, die einem jeweiligen Anwender zugeordnet sind, wobei die mehreren Datenspeicher einen ersten Datenspeicher enthalten, der dem ersten Anwender zugeordnet ist, und wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst: 14. The client device of claim 12 or claim 13, wherein the downloadable includes a synchronization module (32) for computing the first update data.. The client device of claim 14, wherein the synchronization module is arranged to learn the server database contents corresponding to the workspace data to be synchronized. 16. The client device of claim, wherein the synchronization module is arranged to determine second update data based on the comparison, and to instruct 0 Verwenden (430) eines Browsers (17; 190), um die Identifikation eines herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements (14) aus dem Computernetz zu empfangen, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement ausführbaren Anwendungscode umfasst, der aus dem Computernetz heruntergeladen ist, und das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement in jeder von mehreren Synchronisationsbetriebsarten arbeiten kann; Empfangen (440) von Informationen, die - Arbeitsplatzdaten (160; 170, 18) bezeichnen, 8

9 EP B1 16 die synchronisiert werden sollen, wobei die bezeichneten -Arbeitsplatzdaten dem ersten Anwender zugeordnet sind; Bezeichnen (443) der Synchronisationsbetriebsart; Einleiten (44) der Ausführung des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements; Verwenden des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements, um einen Personal Information Manager (PIM) (; 16, 180) anzuweisen, die -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, abzurufen; Verwenden des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements zum Bestimmen (4) erster Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf den - Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, und auf der bezeichneten Synchronisationsbetriebsart; und Verwenden des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements zum Liefern der ersten Aktualisierungsdaten an die Server-Datenbank (0), die mit dem Computernetz verbunden ist, wobei für wenigstens eine der Synchronisationsbetriebsarten das Verfahren das Bestimmen der Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf einem Vergleich der bezeichneten -Arbeitsplatzdaten (160; 170, 18) mit entsprechenden Arbeitsplatzdaten, die in der Server-Datenbank (0) gespeichert sind, umfasst. 2. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Synchronisationsbetriebsart eine einseitige Überschreibung oder eine einseitige Zusammenfügung oder eine wechselseitige Synchronisation ist. 3. Verfahren nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2, das ferner die Schritte des Kommunizierens mit der Server-Datenbank umfasst, um die Inhalte der Server- Datenbank in Erfahrung zu bringen, die den - Arbeitsplatzdaten zugeordnet sind, die synchronisiert werden sollen. 4. Verfahren nach Anspruch 3, das ferner die Schritte des Bestimmens von zweiten Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf dem Vergleich und des Anweisens des PIM, die -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, durch die zweiten Aktualisierungsdaten zu modifizieren, umfasst.. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, das ferner den Schritt des Herunterladens des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements aus der Server-Datenbank umfasst. 6. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die -Arbeitsplatzdaten in einem Anwender-Datenspeicher (160; 170, 18) enthalten sind Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Informationen die Identifikation eines -Dienstes enthalten und wobei der spezielle PIM, der dem -Dienst entspricht, bekannt ist. 8. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement eine Anwenderschnittstelle (30) enthält, um zu ermöglichen, dass ein Anwender eine Synchronisationsbetriebsart auswählt, und eine Datenbank (160; 170, 18) bezeichnet, die -Arbeitsplatzdaten enthält, die synchronisiert werden sollen. 9. Verfahren nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement ein Synchronisationsmodul (32) zum Berechnen der Aktualisierungsdaten enthält.. Computerlesbares Speichermedium, das Programmcode zum Bewirken, dass ein Computer die Schritte eines der vorhergehenden Ansprüche ausführt, speichert. 11. Programmcode, der in einem Trägermedium verkörpert ist, zum Steuern eines Computers, um die Schritte eines der Ansprüche 1 bis 9 auszuführen. 12. Client-Vorrichtung (0), die ausgelegt ist, um E- Mail-Arbeitsplatzdaten, die darauf gehalten werden und die einem ersten Anwender zugeordnet sind, mit entsprechenden -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die in einer Server-Datenbank (0) gehalten werden, die mit einem Computernetz verbunden ist, zu synchronisieren, wobei die Server-Datenbank (0) mehrere Datenspeicher (80, 84) enthält, wovon jeder E- Mail-Arbeitsplatzdaten hält, die einem jeweiligen Anwender zugeordnet sind, wobei die mehreren Datenspeicher einen ersten Datenspeicher enthalten, der dem ersten Anwender zugeordnet ist, wobei die Client-Vorrichtung Folgendes umfasst: Mittel zum Verwenden eines Browsers (17; 190), um die Identifikation eines herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements (14) aus dem Computernetz (1, 1) zu empfangen, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement ausführbaren Anwendungscode umfasst, der aus dem Computernetz heruntergeladen ist, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement in jeder von mehreren Synchronisationsbetriebsarten arbeiten kann; Mittel zum Empfangen von Informationen, die -Arbeitsplatzdaten (160; 170, 18) bezeichnen, die synchronisiert werden sollen, wobei die bezeichneten -Arbeitsplatzdaten dem ersten Anwender zugeordnet sind; Mittel zum Bezeichnen einer Synchronisationsbetriebsart; 9

10 17 EP B1 18 Mittel zum Einleiten der Ausführung (44) des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements; Mittel zum Anweisen eines Personal Information Managers (PIM) (; 16, 180), die -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, abzurufen; Mittel zum Verwenden eines Browsers zum Bestimmen erster Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf den -Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, und auf der bezeichneten Synchronisationsbetriebsart; Mittel zum Verwenden des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements zum Liefern der ersten Aktualisierungsdaten an die Server-Datenbank (0), die mit dem Computernetz verbunden ist, wobei für wenigstens eine der Synchronisationsbetriebsarten die Client-Vorrichtung ausgelegt ist, um die Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf einem Vergleich der -Arbeitsplatzdaten (160; 170, 18) mit entsprechenden Arbeitsplatzdaten, die in der Server-Datenbank (0) gespeichert sind, zu bestimmen. 18, wobei die Informationen die Identifikation eines -Dienstes enthalten und wobei der spezielle PIM, der dem -Dienst entspricht, bekannt ist.. Client-Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 12 bis 19, wobei die Mittel zum Speichern von -Arbeitsplatzdaten und des herunterladefähigen Anwendungselements ausgelegt sind, mehrere PIMherunterladefähige Anwendungselemente zu speichern. 21. Client-Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 12 bis, wobei das herunterladefähige PIM-Anwendungselement eine Anwenderschnittstelle (30) enthält, um zu ermöglichen, dass ein Anwender eine Synchronisationsbetriebsart auswählt und eine Datenbank (160; 170, 18) bezeichnet, welche die E- Mail-Arbeitsplatzdaten enthält, die synchronisiert werden sollen. Revendications 13. Client-Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 12, wobei die Synchronisationsbetriebsart eine einseitige Überschreibung oder eine einseitige Zusammenfügung oder eine wechselseitige Synchronisation ist. 14. Client-Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 12 oder 13, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement ein Synchronisationsmodul (32) zum Berechnen der ersten Aktualisierungsdaten enthält.. Client-Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 14, wobei das Synchronisationsmodul ausgelegt ist, um die Inhalte der Server-Datenbank in Erfahrung zu bringen, die den -Arbeitsplatzdaten entsprechen, die synchronisiert werden sollen Procédé mis en oeuvre par ordinateur permettant de synchroniser des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique stockées au niveau d un dispositif client (1), et associées à un premier utilisateur, avec des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique correspondantes stockées au niveau d une base de données serveur (0) connectée à un réseau informatique, la base de données serveur (0) comprenant une pluralité de magasins de données (80, 84) stockant chacun des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique associées à un utilisateur respectif, la pluralité de magasins de données comportant un premier magasin de données associé au premier utilisateur, le procédé comprenant les étapes consistant à : 16. Client-Vorrichtung nach Anspruch, wobei das Synchronisationsmodul ausgelegt ist, um zweite Aktualisierungsdaten basierend auf dem Vergleich zu bestimmen und den PIM anzuweisen, die - Arbeitsplatzdaten, die synchronisiert werden sollen, durch die zweiten Aktualisierungsdaten zu modifizieren. 17. Client-Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 12 bis 16, wobei das herunterladefähige Anwendungselement von der Server-Datenbank heruntergeladen wird. 18. Client-Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 12 bis 17, wobei die -Arbeitsplatzdaten in einem Anwender-Datenspeicher (160; 170, 18) enthalten sind. 19. Client-Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 12 bis utiliser (430) un navigateur (17 ; 190) pour recevoir l identification d un programme téléchargeable (14) à partir du réseau informatique, le programme téléchargeable comprenant un code d application exécutable téléchargé à partir du réseau informatique, le programme téléchargeable pouvant fonctionner dans chacun d une pluralité de modes de synchronisation ; recevoir (440) des informations désignant des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique (160 ; 170, 18) devant être synchronisées, les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique désignées étant associées au premier utilisateur ; désigner (443) un dit mode de synchronisation ; initier (44) l exécution du programme téléchargeable ; utiliser le programme téléchargeable pour commander à un gestionnaire d informations per-

11 19 EP B1 sonnelles (PIM) ( ; 16, 180) de récupérer les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser ; utiliser le programme téléchargeable pour déterminer (4) des premières données de mise à jour en fonction des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser et du mode de synchronisation désigné ; et utiliser le programme téléchargeable pour fournir les premières données de mise à jour à la base de données serveur (0) connectée au réseau informatique, le procédé comprenant, pour au moins un desdits modes de synchronisation, les étapes consistant à déterminer lesdites premières données de mise à jour sur la base d une comparaison desdites données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique (160 ; 170, 18) désignées avec des données d espace de travail correspondantes stockées au niveau de la base de données serveur (0). 2. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le mode de synchronisation est un élément parmi un remplacement unilatéral, une fusion unilatérale et une synchronisation bilatérale. 3. Procédé selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, comprenant en outre les étapes consistant à communiquer avec la base de données serveur pour apprendre le contenu de base de données serveur associé aux données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser. 4. Procédé selon la revendication 3, comprenant en outre les étapes consistant à déterminer des deuxièmes données de mise à jour en fonction de la comparaison, et commander au PIM de modifier les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique devant être synchronisées par les deuxièmes données de mise à jour.. Procédé selon l une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre l étape consistant à télécharger le programme téléchargeable à partir de la base de données serveur. 6. Procédé selon l une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique sont contenues dans un magasin de données utilisateur (160 ; 170, 18). 7. Procédé selon l une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel les informations contiennent l identification d un service de messagerie électronique, le PIM particulier correspondant au service de messagerie électronique étant connu Procédé selon l une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le programme téléchargeable comprend une interface utilisateur (30) permettant à un utilisateur de sélectionner un mode de synchronisation et de désigner une base de données (160 ; 170, 18) contenant des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser. 9. Procédé selon l une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le programme téléchargeable comprend un module de synchronisation (32) destiné à calculer les données de mise à jour.. Support de stockage exploitable par ordinateur stockant un code de programme amenant un ordinateur à exécuter les étapes de l une quelconque des revendications précédentes. 11. Code de programme incorporé dans un support permettant d amener un ordinateur à exécuter les étapes de l une quelconque des revendications 1 à Dispositif client (0) conçu pour synchroniser des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique stockées dessus, et associées à un premier utilisateur, avec des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique correspondantes stockées au niveau d une base de données serveur (0) connectée à un réseau informatique, la base de données serveur (0) comprenant une pluralité de magasins de données (80, 84) stockant chacun des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique associées à un utilisateur respectif, la pluralité de magasins de données comportant un premier magasin de données associé au premier utilisateur, le dispositif client comprenant : des moyens permettant d utiliser un navigateur (17 ; 190) pour recevoir l identification d un programme téléchargeable (14) à partir du réseau informatique (1, 1), le programme téléchargeable comprenant un code d application exécutable téléchargé à partir du réseau informatique, le programme téléchargeable pouvant fonctionner dans chacun d une pluralité de modes de synchronisation ; des moyens destinés à recevoir des informations désignant des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique (160 ; 170, 18) à synchroniser, les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique désignées étant associées au premier utilisateur ; des moyens permettant de désigner un mode de synchronisation ; des moyens destinés à initier l exécution (44) du programme téléchargeable ; des moyens destinés à commander à un ges- 11

12 21 EP B1 22 tionnaire d informations personnelles (PIM) ( ; 16, 180) de récupérer les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser ; des moyens permettant d utiliser un navigateur pour déterminer des premières données de mise à jour en fonction des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser et du mode de synchronisation désigné ; des moyens permettant d utiliser le programme téléchargeable pour fournir les premières données de mise à jour à la base de données serveur (0) connectée au réseau informatique, le dispositif client étant conçu, pour au moins un desdits modes de synchronisation, pour déterminer lesdites premières données de mise à jour sur la base d une comparaison desdites données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique (160 ; 170, 18) avec les données d espace de travail correspondantes stockées au niveau de la base de données serveur (0). 19. Dispositif client selon l une quelconque des revendications 12 à 18, dans lequel les informations contiennent l identification d un service de messagerie électronique, le PIM particulier correspondant au service de messagerie électronique étant connu.. Dispositif client selon l une quelconque des revendications 12 à 19, dans lequel les moyens destinés à stocker des données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique et le programme téléchargeable sont conçus pour stocker une pluralité de programmes téléchargeables PIM. 21. Dispositif client selon l une quelconque des revendications 12 à, dans lequel le programme téléchargeable PIM comprend une interface utilisateur (30) permettant à un utilisateur de sélectionner un mode de synchronisation et de désigner une base de données (160 ; 170, 18) contenant les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser. 13. Dispositif client selon la revendication 12, dans lequel le mode de synchronisation est un élément parmi un remplacement unilatéral, une fusion unilatérale et une synchronisation bilatérale Dispositif client selon la revendication 12 ou la revendication 13, dans lequel le programme téléchargeable comprend un module de synchronisation (32) destiné à calculer les premières données de mise à jour. 30. Dispositif client selon la revendication 14, dans lequel le module de synchronisation est conçu pour apprendre le contenu de base de données serveur correspondant aux données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique à synchroniser Dispositif client selon la revendication, dans lequel le module de synchronisation est conçu pour déterminer des deuxièmes données de mise à jour sur la base de la comparaison, et pour commander au PIM de modifier les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique devant être synchronisées par les deuxièmes données de mise à jour Dispositif client selon l une quelconque des revendications 12 à 16, dans lequel le programme téléchargeable est téléchargé à partir de la base de données serveur Dispositif client selon l une quelconque des revendications 12 à 17, dans lequel les données d espace de travail de messagerie électronique sont contenues dans un magasin de données utilisateur (160 ; 170, 18). 12

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