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  • Hello Exchange developers,

    We are in the process of defining what a future version of Exchange could look like, and in the programmability space we are investigating what we call "OWA extensibility". If you have a few moments to spare, we would love for you to answer the below questions to help us understand your needs. Thanks in advance!

    OWA customization

    • Do you know that OWA already supports limited extensibility?
    • Have you used custom OWA forms? How was your experience? What can we do to make this experience better?
    • Have you added customized menu entries to OWA? How was your experience? What can we do to make this experience better?
    • If you could further add to the OWA UI via plug-ins, what kind of hooks would you need (for example, add a custom pane at the bottom of the mail form)?

    Embedding OWA (e.g. incorporating parts of OWA into your own applications)

    • Do you know that OWA already supports limited embedding via OWA Web Parts?
    • Have you ever tried to embed OWA in your own applications? How was the experience? How can we make this experience better?
    • If various elements of the OWA user interface were available as components (e.g. the calendar view, the compose mail form, etc.) that you can use in your own applications, which of those components would be most valuable to you?
    • What kind of application do you develop most (e.g. desktop, server, web apps)?
    • What is your technology of choice for the kind of application you develop?

    OWA theming

     

    • Have you ever wished you had more control over OWA's appearance? If so, what kind of control would you like to have?

     

    Exchange APIs

    • What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?
    • Have you ever used EWS in conjunction with OWA custom forms? How was the experience? How can we make it better?
    • Have you ever embedded PowerShell in your own app (to automated mailbox provisioning for instance)? How was the experience, and how can we make it better?


    David Claux | Program Manager - Exchange Web Services
    Tuesday, June 8, 2010 4:10 PM

All replies

    • Do you know that OWA already supports limited extensibility?
    • Have you used custom OWA forms? How was your experience? What can we do to make this experience better?
    • Have you added customized menu entries to OWA? How was your experience? What can we do to make this experience better?
    • If you could further add to the OWA UI via plug-ins, what kind of hooks would you need (for example, add a custom pane at the bottom of the mail form)?

    We do some customization through UIExtension.xml and registry.xml.

    • The UIExtension.xml misses the RequireFeatures attribute to add navigation buttons and New menu item entries based on available user features.
    • I would love to add custom feature names to the segmentation list, so that our extensions can be enabled/disabled per server, per mailbox or mailbox policy basd on the state of those custom features
    • Some sort of post and preprocessing of items based on their message class. Either something generic which allows access to the generated HTML output or something more specific like different callbacks to add actions, toolbar buttons or generic panels like Outlooks form regions. Part of this might be done through the xml files as well, like the RightClickMenuExtensions you could add something similar for the actions menu or toolbar buttons (reply, forward, etc. which are mostly just actions shown more prominently for some items). Going the XML way would help to keep the look and feel of OWA as we tell what objects we need and your OWA engine does the rendering. But again these customizations should be controllable by segmentation, e.g. with a RequireFeatures attribute
    • Another good customization area would be the alert bar (div element with id divAlertBar): add custom top level buttons and add custom entries to the Options drop down menu
    • Same for the options dialog: allow additional settings pages to allow configuring our extension options
    • It would be nice to get some "Settings API" to be used e.g. from our custom form pages to transparently store and retrieve per user settings. Reading and writing global settings would be nice, too, which would require some permission management so that those global settings can only be changed by authorized users
    • Sometimes a segmentation feature state (enabled or disabled) might not be enough to decide if a UI element (context menu, action, toolbar) should be visible, so having code callbacks would be nice. Either as callbacks on the server or by registering custom JavaScript files to be added to the head section and specifing event handlers and a visibility state for customizations in the xml files. Then you could render our custom navigation bar or menu entries and so on as hidden html elements and call our JavaScript event handlers which gives us the possibility to decide at runtime what to do with those custom elements
    • Do you know that OWA already supports limited embedding via OWA Web Parts?

    Yes, but never used it

    • Have you ever wished you had more control over OWA's appearance? If so, what kind of control would you like to have?

    Pretty happy with OWA's appearance. For me extension points like mentioned above are much more important.

    • What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?
    • Have you ever used EWS in conjunction with OWA custom forms? How was the experience? How can we make it better?

    Please try to minimze the number of calls necessary to get things done. My favorite anti-example is the need to use a call to convert IDs from owa to ews format before I can do a call to retrieve item properties. Why didn't you design a GetItem method where I could specify which type of ID I pass in?

    At a more general point: I would really prefer to get access to an inproc object model when extending OWA with custom forms. It just feels wrong to have all this out of process communication with lots of xml (de)serialization. Or can you explain why your own implementation of the built in forms does not use EWS but rather some custom RPC library which reminds me of ExMAPI ;-)

    Fell free to contact me, if you need more details: sven<dot>carstensen<at>gftinboxx<dot>com

    Saturday, June 12, 2010 11:21 AM
  • > What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?

    Parity with MAPI which is important to migrate existing applications.

    2 things that cause a lot of grief are not being able to get full access to the recipients collection of a message this is used in a number of ways by Exchange and Outlook/OWA and not being able to access and manipulate these properties is migration blocker for converting application to using EWS. Also extended properties on Attachment i know you added the contact picture properties in 2010 but why stop there give us full access to these properties.

    Also while this is not much or problem onpremise for hosted and cloud/shared installations better directory access operations would be great eg you should provide some operations to be able create an application that can render the global address list and basic address list functions currently resolvename doesn't cut it.

    Things you could add to the EWS Managed API to make it better (more of a wish list)

    Support for standard formats for importing and exporting eg ical, vcard, hcards,

    Support for msg files for import and export (hey you just released documentation for the PST provider why not wack one of these in there that would so cool being able to import and export from a PST would give you great options during migrations to and from on premise and cloud systems , PST's are still a massive challenge in most organization especially those that are small and maybe considering BPOS etc).

    Cheers
    Glen

     

    Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:03 AM
  • Have you ever wished you had more control over OWA's appearance? If so, what kind of control would you like to have?

    I liked how OWA2003 came with a series of aesthetic colour schemes, and I was disappointed at how OWA2007 removed all of them and instead replaced them with gimmicky a Xbox theme. I haven't tried OWA2010 yet, but making ungarish themes isn't that hard. I'm not looking for the ability to customize OWA's appearance myself, I'd just like to see better OOB themes.

    Have you ever embedded PowerShell in your own app (to automated mailbox provisioning for instance)? How was the experience, and how can we make it better?

    I've started working on something, but I'm still at the "read up on documentation" stage. My project started off against Exchange 2003 where you simply had to use the well-documented CDOEX API that was well-known in the community (which was also fast and worked from within COM scenarios like Active Scripting).

    I'm learning more about PowerShell, though I'm not sure about how Exchange Management Console 2007 worked and how I could implement some of its features myself. The console runs on remote computers to the Exchange server, yet Exchange PowerShell 2007 could only be run directly on the server itself. I haven't been able to find anything that adequately explains this (or how EMC works remotely but why I must run my own cmdlets locally).

    I know it's unfashionable, but I'd like to see the return of some kind of COM-based API for provisioning, Active Scripting is far from dead and the user-experience with AS tends to be better than with PowerShell (insofar as UI/UX latency is concerned). It takes a 2007 PowerShell at least 3 to 5 seconds to do a task that a VBS against Exchange 2003 in half a second (e.g. create a mailbox). Other tasks like mailbox enumeration and getting details on objects are unbearably slow. Is this a by-product of relying more and more on the CLR?

    Sunday, June 20, 2010 2:52 AM
  • Exchange APIs

    • What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?

    Subscription API (both Push and Pull): Extend the subscription API so that we can get the item details in the notification. Currently, once you have received a notification, you have to call the server back for details of the changed items. This results in a very chatty communication model. 

    Friday, June 25, 2010 5:54 PM
  • ---> What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?

    - A format to store messages, *.msg ist not supported (and not good enough to hold messages with many attachments or recipients), perhaps something like the open document format (XML/ZIP)!

    - Possibity to get really ALL properties (even the custom named properties) of a message with an EWS call

    ---> OWA customization

    - Form regions as with VSTO in Outlook

    Best Regards

    Thorsten

    Monday, July 26, 2010 11:42 AM
  • Exchange APIs

    • What's missing from EWS and the EWS Managed API?

     

    Hi, I am missing some way how to retrieve objects via EWS in buffer to reduce huge memory requirements. If you want to retrieve MimeContent for example of 100MB message (with attachment) you are getting into troubles with LOH and GC very quickly. There should be some way how to retrieve direct stream to the object.

    Monday, August 16, 2010 5:26 PM
  • I went to College, and got a 4.0 in Electronics, studied Assembly Language, writing compilers, and Windows as an operating system as well as Visual Basic, Quick Basic, C, C++, and C#.

    .NET is enough.  SQL does enough and is almost unusable in scientific or partwise listings.  It doesn't allow you to preform enough equations where you don't see them or need to.  It's strictly based upon appearances as accountants would have it.  Primarily, it looks like Quickbooks, and they are the ones in control of SQL.

    There's too much junk running when it doesn't need to be, and people are buying into it.  Even Microsoft is spying on their own software, providing automatic updates and the likes.  But, that amounts to allot of processor time going into instructions that are mostly loaded and ignored.  My memory is filled with garbage.  At this point the only difference a faster CPU has made is all associated to being spied upon by more people faster than ever before, and my applications run just as fast/slowly as they did 10 years ago.  HP it watching me.  Adobe, is watching me.  Quickbooks is watching me.  Microsoft is watching me.  Irfranview is checking for updates.  F-Secure, they're watching me too, and that's my anti-virus and anti-spyware software.  Every time somebody askes me if I want to help them provide better software and services, can I look over your shoulder, my computer runs slower.  Sun Oracle, they're worse.  I install Java on User's profile and it duplicates itself for every user like a virus trying to take hard drive adding sandboxes for every user.  I've seen that update once for each user.

    We got to go or get back to basics.  Improve the securities around .NET, and stick with it and adding to headers based upon newer file formats.  If you add so much that it becomes specific to a given type of software dedicated to a specific purpose, then give it a new name and extension.  But, quit allowing for what was once focused on User Friendliness, meant for anyone even the novice, and put asside the details of loading software to allow for other experts to maintian their computers.  Let the Engineers live without the Network Administrators, make it that easy to run a network securely.  When it comes to the software that they need make it that effective and easy to install as well as use.  If you need something as thick or thicker than Tom Sawyer or the Bible to use the software, it is not user friendly.

    Saturday, August 28, 2010 3:50 AM
  • Would be nice to have a method of grabbing a list of active mailboxes and/or users with mailboxes on a server.

     

    Wayne


    Wayne TAYLOR
    Sunday, October 24, 2010 9:45 PM