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Developers To Get Easier Access to Outlook Data

Microsoft this week announced it will be releasing documentation to let developers easily access and use Microsoft Outlook data such as email messages, calendar entries and contact information stored in .pst files.

Developers can now only access this data -- via Messaging API (MAPI) and the Outlook Object Model -- if Outlook is on the desktop, said Paul Lorimer, group manager, Microsoft Office Interoperability, in an MSDN blog posting.

That restriction will be lifted, and Lorimer said the documentation will let developers access the data–which is stored in Outlook Personal Folders–using their choice of programming languages and platforms.

In addition to information on how to access the data from other applications, Lorimer said the documentation "will highlight the structure of the .pst file, provide details like how to navigate the folder hierarchy, and explain how to access the individual data objects and properties."

The increased portability of Outlook data will help organizations moving to a cloud-based architecture, said analyst Sheri McLeish at Forrester Research.

Other benefits will include easier storage and aggregation of the data, for organizations that need to satisfy legal discovery requirements or run analytics such as data mining against the data, she said.

"It eases the effort to cull data from these .pst files, which historically have been difficult to access and move," McLeish said.

"So it’s good news for IT," she said.

Lorimer said in his blog that the documentation "is still in its early stages." When pressed by many readers for a release date, he said the .pst information is planned for release in the first half of next year.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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