New MAPI Thread
Question asked by Tim Uzzanti - April 16 at 3:10 AM
Unanswered
Employee Post
All,

I had to delete the previous MAPI thread due to Anne Campbell.  The thread had a couple instances where customers thought it would be a good idea to complain about unrelated issues or attack the company.  Anne Campbell did this because it was a popular thread and thought they could get more attention on other concerns.  Unfortunately, this just destroys the thread and we lose important information.

Although this is a community for customers to interact with each other and help each other solve problems,  we often participate which encourages customers to post complaints.

I will post a quick summary of the previous MAPI thread and where we are at very shortly.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com

21 Replies

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1
Richard Frank Replied
well... hope just you get Mapi integrated asap
I was thinking .. why is this now a thing for me.
Well, I have customers who had MS SBS until very recently. to have Exchange on premiss was too expensive. Mostly for companies with less than 10 employers.
So I offered them accounts on Smartermail but it lacks functionality they were used to (not working in the web interface)
So they are using IMAP now, but when multiple people are working in the same mailbox they encounter some issues. So I said promised them MAPI will be available soon and that made them willing to wait.
I do have a customer saying, it has to be fixed soon or I am gone. They are not willing to wait much longer.
And that is why, at least for me, it's becoming an issue now.
EXCHANGE is gone for them, IMAP doesn't suffice, so now we really need/want mapi integration.
So I hope you understand it's not my impatience but that of my customers.

7
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
As many of you know, we had targeted April release which was difficult for me to do because much what we are doing is based on the speed in which Microsoft works with us.
 
As it is, we have been working with a variety of teams at Microsoft which include the Interop, Outlook and Exchange Teams.  We are communicating with these teams everyday and sometimes multiple times per day!
 
MAPI is an extremely complicated protocol and there are only a handful of people at Microsoft familiar with it. Because we are essentially the only company to implement native MAPI in a mail server, other than Exchange, this has been a unique experience for Microsoft.
 
Throughout this process we have found Microsoft documentation to be wrong which has required Microsoft developers from each of these teams to get involved.  We have also found significant amounts of protocol information missing which has required us to reverse engineer the protocol by monitoring and reviewing network traffic, packet by packet, when connecting to Exchange.  We have also found problems with their unit testing.  Everything we find we provide to Microsoft and they update for future reference.
 
In the previous thread I also mentioned we were having recurring Outlook crashes.  Only Microsoft can diagnose why Outlook crashes using their internal tools and we need to wait for them to do these tasks which has caused significant delays.  Often these issues are because we followed the protocol documentation and it wasn't accurate.
 
As you can see, I'm putting a bit of the blame on Microsoft but rightfully so.  The speed of this project is completely based on our interactions with Microsoft.
 
I'm not trying to throw Microsoft under the bus because 95% of the documentation is accurate and the Unit tests they provide to help in the development process are a life saver.  But, 5% of the documentation being incorrect or not complete makes things incredibly difficult because its a back and forth game with Microsoft to figure out what is wrong.
 
While we continue to work through these issues, we are implementing even more advanced functionality that MAPI supports, which requires backend changes.
 
For example, MAPI has the ability to dynamically create properties on ANY object (Contact, Tasks, Notes, Email etc.).  These properties can be absolutely anything and one of the properties can be an attachment.  MAPI allows 2GB attachments on ANYTHING!  SmarterMail did not have this functionality before because it wasn't necessary for any of the protocols we have supported.  So, we are implementing this which will be new files at the folder level and will be similar to grp files.
 
As I mentioned in the previous thread, if some of the issues we were working with Microsoft on were easily solved, we could have made April still.  Unfortunately, Microsoft has been struggling to diagnose certain scenarios.
 
But instead of just sitting around while we go back and forth with Microsoft, we're implementing more and more of the protocol for initial release.
 
We know how much customers want MAPI!
 
So imagine how much we want MAPI.  We will be the only mail server other than Exchange to offer native MAPI.  We have huge companies looking to move from other Mail Servers just waiting for our MAPI implementation.
 
In the previous thread there were also conversions about Outlook versions and a debate about supporting Outlook 2007.  As many of you mentioned to the person who posted, Outlook 2007 will be going EOL soon.  From our experience, there are a number of differences with Outlook 2007 compared to 2013 and above.  Based on the EOL and based on the number of differences and overall objective of supporting the latest variations of the MAPI protocol… we will not be supporting Outlook 2007.
 
Based on the progress with Microsoft over the last 20 days we are a month or two away from getting MAPI out the door.  Previously I had said there would be no BETA, but we will now be doing a BETA for select customers.  If you are interested in the BETA, please email sales@smartertools.com so we can put you on the list.
 
The reason for the BETA is because we are now implementing new files to manage data for MAPI.  Prior, we were able to utilize most of the new backend we implemented in the latest versions of SmarterMail but now there will be significant data being written in new files that does need to sync with other files, etc.  It's gotten a little more complicated from a backend standpoint.
 
And as mentioned in the previous posts, most of what MAPI has to offer will be implemented.  The experience will be very similar to Microfsoft Exchange.  This isn’t some small subset of features but a thorough implementation.
 
Hopefully I hit most of what was in that other thread.
 
I’m hoping we can control this thread moving forward so we don’t lose important information.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
3
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Richard,

I'm assuming you have an EAS license for customers to use on mobile devices?  I would encourage your customers to use EAS with Outlook for Windows until MAPI is complete.  This gives them about 75% of the MAPI experience.  

Something I neglected to include in my recent post which was discussed in the other MAPI thread is how a few people at Microsoft helped us work around some bugs in the Microsoft Outlook for Windows EAS implementation.  As we mentioned before, Microsoft has discontinued fixes for EAS in Outlook and wants everyone to use MAPI moving forward.

The people we worked with at Microsoft were sympathetic to the discontinuation of the protocol support in Outlook and the difficulties we were facing implementing MAPI.  Their help was very much appreciated and it has made for a nice experience using Microsoft Outlook via EAS.

Also, EWS is the protocol Microsoft has chosen to support with Outlook for Mac.  EWS is how Outlook for Mac connects to Exchange so the experience is nearly identical with SmarterMail as would be with Exchange.  I would add this add-on if you don't already have it.


Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
2
Shaun Peet Replied
To help with our future planning, has there been any updates to how MAPI will be licensed as an add-on (per mailbox vs per server) and roughly how much it will cost?
2
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Shaun, 

It will be priced similar to EWS which is by sever not mailbox.

EAS is by mailbox because that is how Microsoft requires it.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
Shaun Peet Replied
Thanks for confirming Tim.  I'll send a note to your sales people letting them know that we'd be interested in helping with the BETA if they need a medium-sized environment to play around with.
0
echoDreamz Replied
We requested as well.

Christopher

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Michael Breines Replied
So June seems to be the new target production release it seems?
5
Andrea Rogers Replied
Employee Post
I went ahead and deleted Chuck's reply, as his suggested release dates were NOT accurate nor did they come from our team. Updates regarding MAPI's release will be provided by SmarterTools employees, denoted by the blue 'Employee Post' tag. While I don't have a target release date to provide at this time, we are gathering a list of those who would like to participate in the BETA when the time comes. Please message our sales team (sales@smartertools. com) if you would like to be included in that testing. 

Thank you,

Andrea Rogers
Communications Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
877-357-6278

www.smartertools.com

0
Richard Frank Replied
@Tim,
Thanks for the tip to use EAS now it's improved. 
changed the accounts from imap to EAS now and even with these big boxes (8GB each) it seems to work fairly good.
Regards,
Richard
15
Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post

All, 

We are excited to announce that we have overcome most of the roadblocks related to MAPI and can now provide more information on release and BETA timelines.    

We have very few issues that are waiting on replies from Microsoft, and most of those are minor. As I've mentioned, working with Microsoft on issues can be pretty time consuming. As such, it was hard for us to give time frames because sometimes Microsoft is quick with replies, and the subsequent resolutions are also quick, but sometimes it can take weeks to get things resolved. 

Besides the things we were working with Microsoft on, a major roadblock was Dynamic Properties which could be associated to absolutely ANY object (Contacts, Tasks, Notes, Emails, etc.) Because Exchange uses a database back-end, it was easy for Microsoft to implement these properties. However, using a database is also why Exchange is bloated and requires 10x the hardware, infrastructure and software to accomplish what SmarterMail does. 

Over the last month, we have been working on building methods to handle these Dynamic Properties that take very little disk i/o and optimize disk space.  We have completed these tasks and what we’ve implemented for MAPI is working well. 

What we are primarily focusing on now and until the BETA release is incorporating all the changes we have made for MAPI into the other protocols. Anything done in MAPI needs to propagate to EAS, IMAP, DAVs, etc. as cleanly as possible. 

So, essentially, MAPI is done and were very close to incorporating tens of thousands of lines of code in into our main development branches which means were very close to running it in production and outside of our test environments.  This means we will be moving from our simulated load testing environments to production and real world environments. 

We're expecting the BETA to go out at the end of June to the customers that have requested it via sales. Based on the feedback we get during the BETA, we’ll have an announcement on the full, public release of MAPI.  

With MAPI integrated, it should solidify SmarterMail as the only cost-effective solution for ISP’s, hosting companies, service providers and, really, businesses across ANY industry, that provides enterprise-level functionality to users at a fraction of the cost of Microsoft Exchange. 

We appreciate our customers patience, MAPI was a long and complicated project and it’s no wonder why Microsoft Exchange was the only product to have native MAPI support.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Jason Weamer Replied
Hooray!  
0
Neal Culiner Replied
Can you educate us on how MAPI will work from a client standpoint. What clients use it, how will it be selected from a client or mobile app? Does it offer push services? What operating systems and clients support it?
3
echoDreamz Replied
This is not official, but their blog announcement previously stated it would work with Outlook 2013 and higher. I've never seen any mobile apps that support MAPI, if you have mobile, you want EAS. I'd assume the OS requirements would be the same as the base Outlook version being installed. No other clients besides Outlook support MAPI.

Christopher

0
Neal Culiner Replied
The interesting thing is Outlook is so bloated, doesn't render HTML email that well that it's not a client I typically use now, well, I don't use it! I use Mac Mail on the Mac which has the best email rendering of anything I've used and I use Windows 10 mail in Windows. Also not the best renderer but it's a good email client without the overhead of Outlook. Then mobile in which yes I use EAS. 

I guess I'll discontinue EWS licensing, I suggest it's just included in MAPI, it's dead. 
0
echoDreamz Replied
I've not had many issues with Outlook misrendering HTML emails, a few here and there, but it is getting better. They really need to strip out the Word HTML engine and replace it with their new Edge+Chromium engine.

I'd assume other email clients could implement MAPI, but it seems Exchange Web Services is where clients like eM Client and Apple Mail went, for what seems like obvious reasons. MAPI has no documentation and requires massive amounts of work between teams to get working.

Previous versions of MAPI were also based on/around the RPC protocol, which weeds out macOS and other operating systems, which I assume is another reason MAPI has been restricted to just Outlook on Windows.

We have pretty good usage of EWS with eM Client and Apple Mail users, so it wont be going anywhere for us.

Christopher

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Neal Culiner Replied
Either Apple or SmarterTools has done something to make EWS broken in macOS Mac Mail. A shame, it used to work great.

The email rendering in Mac Mail is night and day from Outlook. It should all be the same if they render as the sender intended but that's not the case sadly. Hopefully this will improve over time but Mac Mail nails it.
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echoDreamz Replied
What issues are you experiencing with the macOS Mail app?

Christopher

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Neal Culiner Replied
It doesn't sync or update. I tried it again recently and mail stopped coming in, did so on multiple systems. Can't trust SM 17 on EWS with Mac sadly. 
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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post
Neal, I would contact support because MacOS with EWS is by far the most popular combination for EWS and is what I use for a half dozen high volume accounts.  When there is a problem with the protocol, I usually find it.

I also use Outlook for MAC which uses EWS but I use it much less frequently.

I have Parallels setup and use Outlook for Windows via EAS.

These our my primarily clients.  I also test a wide variety of other clients for days as well in an effort to find problems.
Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
echoDreamz Replied
Yeah, I use it locally as well as numerous team members and I know of at least 2 dozen clients that use Apple Mail with EWS without issues.

The last issue we had was with folders randomly disappearing, this was fixed in the 7053 release and EWS has been stable since.

Christopher

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