Sync Outlook Email Categories to server with MAPI
Idea shared by Jerry Bucci - 7/9/2020 at 1:08 PM
Under Consideration
I propose adding the Syncing of Outlook Email Categories to the server (via MAPI) just as Exchange supports.

Currently you can set an email's category on a local machine, but it doesn't sync to another machine for the same account. If you remove the account from the local machine and re-add it, all of the previously set categories are gone.

I've been told by SmarterTools Tech Support that currently MAPI will sync category information on all BUT email items at this time.

These are the Categories I am referring to...


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any news?
Are you sure this isn't working? I never tested it, but many clients here are using categories in Exchange and this will prevent the use of SmarterMail 

This is a Blocking BUG
Gabriele Maoret - Head of SysAdmins at SERSIS
Currently manages 6 SmarterMail installations (1 in the cloud for SERSIS which provides services to a few hundred third-party email domains + 5 on-premise for customers who prefer to have their mail server in-house)
Tested now and this is not working!!!!

Worst case: we lost the category if already present in a mail object!

I beg smarter tools to fix this soon, many customers use category in Exchange and we cannot ask them to stop using it because SmarterMail doesn't support it!!!!
Gabriele Maoret - Head of SysAdmins at SERSIS
Currently manages 6 SmarterMail installations (1 in the cloud for SERSIS which provides services to a few hundred third-party email domains + 5 on-premise for customers who prefer to have their mail server in-house)
Even the FLAG state is not working like it is in Exchange...

This is so sad...

We cannot migrate our users to SamrterTools and the list of MAPI blocking feature that don't work till now is raising...
Gabriele Maoret - Head of SysAdmins at SERSIS
Currently manages 6 SmarterMail installations (1 in the cloud for SERSIS which provides services to a few hundred third-party email domains + 5 on-premise for customers who prefer to have their mail server in-house)
I don't intend this to come across as criticism.  It is a suggestion based on many thousands if dollars in lost revenue resulting from assumptions and reading too much into a published spec rather than treading the path of investigation and comparison one would go down before changing accounting, CAD or other workflow critical software from one serious contender to another.

Simply using MAPI, even though a hugh acheivement in and of iself, does not make SM a no-brainer Exchange alternative any more than using a combustion type engine will allow an SR72 or X43  to acheive orbit.  They will fly at great heights but if, after considering everything, you really need orbit, you might need to rule out those platforms or wait for a bit to see how they evolve.

A look-before-you-leap (Use Case Analysisis) is essential to lessen the risk of losing the customer or abandoning high value data (considerable time invested and/or workflow critical) as a consequence of the migration.  You should also consider mining support threads and community posts like this one for comments on functionality determined to be essential.

Any other approach may make it a bumpy ride for your passengers or, worst case and without some advanced planning, put you into an irrecoverable tail spin if you have missed something critical.
MAPI over HTTP - Let's flesh it out for Outlook with a full set of Exchange like features!
Proto, any time there is a major one-time captial investment or expenditure of time there is risk.  You look, look again, look again again and eventually leap but a certain point you just need to trust the company you are conducting business with.   Risk can only be mitigated so much.

I can't speak to the specific situation or importance of the function referred to in this thread but I know my users are having emails randomly 'disappear' in MAPI > Outlook 2016.  I thoroughly tested SM with Outlook for months before purchasing SM but one would never know that some emails would 'disappear' out of Outlook unless the product was tested at scale.  And even then it's extremely hard to catch.  Essentially emails remain in the database and can be found on the Web Browser but are gone from Outlook.

Everyone understands there will be bugs and issues in software BUT if the product is advertised as compatible with MAPI and Outlook then MAPI and Outlook need to be supported.  When bugs are found they should be addressed and resolved in a timely manner.

Now I argue that SM should fix my particular error ASAP above other Outlook problems as it makes users question the veracity of the database of emails.  I've given volumes of information to SM since November in an effort to get them to fix the problem but it still remains.  In addition I know others are encountering this same issue.

I really like the idea of getting away from Microsoft and Google et al.  Which is why I jumped to SM.  Regardless, the product needs to work as advertised or provide an alternative to Outlook.  Given your signature you are a proponent of having Outlook-like functionaltiy on the Web Browser interface.  I'm all for that but the SM interface isn't even close yet.  At a certain point I need to decide that if this problem isn't fixed to move back to exchange or google.  I'm not sure what that point is but the timeline isn't forever.
I don't disagree with anything you posted above.  I should clarify that while I think a killer web interface would be a real success story for SmarterTools that isn't what my signature was about.  I have been a proponent of ST looking into MAPI for many years. We've offered SM alongside Exchange servers for well over a decade and, before it, iMAIL.   We didn't get MAPI in 15, I had hopes we'd see it in 16 but, as I understand it, implementation was a daunting task. 

Outlook support is essential for us.  I understand this is true for many others who post here.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say that if Outlook continues to be a factor in the business grade email market and ST don't achieve something closer to par with Exchange it will turn out to have been a very bad expenditure of capital and other resources for ST.  That opens some real cans of worms plural.  Will Outlook even be available outside 365 in the future and, if only in 365, will it work with 3rd party Exchange-like servers.  There are certainly lots of challenges now that seem, coincidentally or by design, to be somewhat resolved by using a retail or volume license version rather than the 365 version. If 365, and if it is still necessary to implement some of the registry patches discussed here and elsewhere, that will be problematic.

I have also seen the problems you list when using Outlook as well as a number of others and have spent many, many hours tracking them down, at times ruling SM out completely as the problem but not so at other times.  In the interest of trying to keep this a bit shorter, I'd be happy to share some of the things we've discovered with you out of band.  One tip I could share with you though if you haven't tried it (and without exonerating SM as the root cause in some way because I simply don't know) I cannot think of a time recently when I have seen the email still in place on the server but not displayed in Outlook that I haven't found it stored in Outlook but not visible.  This is especially so if the Outlook folder structure deviates from Microsoft's recommendations which, among other things, seem to be that the Inbox should be kept small and that more complex folder structures be created peer to it rather than within (below) it.  In this case, if you haven't tried it, even just the included Microsoft Inbox repair tool may be your friend.  I don't often run it without finding at least some corruption in the file and once that has been resolved and the contents re-indexed things often appear on Outlook that were not visible before the repair.

I am not knocking your observation here just sharing something I have seen frequently enough that it may be helpful.  On another occasion recently we could see that email was being successfully delivered into the Inbox but subsequently disappearing even on the server.  In that case, and we didn't sort out why it happens, we were able to conclusively prove that it was being deleted by Outlook as a hard delete (no copy in the deleted items folder).  Neither a repair or reload of Outlook resolved the problem; however, another one of the many updates that seem to being pushed did.

My great hope is that if we can all keep this constructive, ST will remain committed to evolving SM to a system that is truly on par with Exchange functionality.  I am not sure how much longer our client base will indulge the wait so, like you, I may reluctantly need to abandon it.  The new licensing Microsoft came up with for SM MAPI makes it difficult to tread water with a smaller client base to try to build it back up again once complete, especially because the Apple guys have been orphaned in such a scenario (we don't have many but few large accounts are without at least one or two).

I think other posts here asking for a frank comparison of the significant features and pitfalls (like losing attributes as part of migration, yikes!) will be critical to having ST installed where it can succeed rather than being shot-gunned in as an alternative before it is ready and being cast back out as a result of the small number of critical users affecting the purchasing decision in an organization loosing functionality they depended on.  Some of the rest of it is bugs like all commercial software has and I think ST have shown a real commitment to resolving them.  Whether we could catch them before a release was pushed and what processes would be required to do that are a different discussion and I am not as critical as some in that regard although clearly there has been room for improvement.

To reign back in specifically, I agree, even if it were only categories that were not functionally identical to Exchange, I think it would  be a big issue for at least some users in most organizations and all it takes is one with significant influence over the purchasing decision to cast what is an excellent system in many other ways out the door.  You only get one chance at a first impression and for SM there won't be a second.  First priority - bugs of course.  Second priority - prioritization of missing features and a road map.
MAPI over HTTP - Let's flesh it out for Outlook with a full set of Exchange like features!
Hi Proto---
I agree that we shouldn't he hijacking this thread.  I re-posted the MAPI problem in more detail @ https://portal.smartertools.com/community/a93939/mapi-outlook-2016-emails-continue-to-occasionally-disappear.aspx

It would great if you posted any ideas you might have to fix the 'disappearing' emails.  It would help me and anyone else experiencing the problem.

any chanse with category implementation?
Zach Sylvester Replied
Employee Post

We have recently had a feature request for colored flags. This would fall into the category of this. This was added to the backlog and we are looking into the possibility of implementing this feature. 

Best Regards,

Zach Sylvester

System/Network Administrator
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278

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