The recent provision of 101 Exchange Web Services (EWS) code samples in one package is very welcome. The samples cover pretty well all of the basic operations that you’d want to perform against an Exchange server, including the creation and sending of email, searching through folders, and so on. They serve as a nice complement to the efforts of MVP Glen Scales, who has long ploughed a lonely furrow in terms of providing accessible and easy to understand examples of how to use EWS in his blog.
The samples work against Exchange 2007 (SP1 onwards), Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013, and Exchange Online (Office 365) as long as you've installed the Exchange Web Services API. You’ll also want to install the EWSEditor utility to understand what goes on when EWS accesses Exchange mailboxes.
The reason why EWS is so important is that it is now the go-to API for developers who need to access information held in Exchange. Of course, you could use MAPI, but only if you really insist. Despite the work of Stephen Griffin on the MFCMAPI utility and in general to evangelize MAPI, in practice, MAPI has now become the sole prerogative of Microsoft developers.
EWS is also the basis for Outlook 2011 for Mac, a product that’s frustrating to use if you are accustomed to the features and functionality of any PC version of Outlook. Even with the inadequacies of Outlook for Mac shine through brightly, the fact remains that EWS provides programmers with the ability to create highly functional Exchange clients and by inference, to be able to access pretty well any data that they should need to manipulate to integrate a product with Exchange.
Spreading knowledge is always a good thing and that’s why I very much like Microsoft’s initiative of making the 101 EWS code examples available. I hope you like them too!
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