The Garage Series for Office 365: Extending Exchange, Outlook and OWA across platforms and devices with the new app model

Can the new mail apps save you time to automatically generate personalized and data-driven email?  This week Jeremy is joined by Jason Henderson from the Exchange engineering team to answer this question and more. They explain not only how mail apps work, but also show how to build and preview them using Visual Studio and how apps can insert data directly from a web service into the body of an email. Jason also describes how OAuth is used to provide secure and scoped access to content, tasks or calendar as well as how an app can be written once and consume within Windows, OWA for iPad/iPhone and the upcoming OWA for Android app.

Last week we talked about some of the most requested — and often thought impossible — extensibility options in SharePoint or SharePoint Online using the app model. This week we continue to show love to developers who are looking to extend the email experience across platforms in this exclusive Garage Series show filmed live at MEC in Austin.

We’ve had a few shows now talking about the app model and mostly showing how we can use apps in the Office rich client with Excel, Word or Outlook and last week we focused on SharePoint. We even used apps to navigate our way through Prague using an iPhone and a Windows tablet.  In fact, in Prague we showed a great mail app used to query Wikipedia, Bing Images and check in to each location. All of that was queried off the calendar items to provide a common relationship with web services.

This week Jason Henderson shows how to build mail apps within Visual Studio. Using Visual Studio you can log directly into your hosted mailbox to publish and preview apps to your single mailbox before handing them off to an Exchange administrator for broader publishing. The big news with this update to mail apps is that you can write compose apps to intelligently populate email based connected data services. So not only can the mail reading experiences be extended with mail apps, but importantly the authoring experiences can as well. Of course we demonstrate this on the show.

The connections between these services are secure and use claims-based token authentication, so your mail client or device does not need to store credentials. This is important especially given that we can now consume mail apps and the new compose apps from both traditionally-managed as well as mobile devices — such as an iPhone or iPad running OWA for Devices or soon an Android phone running OWA for Android. With the mail app model, you just need to publish apps to the Exchange service and they can be consumed just about anywhere — in the Outlook rich client, Outlook Online across all supported browsers and platforms and the OWA for Devices apps. This is both powerful for developers and can be a powerful time saver for mail users. And to see everything in action and maybe get a few ideas to write your own mail apps, you’ll want to check out the show.

Next week, we’ll catch up with longtime engineer and former Garage Series guest from the Exchange ActiveSync team, Greg Baribault.

See you then,

Jeremy Chapman

More resources

What’s new for mail apps in Office 2013 SP1?

Garage Series Video Channel

Garage Series Season 1 Blog Archive

Follow @OfficeGarage on Twitter

Office 365 Garage Series Apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8


About the Garage Series hosts

By day, Jeremy Chapman works at Microsoft, responsible for optimizing the future of Office client and service delivery as the senior deployment lead. Jeremy’s background in application compatibility, building deployment automation tools and infrastructure reference architectures has been fundamental to the prioritization of new Office enterprise features such as the latest Click-to-Run install. By night, he is a car modding fanatic and serial linguist. Jason Henderson is a Principal Group Program Manager on the Exchange team and has worked with OWA and Exchange Web Services on the Exchange engineering team for more than a decade. He is from the state of Washington with degrees in Physics and Computer Science.