Important Aspects Of Mail Apps For MS Outlook 2013

Although Outlook Express 2013 already promises to provide a next level experience, yet would not it feel good if you provide your users extra? When it comes to betterment, additions are always entertained. This is great news for you that you can create mail apps for Outlook application and make your users enjoy. You can provide a better experience to users with mail app, as it is able to interact with the Exchange Server. Let us understand in detail what is mail app for Outlook.

When you create a mail app, you make a web page that is housed in Outlook that activates corresponding to the item that you select; it simply leads to enhanced Outlook functionality. In order to use mail app, you just need to install it once for a mailbox and it will start working. In Outlook, mail apps work with emails, appointments, meetings, responses, or cancellations. Note that a mail app defines a context to activate.

Therefore, now you want to create mail apps for Outlook 2013 for your users. You can create mail app either by using any text editor or by using visual studio. Below is how you can create a mail app using Visual Studio, continue reading.

While creating a mail app using Visual Studio, you first need to select a template and some options in a wizard. Visual Studio works instantly to create everything that is required to run the app; you just have to add the content that you see in the app. Before getting started, you need to create a project ‘Apps for Office’ in Visual Studio that can be done as follows:

  1. Open Visual Studio
  2. Go to the menu, click ‘File’, click ‘New’, and then click ‘Project’.
  3. A ‘New Project’ dialog box will open in the templates section; look for the language that you want to use, and then expand ‘Office SharePoint’.
  4.  Choose ‘Apps for Office’ in the list that shows project types for Apps.
  5. Enter a name that you want to give to the project in the ‘Name’ box. This name will be used as solution name by default.
  6. Enter the location where you want to place the project in the ‘Location’ box, and then click ‘OK’.
  7. In the appeared dialog box ‘Create app for Office’, select ‘Mail app in’, and then consider any of the following:
    • Check the ‘Email Message’ checkbox in order to allow the mail app to work with meeting requests, email messages, cancellations, and responses.
    • Check ‘Appointment’ checkbox to allow the mail app to work with appointments.
  8. Click on ‘Finish’.

You are done with the process.

However, note that you need the following when you choose to use visual studio:

  • Apps for Office project templates
  • Exchange Server 2013
  • Visual Studio 2012

If you use a text editor, you need to get access to the following:

  • An Exchange 2013 server
  • A web browser that supports HTML5 documents
  • A manifest file directory that can be accessed from the system where the browser is running
  • A web server that an Exchange Server can approach and is configured to send/receive HTTPS.

Moreover, you can also modify the settings of your mail app. Modifying the settings is all about implementing the way your mail app is activated when a user installs and deploys it on his computer. If you want to define values for common settings (such as when a user activates the app, which page will appear etc), you need to use a property page-like editor. To define values for advanced settings, you need to edit project’s XML manifest file.

It is not enough, you can also develop the contents of the mail app you have created. Once you have implemented settings and when the settings are published, the Web application shows content that is visible in the mail app. The Web application project consists of a JavaScript file and an html page that can be used to initiate the process. There is also a JavaScript file for all pages, which is added to the project. The JavaScript files have references to JavaScript libraries as well as to JavaScript API for apps.

Now that you are briefed about mail app for Outlook and how to create it, below section will let you know what you can do with Outlook mail apps and EWS (Exchange Web Service). Do the following to work the app you have created with EWS:

  1. Create a mail app for Outlook. (you have already done)
  2. Add JavaScript code for the mail app. In this step, a specific code needs to copy to the EWSApp.js file.
  3. Next, you need to add the UI for the mail app you have created.
  4. Enable web service requests by changing the manifest.xml file. However, note that for security purposes, the app will not call EWS until permissions for the app are not changed. In Visual Studio, you can change the permissions as follows:
    • In the Solution Explorer, open ‘EWSApp’ project.
    • Open manifest file editor by choosing ‘EWSApp.xml’.
    • Choose ‘ReadWriteMailbox’ from ‘Permissions’ list.
    • Save changes and close editor.
  5. Step 5: Deploy the JavaScript and HTML for the mail app you have created, and then install manifest file into either Outlook Web app or Outlook to run the app. You can make the app visible in Outlook Web App by performing the following:
    • To deploy and run the app, press F5 key.
    • Connect to an Exchange Server account on Exchange 2013. (It will need email address and password).
    • Let the server configure the email account.
    • Login to the email account.
    • Select any message in the Inbox.
    • Wait until you see an App bar over the message.
    • Choose ‘EWSApp’ in the app bar.
    • When you see EWSApp mail app, choose ‘Make EWS Request’ to send a request to the Exchange Server to get the subject for the current email.

As of now, you are well aware of the various aspects of Mail App for Outlook. Enjoy it until the introduction of something new.

Adam Gorge has over 3 years of experience as an email consultant. Right now Adam is working as an email consultant at Stellarinfo. Next to consulting he loves to write about email applications like Outlook, OE, WLM, Thunderbird etc. You can contact him at Google+

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