Creating Outlook "Task" email without using OOM


D

DanzerGal

Hi,

I'm hoping to create Outlook (2007) Tasks email from a standalone app w/o
using OOM (similar to creating an OL appoinement by sending a vCal item over
email). Can someone provide any example (or references)?

Alternatively, what are the specifications for the TNEF attachments in
Winmail.dat?

Any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
DG.
 
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K

Ken Slovak - [MVP - Outlook]

TNEF is undocumented, you have to reverse engineer it. Why not use the OOM?
Or an alternate API such as Redemption or Simple MAPI?
 
D

DanzerGal

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply. I have two follow-up questions:

1. Isn't Simple MAPI just a transport/messaging mechanism. In using Simple
MAPI, I am unsure on how to generate the OL Task payload. Any suggestions?

2, For Redemption, same question: How to generate the payload (or, what is
the format of the payload) so that OL will recognize the incoming message as
a "Task" request and process it accordingly?

The reason why I am not using OOM is because the OL Task may need to be
generated from systems where OL is not installed.

Thanks,
DG.
 
K

Ken Slovak - [MVP - Outlook]

Is this a task or an email or what? You mentioned originally a task email
which is confusing. Simple MAPI calls can be used to create a mail item, not
a task item.

Redemption is a 3rd party library (www.dimastr.com/redemption). It can be
used to create a new Task item but it would expect Outlook to be there on
the machine or the standalone server-side Extended MAPI to be there. Even
without Outlook installed it would want to work with an Exchange mailbox.

If there's no Outlook or Exchange then you wouldn't use Redemption or CDO
1.21.

I think your requirements are setting you up for failure.
 
D

DanzerGal

Hi Ken,

Thank you for all the information. To answer your questions (and clarify my
original question):

In OL, one can create a Task and assign it to a second user. The Task
(request) may be sent via email (as a Winmail.dat TNEF attachment) to the
second user. If the recipient is using OL, it will automatically recognize
that the incoming email contains a Task (request) and process it accordingly
(prompt user for accept/reject, enter the Task into the Task folder, etc.).

As an analogy, a standard calendar appointment may be created by an external
party/application and sent via email. When the email arrives, OL will
recognize the content as an appointment request and process it accordingly.
In this case, the email just need to be a properly formatted vCal message (or
attachment), typically encoded as plain text.

My question is: what needs to be in the payload (contents of the
Winmail.dat file) of the incoming email for OL to recognize it as an Task
request? I am already able to send a regular SMTP message with attachments;
just like to know what content (or attachment) to send.

One caveat: the app that creates the original Task request may not be
installed on a host that has either OL or Exchange access. This was not a
problem with a calendar appointment as a vCal file is in plain text that one
can generate programmatically. But, I am looking to send a Task request
instead--hence my original question.

Any suggestions or directions to look will be greatly, greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
DG.
 
K

Ken Slovak - [MVP - Outlook]

Outside of the Outlook team I don't think anyone knows what the contents of
the TNEF in a task request consists of. I certainly don't and have never
seen or heard any information on that. So you'd have to reverse engineer the
TNEF (if possible).
 
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D

DanzerGal

Hello Ken,

I was afraid you'd say that.

Is the "Task" specification proprietary? Will the OL team folks care to
discuss this?

Thanks,
DG.
 
K

Ken Slovak - [MVP - Outlook]

All the TNEF used for everything is not documented (at least outside of MS).
I doubt that you'd get anywhere trying to get internal documentation, as far
as I know reverse engineering is the only way you'd figure it out if you can
reverse engineer the TNEF.

You can try contacting MS about this but I think you'll be wasting your time
and money.
 
D

DanzerGal

Hi Ken,

Thank you for your pointers. I will re-evaluate the solution requirements
and pursuit other means if needed.

Regards,
DG.
 
P

Peter Jamieson

MS has posted a lot more info. about its proprietary standards over the
last few months, e.g. in the MSDN library - for example, here is a
document about TNEF at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc425498.aspx

There are also documents about task items /in MS Exchange/ etc.

Whether these are the standards you need, or complete enough for your
needs, I couldn't tell you. (FWIW at least some of these "Open
Specification" documents are works in progress)

Peter Jamieson

http://tips.pjmsn.me.uk
 
D

DanzerGal

Dear Peter,

Thank you very much for the information and link. I had noticed the
specifications in the MSDN library, and hoped that someone might have
examples on, or a better summary for, these documents to save some reading
time and lessen the learning curve.

Best regards,
DG
 
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P

Peter Jamieson

Yes, I find this kind of stuff pretty heavy going. Nor can I tell you if
any of the open source TNEF processors are (a) any good or (b) contain
documentation likely to help.

Peter Jamieson

http://tips.pjmsn.me.uk
 

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