Open dialogue about standards, open source, and interoperability at Microsoft

May, 2013

  • Your Input Needed: Exchange Server and Outlook Standards

    Posted by Michael Bowman
    Program Manager, Office Engineering

    Microsoft recognizes that enabling interoperability between products from different vendors is important, particularly with respect to email and calendaring functionality, as it helps our customers stay connected and organized across their favorite services and devices.


    Exchange Server 2013 and Microsoft Outlook 2013 support the following core and most commonly adopted email and calendaring standards:

    • IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol - RFC 3501): IMAP allows a client to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server. This protocol allows Exchange users to access their email across a broad range of IMAP clients and enables Outlook users to access email on IMAP servers.
    • POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3 - RFC 1939): POP3 is a broadly adopted standard for webmail service providers. Outlook uses the POP3 protocol to retrieve messages from the server. The POP3 service for Microsoft Exchange Server is used by clients that implement the POP3 protocol to store and retrieve messages on the server.
    • iCalendar (RFC 2445, RFC 2446, RFC 2447): This common format facilitates the open exchange of calendaring and scheduling information across the Internet. iCalendar is supported by both Outlook and Exchange and enables syncing and publishing of calendar items across supported services and servers, regardless of platform.
  • WebMatrix 3 Now Available: Publish Cloud-Based Web Sites and Open Source Apps

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    This week the Windows Azure team released WebMatrix 3, the current version of the popular free web development tool, which includes support for popular open source apps and the ability to publish your site to the Cloud using Windows Azure Web Sites.

    WebMatrix allows you to create websites quickly, using ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, or HTML5 templates. You can also take advantage of the latest web standards, like CSS3 and HTML5, and popular JavaScript libraries such as JQuery.

  • Open Door Policy: Interview with Outercurve’s Sam Ramji

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing and Operations

    Open Door Policy is a new series on the Openness blog that profiles industry thought leaders and individuals within Microsoft who are leading efforts to collaborate more openly, promoting interoperability and making it easier to develop and manage mixed IT environments.

    The first annual Outercurve Open Source Conference and Hackathon is taking place in downtown Bellevue this week. We took the opportunity to speak with Sam Ramji, Outercurve Foundation board president and former Microsoft open source strategist.

    Sam RamjiRead on to learn more about Sam’s perspectives on how collaborating more openly can drive innovation and help to solve real world problems.

    Hi Sam, please tell us about the Outercurve Foundation and your role with it.
    The Outercurve Foundation, or, is a not-for-profit open source software foundation. Outercurve is focused on open source governance, for the sake of more successful open source projects on all platforms. I’ve had the privilege to serve as the President of the Board of Directors for the last three years. Because Outercurve is a not-for-profit foundation, it’s all volunteer. My full-time - my day job, as it were - is as the Strategy Officer of a startup called Apigee, which is an API platform company based in Silicon Valley.

    And where were you before that? 
    I led open source strategy across Microsoft - I took over open source technical strategy in 2006, and open source market strategy in early 2008, which was a pretty extraordinary role, because we were able to work directly with Bill Gates on technology strategy and had a field organization spanning 80 countries. We worked on open source interoperability and with a range of open source technology projects to help them either run extremely efficiently on top of Microsoft platforms, especially Windows Server, or to improve interoperability between Windows and Linux. 

    That was before it was really publicized that Microsoft was moving in a more open direction.
    That’s right. We were doing open source at Microsoft back when that was innovative and scary. [chuckles] My manager and predecessor in the role was Bill Hilf, who’s now the GM of Product Management for Windows Azure. Our purpose was to solve big problems, and that’s always scary – it challenged the way Microsoft did business. Bill is a great leader and was willing to take on the way things were.

    What's the scope of this week’s Outercurve Open Source Software Conference?
    The conference itself is focused on bringing together the community of developers who work on projects that they’ve chosen to host with There are some very, very well-known projects like NuGet, Orchard, and WiX, which have tens of millions of downloads, hundreds of contributors, and thousands to millions of users. All of those project leads and contributors are getting together to share notes, talk about what’s working, and how to improve things. There are also lots of people who are aren’t working directly on those projects who want to learn about how to do more open source development, how to create and manage projects and, frequently, how to work with Microsoft’s open source teams.

  • Northwest Open Source Hackathon: Making Open Source Projects on Windows Easier

    Posted by Garrett Serack
    Senior Software Developer, Microsoft Open Source Technology Center

    This past Friday, developers filled the room for Outercurve’s first annual Northwest Open Source Hackathon. With a special focus on the recent NuGet 2.5 release, the event brought together developers from open source projects like NuGet, CoApp, and Orchard, along with engineers from groups across Microsoft.

    All too often, open source developers work together ‘virtually’ – we collaborate, design and code – all without working in the same room together. Hackathons bring us face-to-face, which helps us work on big ideas.

    “Hackathons and plugfests in general are a staple of the open source community,” said Sam Ramji, Outercurve’s Board President. “Developers get together and test out new product ideas. New developers who are interested in contributing to one of the existing Outercurve-hosted projects get a chance to work with the architects of the projects directly.”

  • Office Web Apps: More to Love, Coming to Your Favorite Devices

    Posted by Kerry Godes
    Senior Manager, Worldwide Marketing & Operations

    The Office team recently shared plans for some of the upcoming investments Microsoft is making to deliver a great Office experience on the Web, including broad cross-platform device support.

    When Microsoft launched Office Web Apps in 2010, the apps were companions to the Office desktop experience that enabled lightweight, on-the-go content creation and review. Since then, browser technologies and speeds have advanced and development infrastructure has matured, making the Web a better productivity platform.

    With these improvements, Microsoft’s goal is to deliver Office Web Apps that people can rely on to create polished Office documents from start to finish, all from the Web and on virtually any device.