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by Peter Galli on May 24, 2010 12:34pm
Microsoft today announced the availability of two new open source projects - the PST Data Structure View Tool and the PST File Format SDK - both of which are available on CodePlex under the Apache 2.0 license.
These two new open source tools complement the technical documentation recently released for Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (.pst) and, combined, advance interoperability with data stored in .pst files, reflecting customer requests for greater access to data stored and shared in digital formats generated by Microsoft Outlook and for enhanced data portability.
The PST Data Structure View Tool allows developers to browse the internal data structures of a PST file and is designed to assist people who are learning the .pst format and help them to better understand the documentation, while the PST File Format SDK is a cross platform C++ library for reading .pst files that can be incorporated into solutions that run on top of the .pst file format. Going forward, the ability to write data to .pst files will be added to the SDK.
Developers can use these resources to more easily build solutions, including competitive products, that run on top of the .pst file format, unlocking data stored in .pst files in simple and more complex scenarios, including archive search, e-discovery and corporate compliance, and uploading data to the cloud.
The technical documentation makes it easier for developers to read and write data out of .pst files on any platform, regardless of whether Microsoft Outlook is installed. Until now, developers could access the data stored in .pst file format using Messaging Application Programming Interface and the Outlook Object Model - a set of connections to data stored by Outlook and Exchange Server and available when Outlook was installed on the desktop.
The .pst file format documentation reflects feedback from a community of reviewers and is available here. It follows the publication of thousands of pages of protocols provided since the release of the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 and the publication of the Outlook Personal Folders File Format (.pst) Structure Specification under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.
Increasing access to information and transparency is central to the Microsoft Interoperability Principles announced in 2008. More information about the .pst File Format SDK and .pst Data Structure View is available here.
You can also watch a White Boarding session on YouTube, as well as learn more about the story behind the PST Open Source projects on Channel 9.
by Peter Galli on May 21, 2010 02:02pm
The good work on the Interoperability front continues with today's release of a WordPress plugin that enables WordPress to use Windows Azure Storage Service to host media for a WordPress-powered blog.
This plugin was developed directly by Microsoft's Interoperability team and released to the WordPress community.
The Windows Azure Storage plugin for WordPress allows developers running their own instance of WordPress to take advantage of the Windows Azure Storage services, including the Content Delivery Network (CDN) feature. It provides a consistent storage mechanism for WordPress Media in a scale-out architecture where the individual web servers don't share a disk.
This scenario could also be very compelling to any other web application where there's a need to load balance across a number of web servers without shared disk.
This is yet another good example of how Microsoft is actively participating in, and contributing to, the Open Source community.
You can find more information on this at the Interopeability blog, and developers can try it out here.
by Peter Galli on May 10, 2010 11:38am
More good news on the Interoperability front: the new phpBB release is now available for installation from the Windows Web Application Gallery and Web Platform Installer (Web PI) for Windows, IIS and SQL Server.
Version 3.0.7-PL1 of phpBB takes advantage of a number of features for PHP applications on the Microsoft Web Platform with Windows, IIS and SQL Server, including SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, which provides key interoperability for PHP applications to use SQL Server or SQL Azure for data storage, and is released under the OSI approved MS-PL license and available on CodePlex.
It also takes advantage of WinCache Extension for PHP 1.0.1, which provides increased performance for PHP applications on Windows and IIS, and which is released under the BSD license and available from the PHP Extension Community Library (PECL) website.
This is just another example of Microsoft's commitment to enabling interoperability of the Microsoft Web Platform. As part of the process, Microsoft contributed a patch to the phpBB project to allow it to interoperate with SQL Server using Microsoft's SQL Server Driver for PHP, and then worked very closely with members of the phpBB core team to accept our patch contribution.
The SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, released in October 2009, provides UTF-8 support, Multiple Active Record Sets (MARS) and the option to leverage SQL Azure and to deploy as a full or partial cloud solution.
Microsoft also worked with the phpBB Core Team to help enable phpBB to leverage the WinCache Extension for PHP. WinCache provides performance benefits for PHP applications on Windows and IIS and is released under the BSD license, with the source hosted and maintained on the PHP Extension Community Library (PECL).
For more information on this news, you can read the Web Platform blog, the SQL Server PHP blog, Josh Holmes' blog, and the phpBB blog.
This release by the phpBB community is another great example of how Microsoft is working with the PHP community to provide higher levels of interoperability and performance as well as providing customers the choice of running the applications they want on the Microsoft Web Platform.
by Peter Galli on May 06, 2010 12:08pm
The latest update to CodePlex, Microsoft's Open Source software project hosting repository, brings integration with PreEmptive Solutions' Runtime Intelligence Service, which lets users instrument their applications to get analytics on their runtime usage.
While CodePlex has long offered reports on what user activity occurs on the project Web site, what happened after the user downloaded the software was unknown. Now, using the analytics capability of this application, CodePlex users can see information like how many people are using the application.
The Runtime Intelligence Service lets developers inject usage instrumentation directly into application binaries. When the application is run by an end-user, the instrumentation will collect analytics data from the application, but no personally identifiable information is ever collected, and applications can include opt-out dialogues.
You can read more about this news on the CodePlex blog.
It is also important to point out that while this application monitoring will be available to every CodePlex project (there are currently more than 14,000 of these), it is not required. Also, developers using Visual Studio 2010 do not need to license any additional software, while other development teams can use the commercial Dotfuscator edition to inject instrumentation.
Developers can find additional documentation and a tutorial here.
This update follows one earlier this year where CodePlex announced support for Mercurial, a distributed source control management system. New projects created on CodePlex.com can now be use either Team Foundation Server or Mercurial as the source control repository.