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.