New PHP Class project for Microsoft ActiveSync

  • 17/08/2012 08:00:00

<p>Started a new proof for the <em>Alice</em> Framework to integrate Microsoft ActiveSync into my application.</p>

Started a new proof for the Alice Framework to integrate Microsoft ActiveSync into my application.

This is something I've been thinking on for longer time. I just wanted to add a broader functionality to the Technical area management application of us than just a POP3 connector that downloads the messages and attaches those to the trouble ticket or Customer's chart. We still do use intensively Microsoft Outlook, Blackberries, i-anything stuff, and more will come soon. The common element? Microsoft Exchange. But it could be Outlook 365, who knows. We have Blackberry Enterprise Server, and I don't want to have duplicate information sources. One is enough.

After longer time I have worked out an idea: building the application on a Microsoft Windows Server (still PHP) could allow me to use the same method used by the BES server, which is the CDO MAPI component object. I got the book, started the study, and it's apparently not bad, though, limited to be used only on a Windows platform and roughly adaptable for the use over the Internet or Cloud based environments.

Meanwhile I have worked a bit more with some other mail services and found out that Kerio Connect uses an ActiveSync implementation for mobile devices. So... this is the plan. I'd love to have a class that allows me to connect to an ActiveSync-based mail server and interact with:

  • Address Book
  • Calendar
  • Mailbox

Mainly the proof concept behind all is: native. I don't want to play with iCal attachments, or anything else that needs a human intervention. Just because the system is being integrated widely in the corporate infrastructure, I'd like the system to be able to

  1. create contact cards as needed in the user's addres book: this will make the data available seamlessly (and immediately!) on their desktops, phones and tablets;
  2. create events in the calendar, for example, when a technical activity has been scheduled on the trouble ticketing system, and again, it will be available real-time on the user's device (with alerts and everything related)
  3. parsing service mailboxes, retreive information, and mark the messages with appropriate categories based on our business structure which will give a double advantage (described below).

The E-Mail part is crucial now. My first goal will be to:

  • Establish a connection to the Exchange server;
  • Get all unread messages in the Tech Support mailbox;
  • Mark messages as read if "worked" by the applicetion;
  • [WISHLIST] Mark the message with a specific category (ex. "Ticket opened", "Archived", "To be answered") for further user intervention;
  • [WISHLIST] Do it real-time (with the push function) - this will require a service-like part to be handled, but shouldn't be a problem.

So far, I am basing my analysis and development on the Microsoft Open Specifications (which are public) and was able to connect to the Exchange Server (which makes point 1 achieved)... will try to work hard on the rest and publish the class online (indeed, PHPclasses denied my listing for this class...)

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