Microsoft appears to be serious about making Outlook more accessible to open source developers.
On May 24, the Redmond, Wash software giant announced two new open source projects designed to complement its recently released technical documentation for Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (.pst).
The two open source projects --- dubbed .pst Data Structure View Tool and .pst File Format Software Development Kit -- will make it easier for developers to access data stored in digital formats created by Microsoft Outlook and use that data in cross platform solutions.
Here's how Microsoft described the benefit of the tool and SDK, which will simplify extracting the .pst data: 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 scenarios, such as extracting photos stored in .pst files to create an album, as well as more complex scenarios, including archive search, e-discovery and corporate compliance, and uploading data to the cloud.
In the spring, Microsoft released technical documentation for Office Outlook that makes it easier for developers to read and write data out of .pst files on any platform -- whether or not Microsoft Outlook is installed on the desktop.
Previously, developers could use the Messaging API (MAPI) or Outlook Object Model to retrieve and use the e-mail, calendar and attachment data but it required Outlook to be on the desktop.