Announcement: Owl: Exchange support for Thunderbird

Mark Rousell mark.rousell at
Thu Oct 11 18:37:33 UTC 2018


On 11/10/2018 16:30, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> So, with my company, we have been developing a Thunderbird addon that
> uses the OWA protocol to connect to Exchange servers. This should
> allow to read and write email in Thunderbird with your Exchange
> account that has OWA enabled. The name of the new extension is Owl.
> We are currently in the early alpha stages, where we test internally
> and fix bugs. We should be going into beta soon. We are currently
> fixing bugs and other roadblocks in Thunderbid to make this happen and
> working with Thunderbird developers to integrate these patches.

This is a very interesting idea. Using OWA's internal protocol is not
something that I think I would have thought of.

Third party access to Exchange Server seems to be an ever-moving target.
According to one note about Exchange 2016 when it was first launched[1],
EWS itself is effectively deprecated, to eventually be replaced by
similar REST protocols to the ones used by Office 365 for third party

So using something other than EWS makes sense (especially, as you say,
as it's not necessarily available on all corporate installations). On
the other hand, Microsoft could change the OWA protocol at any time,
couldn't they?

Of course, EAS (ActiveSync) would be the best, longer-term supported
third party access protocol but that requires a patent licence. May I
ask, did you look into doing that?

1: Sorry, I can't find a link to it now. It was probably on the Exchange
blog back when E2016 was launched. It promoted the still-to-be-released
(at the time) REST protocols for on-premises Exchange 2016 (and later)
as a future direction for third party access instead of EWS.

Mark Rousell

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