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Messaging Application Programming Interface

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Title: Messaging Application Programming Interface  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: .NET Framework, List of Microsoft Windows application programming interfaces and frameworks, HP OpenMail, Vendor Independent Messaging, Zimbra
Collection: Email, Internet Mail Protocols, Microsoft Application Programming Interfaces
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Messaging Application Programming Interface

Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) is a messaging architecture and a Component Object Model based API for Microsoft Windows. MAPI allows client programs to become (e-mail) messaging-enabled, -aware, or -based by calling MAPI subsystem routines that interface with certain messaging servers. While MAPI is designed to be independent of the protocol, it is usually used with MAPI/RPC, the proprietary protocol that Microsoft Outlook uses to communicate with Microsoft Exchange.

Simple MAPI is a subset of 12 functions which enable developers to add basic messaging functionality. Extended MAPI allows complete control over the messaging system on the client computer, creation and management of messages, management of the client mailbox, service providers, and so forth. Simple MAPI ships with Microsoft Windows as part of Outlook Express/Windows Mail while the full Extended MAPI ships with Office Outlook and Exchange.

In addition to the Extended MAPI client interface, programming calls can be made indirectly through the Simple MAPI API client interface, through the Common Messaging Calls (CMC) API client interface, or by the object-based CDO Library interface. These three methods are easier to use and designed for less complex messaging-enabled and -aware applications. (Simple MAPI and CMC were removed from Exchange 2003.)

MAPI was originally designed by Microsoft. The company founded its MS Mail team in 1987, but it was not until it acquired Consumers Software in 1991 to obtain Network Courier that it had a messaging product. Reworked, it was sold as MS PC Mail (or Microsoft Mail for PC Networking). The basic API to MS PC Mail was known as MAPI version 0 (or MAPI0). MAPI uses functions loosely based on the X.400 XAPIA standard.

MAPI includes facilities to access message transports, message stores, and directories.


  • Service provider interface 1
  • MAPI/RPC protocol details 2
  • Open-source MAPI implementations 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Service provider interface

The full Extended MAPI interface is required for interfacing messaging-based services to client applications such as Outlook. For example, several non-Microsoft e-mail server product vendors created "MAPI service providers" to allow their products to be accessed via Outlook. Notable examples include Axigen Mail Server, Kerio Connect, Scalix, Zimbra, HP OpenMail, IBM Lotus Notes, Zarafa, and Bynari.

MAPI also had a service provider interface of sorts. Microsoft used this to interface MS Mail to an email system based on Xenix, for internal use.

Extended MAPI is the main e-mail data access method used by Outlook, to interface to Microsoft Exchange, via MAPI service providers shipped with Outlook.

MAPI/RPC protocol details

Microsoft has released full details of the MAPI/RPC protocol since August 2007.[1]

"MAPI protocol" is a colloquial name for the MAPI/RPC. At times, Microsoft has also called it "Exchange RPC" and "Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol".

Microsoft provides a sample MAPI/RPC based application called MFCMAPI [2] to assist developers. It is also widely used as a diagnostics tool by both developers and Microsoft Exchange administrators.

Open-source MAPI implementations

Until recently few open-source implementations of MAPI existed, but at least three open-source projects have started working on implementing the MAPI protocol in free open-source software (FOSS) libraries for use in other open-source applications


  1. ^ Exchange Server Protocols. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  2. ^ Mfcmapi - Home. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  3. ^ OpenMapi
  4. ^ MAPI Library
  5. ^ OpenChange
  6. ^ Gnome Evolution Plugin

External links

  • Messaging API at MSDN Library
  • OpenChange project - details of MAPI protocol and tools for exploring MAPI protocol
  • OpenMapi project - Open Source, multi-language MAPI implementation which can connect to other groupware sources, with API documentation
  • Messaging API Archived User Forum
  • Enabling Outlook Connector logging for support
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