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Mesquilla is releasing a Calendar EWS Provider addon compatible with ExQuilla

Recently we learned that the "Exchange 2007/2010/2013 Provider" addon is no longer being developed, and the final version did not fully support Thunderbird 24 and Exchange Server 2013 & Office365. While eventually we intend to fully integrate Calendar and Task support into ExQuilla, at the moment that support is incomplete and experimental, so many of our customers had relied on the now-abandoned addon. So as a convenience to our customers, we have forked and updated that addon to provide a version that works with current Thunderbird and Microsoft Exchange, as well as includes better compatibility with ExQuilla. We call this new fork the "Calendar EWS Provider". Since the original addon is released GPL, so is this one, with code on Bitbucket here.

This addon is currently considered to be beta quality (version 3.2.0-Beta47 as of today, continuing the versioning of the predecessor addon), but you may download the current version from this link:

http://mesquilla.net/ewscalendar-currentrelease.xpi

Calendars configured using the previous addon will not work with this fork, so if you are a current user of the Exchange Provider addon, you should remove any calendars from that and uninstall it before installing the "Calendar Ews Provider" addon (also called ewscalendar for short).

Calendar EWS Provider differs from its predecessor in the following ways:

  1. Because ExQuilla already includes Contacts and GAL support, that was removed.
  2. The storage of passwords has been made compatible with ExQuilla, so if you use ExQuilla on the same account the password is only stored once.
  3. Naming has been changed to remove support links to the previous developer, and replace them with current links.
  4. Various issues and bugs that we have uncovered have been fixed, including issues of compatibility with Office365 and Thunderbird 24. The new xpi file claims compatibility with both Thunderbird 17 and Thunderbird 24.
  5. Because this is a fork with changed capabilities and not a continuation of the existing addon, we felt that internal identifiers needed to be changed to reduce the possibility of conflict with the original addon, though we still do not recommend that you attempt to run both at once.
  6. When creating new calendar entries, the EWS server parameters are copied from the equivalent ExQuilla values if an ExQuilla email is selected. So you should not have to do autodiscover again or manually enter server parameters when adding calendars to existing ExQuilla accounts.
  7. Addon updates now follow the standard Mozilla addon UI (while the previous addon had a custom solution), with updates coming automatically from the mesquilla.net site if you download from there.

Although it would be convenient if the Calendar EWS Provider addon was distributed directly with ExQuilla, the GPL license prevents that, so users must do a separate download and installation. But at the same time, ExQuilla is not required for its operation, so you are free to use this addon for Calendaring without using ExQuilla.

We would appreciate testing of this addon by potential users and reporting of experiences. However, this is new code for us, and considered to be a temporary solution (where "temporary" is approximately 1 year), so we may not be able to immediately attend to all reported issues. Please use the new "Calendar EWS Provider" forum here for any comments or support requests.

 

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13 Comments

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    Thomas Conroy

    Fantastic - got it working. Had to play with the correct formatting of the refeence fields but once I got those right it seems to work flawlessly.

    Thanks!!

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    Vadim Peretokin

    "When creating new calendar entries, the EWS server parameters are copied from the equivalent ExQuilla values if an ExQuilla email is selected. So you should not have to do autodiscover again or manually enter server parameters when adding calendars to existing ExQuilla accounts."

    How does that work? I had to delete my old calendar when uninstalling the previous addon. I installed the new one, went to create a new calendar and selected Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013. I then had to give it a name and colour, after that the next screen prompted me for my login details. The statement above implies to me that I should not have to enter my details and can somehow create a calendar for a registered in TB email account.

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    Kent James

    In response to: "How does that work? I had to delete my old calendar when uninstalling the previous addon. I installed the new one, went to create a new calendar and selected Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013. I then had to give it a name and colour, after that the next screen prompted me for my login details. The statement above implies to me that I should not have to enter my details and can somehow create a calendar for a registered in TB email account."

    That would be a "registered in ExQuilla mail account". If the email that you selected prior to the EWS server parameters page was one that was managed by ExQuilla, then what is supposed to happen is that  the EWS server information is copied to "Server URL" in the "Create a new calendar" page, and the "Check server and mailbox" button is enabled. If you press it, and the check completes, then the "Folder base" line shows, and you can choose a folder and press Next> So you are bypassing the Autodiscover process.

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    Vadim Peretokin

    "If the email that you selected prior to the EWS server parameters page was one that was managed by ExQuilla" - this doesn't seem to be happening for me.

    I go to File > New > Calendar. Select 'On the Network' (because I want to be able to share it with co-workers - the message above implies I should select network for that). I hit Next, and select Microsoft Exchange format. Next once again - I give it a name and colour here. Hit next once again, and I arrive at the AD settings (which I interpret to be 'EWS server parameters' that were mentioned). I haven't been given a chance to select my email!

    If, at the the beginning, I select 'On My Computer', hit Next, Next - then I get a chance to select my email. But I don't want it on my computer as I then can't share it - unless that is how it is supposed to be?

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    Kent James

    The "Create New Calendar" screen (where the calendar name and color are selected) is supposed to have 4 lines, and the bottom one is "Email" with a dropdown of email addresses.

    I seem to recall when I was adapting this addon, there was a time when that line was not appearing. I don't recall what, if anything, I did to make it start appearing. I need to investigate to see what drives it to be created, and what can fail that causes it to not appear. Only then will I have a suggestion for you. Thanks for the detailed report of problems, though.

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    Vadim Peretokin

    Sorry, still have some confusion - "Create New Calendar" for the 'on my computer' or 'on the network' part?

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    Kent James

    The "on network path" that you did is correct, you don't see the choice for Exchange Server if you select "On My Computer". So if you successfully chose "Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013" on the "Create a new calendar/Locate your calendar" page, then select Next, you end up on "Create an new calendar/Customize your calendar". That page allows you to select a color - and is supposed to allow you to select an email. If it does not, that's a bug that needs investigating.

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    Vadim Peretokin

    Indeed, it does not. Attached is a screencast of the window (somehow the mouse cursor didn't get captured, sorry).

    That solves the confusion. Thanks, I'll wait - let me know if I can get any information to help debug this issue.




    Create a new calendar.mp4
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    David Sanders

    Same here. I can go past that page, and then choose my correct exchange settings but it will not allow me to press next and finish setting up the calendar.

     

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    Chris Noffsinger

    Same issue as these guys autodiscover works but when I click next nothing happens.




    exchangecropped.png
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    Kent James

    Chris, David: This issue was solved in beta49, but I see that I did not update the "current release" link above and it was still  pointing to the older version. I've fixed that now, so you can download from that link or the specific beta 49 file here (http://mesquilla.net/releases/ewscalendar-3.2.0-Beta49.xpi) (Future readers of this message would be better to use the "current release" link http://mesquilla.net/ewscalendar-currentrelease.xpi)

     

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    Chris Noffsinger

    Awesome Kent Thank you!

    This enables me to use linux at my desk since Evolution doesn't like our new exchange installation.

    Plus Evolution crashed once a day.  Thanks again!

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    Kent James

    I'm going to close this post to further comments, because I really want issues raised in the support forum instead, which is at https://exquilla.zendesk.com/forums/22664596-Calendar-EWS-Provider-Support-Forum

    As a summary to this thread, I believe that the "Create New Calendar" issue is solved, but there is a remaining issue about memory usage. As far as I can tell, it depends on the total number of events and tasks that you have in a year (including recurring instances). So the addon is usable for people with a small number of items (say one or two per day on average), but performance and memory use get unacceptable with lots of events (for example, by having multiple daily recurring events). Any further discussion or updates will be in the support forum above.

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