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Julia uses MAPI for iCal/Exchange syncing

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Danish company called 42tools has released new software that uses syncs iCal with Microsoft Exchange Server using Microsoft's MAPI, the native protocol in Outlook. Julia 1.0 uses software on a Mac and on a Windows server to automatically synch all meetings and dates. When an iCal user accepts a meeting invitation, Exchange is updated so that Outlook users can see it. iPhones synced with the Mac will also be synced with Exchange.

Julia will work with any version of Exchange Server. Although Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard will support iCal as an Exchange client, it will only support Exchange 2007. That's because unlike Julia, Snow Leopard won't use MAPI, but will use Microsoft's new Exchange Web Services protocol, which only works with Exchange 2007.

Julia consists of software for Mac OS X and software for a Windows server. On the Mac, Julia has no user interface except for its preference pane in System Preferences. Julia works in the background using Sync Services.

"Users will not notice any changes in iCal, except that it is suddenly able to synchronize with Exchange calendars," said Jules Colding, the lead developer at 42tools.

The server translates MAPI to and from a platform-independent network protocol called CORBA for communication with Julia on the Mac

"Brutus is the server part," said Colding. "Once installed it is invisible and shouldn't require any maintenance. We chose this man-in-the-middle approach to guarantee MAPI compatibility."

He added "The Brutus server runs on any Win32 box, XP or later, as a service. It can be almost any old Windows desktop, as long as it is a member of the domain. It needs that for authentication purposes... Any number of Julia clients will be able to use Brutus simultaneously. The number is only limited by the Brutus server hardware."

42tools also makes Brutus source code available as open source.

If you've tried Julia what you think of it.

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