Microsoft has issued a public beta of Entourage for Exchange Web Services, a version of Entourage that will eventually replace the current WebDAV-based Entourage. In January, Microsoft announced that it planned to drop WebDAV as the means of communicating between Entourage and Exchange Server, and replace it with Exchange Web Services, which is new to Exchange Server 2007.
Microsoft said the Entourage for Web Services offers better integration between Entourage and Exchange Server and feature greater parity between Entourage and Outlook for Windows. The beta can sync notes, tasks and categories between Entourage and Exchange Server. The Entourage beta also supports the use of attachments in Entourage for Exchange-based calendar events. While Outlook users have these abilities, current Entourage users don't.
Microsoft said that the Beta also provides faster email and calendaring, and in accepting meeting requests. Microsoft has previously told us that use of Exchange Web Services makes fewer transactions over the network. Remote users also don't need to be connected to a virtual private network to resolve names when addressing email or a meeting invitation; Resolving against the Global Address List now uses HTTP and Entourage Web Services.
Entourage for Exchange Web Services requires Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 with Update Rollup 4 or later. The completed release version will be an update to Entourage 2008. The beta requires Office 2008 to be installed on the Mac.
If you've tried the Entourage for Exchange Web Services beta
Reader says Entourage Beta requires Windows
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A reader who wishes to remain anonymous reports that he could not log into the Entourage for Exchange Web Services Beta program with Mac browsers:
As a first comment, Microsoft requires that you sign in to download the Beta. I'm trying but it seems that both Safari and Firefox can't log in. I had to run up Windows and use Internet Explorer. Now waiting to see if I am "allowed" to have a Beta copy.
If you've seen this problem, or have a comment about the Entourage beta,
Several readers sent reports about the new Entourage for EWS Beta, some offering advice on problems downloading it.
Gunno Ivansson in Sweden downloaded the Entourage for EWS Beta, and found it worked better than Entourage 2008:
I have downloaded the beta and posted feedback on the beta site. My experience is that it is often problem with the site, regardless of OS and browser. Even if it most of the time fails, I have successfully logged in with Safari. Explorer on Windows also fails to log in, just less frequently.
So far the beta works fine. Before I could not connect to my Exchange 2007 server with Entourage 12.1.5. After our IT people upgraded to Exchange 2007 and Windows 2008 failover cluster server we Mac users have had major problems with email and network/AD access not working.
Michael Salmon passed along a tip on how to get around download problems:
I found that it didn't matter what I tried I couldn't get from the entourage beta page to signup, including using IE7 in Windows. In the end I created an account on Microsoft Connect and then I could signup for the beta. I am still pending, though.
Lars Berger from Germany had no problems downloading:
There was no problem for me to subscribe and get info about the Beta. I have downloaded it with Firefox 3.05 and Leopard 10.56 on an iMac 24".
If you're using the Entourage EWS Beta
Entourage WSE blocks installation of Office 2008 SP2
Graham Norbury reports problems installing Office 2008 Service Pack 2 when Entourage Web Services Edition Beta is installed. He also forwarded a note from Microsoft about the issue:
I tried the Beta version of Entourage WSE but had too many calendar problems and rolled back to the 'normal' version. This was a huge pain as I had to rebuild my database. I assumed that MS would build the release version of Entourage with WSE so it would upgrade the beta testers. However this is not the case so every beta tester is going to have to roll back to 12.1.5 and then upgrade to the SP2 before they can install the release version with EWS!
Here's a note from Microsoft:
In regards to the Service Pack 2 release that is now available as of this morning, 7/20, if you have the Entourage, Web Services Edition beta installed, you will not be able to update your Office 2008 beta build to Service Pack 2. You will need to remain on the 12.1.5 build that was released with the Entourage, Web Services Edition beta.
If you would like to install Service Pack 2 for Office 2008, you will need to completely remove the beta copy of Office 2008 (including Entourage, Web Services Edition and the 12.1.5 build), and re-install your retail, licensed copy of Office 2008 for Mac. At that point, you will be able to install Service Pack 2. Note that you will then be using Entourage 2008, and not Entourage, Web Services Edition.
In addition, as you prepare for the summer release of Entourage, Web Services Edition, please note that Service Pack 2 will be the minimum requirement to install the released version.