Outlook Web App
Outlook Web Access on Internet Explorer
|Type||Webmail, calendaring software|
|License||Part of Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365; licensing terms tallies|
Outlook Web App (OWA), originally called Outlook Web Access and before that Exchange Web Connect (EWC), is a webmail service of Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 and later. Outlook Web App comes as a part of Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365.
Outlook Web App is used to access e-mail (including support for S/MIME), calendars, contacts, tasks, documents (used with SharePoint or in 2010, Office Web Apps), and other mailbox content when access to the Microsoft Outlook desktop application is unavailable. In the Exchange 2007 release, OWA also offers read-only access to documents stored in Microsoft SharePoint sites and network (UNC) shares. Microsoft provides Outlook Web App as part of Exchange Server to allow users to connect remotely via a web browser. Some of the functionality in Outlook is also available in this web "look-alike". The most important difference is that Microsoft Outlook allows users to work with e-mail, calendars, etc., even when an internet connection is unavailable, whereas OWA requires an internet connection to function.
In all versions of Exchange, the "OWA Light" user interface (UI) is rendered for other browsers. While the basic interface did not support search with Exchange Server 2003, the UI has been reworked for Exchange Server 2007. On Exchange Server 2007, OWA Light now supports search for mail items, and managing contacts and the calendar has also been improved. On Outlook Web Access 2010, a user may now connect email accounts to one's Outlook Web Access. That feature is most ignored due to professional uses of Outlook Web Access.
On Exchange 2007, a user would get a pop-up that a new message was sent, but this was dropped on Outlook Web Access 2010.
Comparison to alternative web-based groupware
In previous versions, OWA provided a limited user experience to those not using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. As of OWA 2010 (provided with Exchange 2010), browser support for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers is available. However, Microsoft still purposely excludes user agents that do not match its list of "supported browsers" from using the full version of the application. Some popular browser/OS combinations, such as Chrome on Linux, were excluded, but today this is no longer an issue.
Several alternatives to OWA/Exchange exist. In addition, many businesses may opt for either hosted options provided by other companies such as Google Apps or Yahoo!'s Business Mail option, or may install local alternatives to Exchange server such as Zimbra, Kolab, Zarafa, or Scalix.
Use of OWA handheld/smart phone mail
OWA is used for several 3rd party clients to Microsoft Exchange Server.
OWA app is now available for use for Apple products under iOS7.
The first component to allow client-side scripts to issue HTTP requests (XMLHTTP) was originally written by the Outlook Web Access team. It soon became a part of Internet Explorer 5.0. Renamed XmlHttpRequest and standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium, it has since become one of the cornerstones of the Ajax technology used to build advanced web applications.
There are multiple ways to log into Outlook Web App. On Office 365, one will need to put in one's Microsoft Online Services ID. On regular Exchange servers, one will be greeted to log in by user domain\username or either username@domain. One must have the correct server to log in.
Outlook Web Access was created in 1995 by Microsoft Program Manager Thom McCann on the Exchange Server team. An early working version was demonstrated by Microsoft Vice President Paul Maritz at Microsoft's famous Internet summit in Seattle on December 27, 1995. The first customer version was shipped as part of the Exchange Server 5.0 release in early 1997.
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