For the entire summer, I used Outlook 2007 (Beta 2) for email purposes. Although I am still not happy about the IMAP support by this product, overall there have been many improvements.

The UI has gotten more ‘Vista-Like’ for lack of better words. For the novice, that means more gradients and changing backgrounds with hovering mice.

The backend has also seen some new functionality such as integration with OneNote (yet to experience). However for the most part, the backend functionality behaves pretty much like Outlook 2003. If you are an avid Outlook 2003 user then Outlook 2007 will just seem like a new skin on your 2003 version.

About 2 months ago, I discussed this product with gokul over a series of emails and he expressed some concerns about the stability of this product. Although I didn’t relate to his concerns at that time, now that I have started to use this product more heavily, I can see what he is talking about. For example, the search folders on my IMAP account are highly unreliable and “Marking a message as Read” from within a search folder does not really mark the message as read.

I have also integrated my calendar and contacts information by importing using 2003 format .pst files from another instance of Outlook 2003 that I use at my work. The best thing I like about the calendar in Outlook 2007 is the fact that it can be published and subscribed to. To see my published calendar, click the My Schedule link on the right hand side.

Once you visit that calendar, you can actually subscribe to it in your Gmail calendar! Yes, this is one of those rare moments where MS and Google actually work in harmony. In order to subscribe to a published Outlook 2007 calendar in Gmail, first publish your Outlook 2007 calendar. You will get 2 links-

1) One that starts with http:// and ends with .htm: This is actually a MS hosted web version of your calendar. Ignore this

2) The second one starts with webcal:// and ends with .ics: This is the URL to subscribe to in your Google Calendar. However, there is a nasty trick to this. Before copying-pasting this link into google calendar to subscribe to it, change the webcal:// to http:// in order to make it work. Apparently, Microsoft came up with a fake enhancement to the http protocol and called the webcal protocol. It might provide them some extra functionality internally but as far as the iCal format goes, this webcal feed can act like a normal http-iCal feed.

The other issue I had with Outlook 2007 is related to hotsync. When synchronizing my Palm TX with my Outlook, it turns out that HotSync does not support Outlook 2007. There seems to be no update to HotSync to do this. The worse part is that due to this error in Outlook 2007 Synchronization with my Palm, the DocumentsToGo synchronization freezes up the entire HotSync process. It turns out that Outlook 2007 and Documents To Go don’t like each other. The solution was to turn off the HotSync Outlook synchronization and using Pocket Mirror to synchronize my Palm to my Outlook 2007 information. I am currently using a Trial version of Pocket Mirror but I am so happy with it that I might just pay the $29.95 for this software.

All in all, Outlook 2007 has been a fulfilling experience. I can’t wait for the TR (Technical Refresh) to the Beta 2 version of Office. In the meantime (before MS decides to let us know when Beta 2 TR is coming out), I will continue to work around the issues I have encountered with Outlook 2007 with a positive attitude.

 

2 Responses to Outlook 2007

  1. anu says:

    dude i just noticed ur schedule link…i luv the gym slot in there…haha

  2. Guy Rintoul says:

    FYI, webcal is a standard protocol not a Microsoft-invented one. Google Calendar, Remember the Milk and others all use it. :)

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