Entourage public folder access with Exchange 2007

Just to set the record straight: Entourage 2004 works fine with Exchange 2007 public folders.

If you’ve read the Exchange docs (or the Exchange team blog, or any of the zillions of places that reported this), you might be forgiven for being confused. The docs say that public folders are “de-emphasized”, a fancy way for saying that Microsoft is hoping you’ll start using SharePoint instead. The docs also say that OWA 2007 doesn’t support browser-based access to public folders (a regression from Exchange 2003, and a mistake IMHO, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

The Exchange team posted a blog entry explaining the details of what they meant by “de-emphasized”, but it doesn’t mention Entourage. As Exchange 2007 draws more attention, I’m seeing more people asking questions about Entourage and Exchange 2007.

The answer comes in two parts:

  • Entourage uses WebDAV to access public folders (and mailboxes, for that matter) on an Exchange server. WebDAV is fully supported for public folder access in Exchange 2007. It works great; I use it daily with three different Exchange servers.
  • OWA 2003 includes its own code that uses WebDAV to access public folders. There is no equivalent code in OWA 2007, so it can’t display public folder contents. If and when MS adds such code to OWA 2007, that will have no impact on Entourage because Entourage doesn’t use OWA to render public folders, it uses WebDAV.

Hopefully this will help clear things up somewhat, but (as John Welch has repeatedly said) it would be great to see an official statement from MS on this.

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