Day 3: Outlook Notes Mobile

outlooknotes1 outlooknotes2

This isn't really so much a complaint about Windows Mobile development, but more so about hole in the platform's user experience.

If you're an avid Windows Mobile user, you are familiar with the Notes application: you can create a short text or image note and have it sync to your desktop. Then the desktop will sync it to Exchange. However, there's a couple problems:

  1. Only Pocket PCs come with the notes applications: Smartphones do not.
  2. You must use your desktop ActiveSync connection to sync with Exchange; it does not sync directly.

To resolve this, a few months ago I wrote an application that allows you to view, edit, and create notes on your Windows Mobile device, and sync directly with Exchange.

Download Outlook Notes Mobile.

Usage:

  1. Start Outlook Notes Mobile.
  2. Go to settings.
  3. Enter the same login information you provided ActiveSync. (The server will be in the format of "mydomain.com" or "mail.mydomain.com", ask your SysAdmin).
  4. Synchronize. (There is no automatic synchronization).

Note:

If you have problems getting this application to work, it may be due to your Exchange server setup. The Microsoft "recommended" Exchange deployment does not expose the Exchange Web Service (it redirects all requests to the OWA client).

45 comments:

Surur said...

Interesting software which i would love to try out. However when I try and synchronize I get a Web exception error. Any ideas how to fix this?

Surur

PocketPc Freewares said...

Many will find this very useful, unfortunately for me I dont use exchange :)

Anonymous said...

Works nicely - few suggestions

1) support for hand drawn notes
2) Support for note sub folders in exchange
3) Auto sync on open/close of app?
4) GUI - would it be possible to replicate a notepad (in terms of background wallpaper/graphic), much like the iPhone?

5) Ability to delete notes from the WM device


Achieve these things and I guarantee everyone will replace windows mobile notes with your app - which in supporting exchange itself is already better than what is installed by default.
__________________

Koush said...

Hi, thanks for the feedback. Regarding:

1) I don't know the format of the "ink" notes; it's not very well documented, so I don't know how to make use of the data.
2) That's probably easy enough; I could do that.
3) I was thinking about making it automatically sync whenever ActiveSync does.
4) Yep, that is doable pretty easily.
5) I can do this, it's pretty easy to implement.

Anonymous said...

Well Koush, you certainly have a winner on your hands, you are right, auto sync with activesync would work better if doable.
As for the ink format, does this help? http://community.opennetcf.com/articles/cf/archive/2007/09/28/sharing-windows-mobile-ink-with-the-desktop.aspx

One other thing - app2date support! :-D keep up the great work

Koush said...

I'll take a look at that. That may be what Exchange stores ink notes as; I'm not completely sure.

Kevin said...

Just what I've been looking for, thanks!

Just wanted to add my support for autosyncing when ActiveSync does, and being able to tweak the GUI (or maybe just having the option to make it look the same as the built-in Notes app).

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

any news on a possible update?

Erin said...

Wow what a great app. Why didn't microsoft include this with activesync? I would think notes would be the easiest thing to sync...

Anyways, I, too, am getting a web exception error. Is there a way I can check the log to see what's going on? I use an outsourced exchange server and the odds of me getting to see their logs are pretty slim.

Thanks!

Koush said...

What is the address/host of the server?

MDSTrader said...

Hi I have the same problem as Surur any thoughts on how to fix this. I get a Web Exception error when syncing.

Cheers
McNott

Koush said...

My guess is the same as what I said in the post: the Exchange Web Service is not available to use, since that is not the standard Microsoft recommended setup. Thus you get a WebException. If you guys post the servers you connect to, I can query against https://server/ews/exchange.asmx and see if it responds.

Erin said...

Hey there thanks for the response. I use an outsourced company called mailstreet and here are their server addresses.

https://owa.mse6.exchange.ms/
https://ms11.mse6.exchange.ms/
https://mail.mse6.exchange.ms/

I tried all three but got web exceptions.

Thanks again!
Erin

Koush said...

Hi Erin, thanks for the list of servers.

I was correct when I assumed that the Exchange Web Services on your servers are set to redirect to the OWA login. The exchange web service address, for example, would be https://owa.mse6.exchange.ms/ews/exchange.asmx, but it is not available to be queried. You could maybe talk to the outsourcing company about exposing the Exchange WebService so that other Exchange clients could make use of it... I don't think they'll be keen on that though.

Koush said...

I should clarify, the Exchange Web Service may be available, but the address is being redirected by either the ISA server or the WebServer hosting Exchange, to the OWA login page.

Erin said...

Ok, thanks for the info. What should I ask my host for? I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of exchange and want to ask a question that makes sense to them :-)

Thanks!
E

Erin said...

I asked my hosted exchange server for the info you requested but they weren't any help at all.

There was a treo app that could sync notes & tasks that I got to work. It asked for all the usual settings but it also asked for something called the PIM Store. If you included this setting might that help things?

Thanks again!

Koush said...

The other applications that "sync" notes aren't actually syncing notes: they are putting your notes into the tasks list. If you open your exchange mailbox, you will see all your notes in your tasks folder and not in your notes folder.
On one hand, that works, but on the other hand, it isn't truly working. :(

Erin said...

I understand what you're saying but the palm os treo exchange sync app was the real deal, putting your notes into the built in notes field on your palm. Trouble is though that the guy stopped developing it and it doesn't work on anything newer than a treo 700p. Just a bit of trivia for ya.

BTW, I found a solution to my problem. The exchange co. I use has some Exchange 2007 servers that are configured in such a way that your app works. I'm gonna have my account moved over there today :-)

Koush said...

Are you sure they show up in your Notes folder in Outlook (on your computer) and Outlook Web Access? (Not talking about on your device!)
That would be interesting if it did, because then the developer of the Treo version knows some secret I don't. :)

Let me know how the new Exchange server works out for you!

Anonymous said...

Seems to work well . . thanks!

Is there any way to copy/paste?

Erin said...

Ya, the treo developer did good work but dropped off the face of the planet. Probably got really busy :-/

I moved to exchange 2007 and it works but I always get indexoutofrangeexceptions.

Also, cut & paste would be nice :-)

Mad & Silvia said...

Hi

This application is great, now I don't need to sync my Notes in the office anymore, can do everything via wireless.

I only have one question, is there a way to search your notes application? As I have a lot of notes and need to search them all, the normal search function does not find anything out of your Outlook Notes.

Best regards.
Patrick

Lanwench said...

Hi - I am so thrilled to find this app. I can't wait to try it. Sadly, I too am getting a WebException error. I use SBS2003 (fully patched) behind a firewall appliance, have a trusted SSL cert, and OWA and Exchange ActiveSync work perfectly. Help?

BTW, I would also like the ability to search notes & use Outlook's categories for them, as I am a heavy-duty OL Notes user.

Jean-Luc Chatelain said...

Fantastic job. Flawless install and worked @ first sync.

Geoffrey said...

I have tried several applications attempting to resolve this issue. Why it is not part of WinMo is silly. I had a quick issues due tow settings but after correcting, it is working fantastically. Thank you for a great application.

Anonymous said...

My only request after using for a quick while would be a search/look-up function.

JordanN said...

I would like to use this as well, but I am also getting the WebException error because I get redirected to the OWA page.

Is there some instructions on how to configure Exchange Server 2003 so that it does not redirect to OWA?

alex said...

This looks like a great piece of software filling a much needed Micro**** gap. (What were they thinking?) My problem is that I don't really have an Exchange server. I have a Zarafa server. From what I can make out it is almost the same thing, but not quite. Does anyone have any experience of these? Is there any reason why it shouldn't work? I don't have ActiveSync working with it properly yet, so I'm not sure where the problem is, but if it's not going to work, I might give up on Zarafa and look for something else. I did try it of course, but I am getting errors. "Method 'FindItem' not implemented: nethod name or namespace not recognized"
Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks
Alex

Steve Hon said...

Does this only work with Exchange 2007? It is my understanding there is no Exchange Web Services on Exchange 2003

Anonymous said...

The program seems create, but what about security?

The password should really not be visible in the configuration page.
I guess the password is not only visible in the software, but is also saved somewhere in the registry as readable text?
Or how else would the program still remember my password even after I uninstalled the program temporarily...
More security would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I sent a note to my IT department asking if they could remove the redirect for WebExchange. Any way to have the app sync locally? Active sync can be installed on users PCs or laptops and then sync over cable. I am able to sync with my local Contacts list instead of Exchange Global.

Patrick said...

Forget your comments.. he never answered any of it. I posted three times, also wrote him an email. It looks like a nice software at first, but it is very slow and has weak security.. hope someone else will create a more stable software.

Anonymous said...

My IT department won't change their server. Big surprise, isn't it. Here's their reply:

Incident Resolution: Unfortunately this application will not work for you. We used forms based authentication, a more secure method of OWA. THis is a requirement not only internally but by our clients as well as PCI.

If you could edit the App to sync with the local PST instead, I could snyc notes locally at least. I would dontate too!

Rod Trent said...

Did anyone ever figure out what exactly needs to be changed on the Exchange server to work around the "Web Exception" error?

Anonymous said...

Program is nice and fills a void in syncing data between Microsoft Exchange and Windows Mobile. I get an error (HTC Touch Pro) after syncing and have to restart the program but the data has synced. Would love to see a search feature to search for notes and would pay to purchase the program if it had this feature.

Vedat said...

great app! only problem is i have over 1000 notes in my regular ms notes app. somehow need to import to outlooks notes mobile. is there a way?

Anonymous said...

I installed it on device with WM 6.0 and still getting 'NullReferenceException' error netherless being connected to Exchange over VPN or not. Server ActiveSync is working on this device as long as for instance OWA.
Could you help me with this issue ?

Thanks in advance,
Marcin

perry said...

i love the idea of this software but no matter what i do it will not sync i get errors the same everyone else is getting.
any ideas???

Andy said...

I installed Exchange 2007 with being able to use this software in mind, but I keep getting the Web Exception error. What are the steps I need to take to enable the exchange web service?

Anonymous said...

I've been using this app for several weeks now and it's been great! however, I had to reset my password and since then an error pops up when I try to sync it: An error occurred while synchronizing. KeyNotFoundException.

I've double checked all my settings and everything looks correct, with no misspellings. Any idea what the trouble is?

Slim said...

By changing the setup to for the Exchange Web Service, will it disable OWA ?
Thank you

Anonymous said...

Wasted an hour trying to get this app to work and found this site with all of the WEBException errors and no resolution.

If you are going to put something out there for public consumption, make sure it works or a disclaimer where it won't work or resolve the issues everyone has. Otherwise, keep your crap to yourself. This was a total waste of time.

Martin@Denmark said...

Great app ! been looking for a while - EWS is published and not redirected - get the web exception - I run Exchange 2010 do you know if it works there ?

thanks for a GREAT app

Marc Bressman said...

Great idea for an app - unfortunately I can't get it to work. I am using hosted Exchange 2007 (am being upgraded to hosted Exchange 2010 shortly) and keep getting a WebException error. If the original developer or anyone else can help, it would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to contact me at: mbressman@falconcc.com

Thanks!