Tag: Exchange Online

Exchange Mail & Calendar In Teams (duct tape approach, not official MS solution)

The Exchange web client renders in the Teams website tab now – Chrome and Chromium-based Edge. I use the nightly build of FireFox and it says ‘Blocked by X-Frame-Options Policy’

This isn’t a way to get new mail notifications in Teams – you’ve got to click over to the tab. But it does let you send a quick message without leaving Teams.

It’s a little inconvenient, though, to have to navigate over to the right channel to find the website tab. You can also create a custom Teams application to access the Exchange website. That’s a little more complicated, but you basically need a manifest.json with static tabs to the inbox and calendar.

Install and open “App Studio” in Teams. Create a new app. Fill in the details — use the generate button to get an app ID. Since you’re not going to publish the app to the Microsoft app store, the info you use isn’t super important … the privacy and terms of use, specifically, aren’t something anyone is going to read.


In the “Capabilities” section, add a personal tab

Add a tab for the mailbox:

If you wish, add a tab for the calendar – I prefer the weekly view, but you can replace “week” with “workweek”, “day”, or “month”.

In the “Test and Distribute”, click “Download”.

You’ll get a zip file that you can side-load (i.e. it’s not an app published across the company). In “Apps”, select “Upload a custom app”

Locate the downloaded ZIP file and open it

Verify that your app looks right – the permissions are base permissions for all apps (we didn’t add anything special)

Click “Add” and you’ll be able to select the new app from the ellipses in Teams.

And you’ll have an app that can access your mailbox

Or a week view of your calendar


Did you know … you can automatically dismiss past Outlook calendar reminders?

Sometimes opening Outlook and getting reminders for, say, the meetings you missed when you were out sick yesterday is quite helpful. But frequently, reminders for old events are just an annoyance. Like when you create past-dated meetings to remind yourself of what you were doing and forgot to select ‘None’ as the reminder time. That’s not just me, right? Did you know you can automatically dismiss reminders for past calendar events? From your Outlook client, click the file tab of the Outlook ribbon bar

Select “Options”

On the new window that appear, select “Advanced”

In the “Reminders” section, you’ll see a check-box to “Automatically dismiss reminders for past calendar events” – by default, this is unchecked. If you would like to avoid reminders for old meetings, click to check it then click OK.


Did you know? … Sub-Addressing

There are all sorts of reasons you need to provide your e-mail address to random Internet strangers – purchasing products, registering for a conference, signing up for a newsletter. Unfortunately, disseminating your address across the internet can lead to an inundation of unwanted email.

In addition to spam filters to filter out unwanted mail, Exchange Online supports “sub-addressing”. A sub-address is a slightly modified version your e-mail address that can customize your address for every situation – just before the ‘@’ symbol in your e-mail address, put a plus and then some unique text. It will look like Your.N.Ame+SomeIdentifier@company.ccTLD instead of Your.N.Ame@company.ccTLD.

When signing up for a Microsoft newsletter, I can tell them my e-mail address is Lisa.Rushworth+MicrosoftSecuritySlate@company.ccTLD and messages sent to that address will be delivered to my mailbox. When I sign up for the NANPA code administration newsletter, I can tell them my e-mail address is Lisa.Rushworth+NANPACodeAdmin@company.ccTLD.

Should you start receiving unwanted solicitations to the sub-address, you can then create a rule to delete messages sent to that address. You can even exclude messages from the intended sender from the deletion rule – allowing, for example, messages from the NANPA Code Admin newsletter to reach your mailbox whilst blocking anyone else from using the address.

You can also alert the person to whom you provided the address that their contact list may have been compromised.

Exchange Online

We’re moving users to the magic in-the-cloud Exchange. Is this a cost effective solution? Well – that depends on how you look at the cost. The on prem cost includes a lot of money to external groups that are still inside the company. If the SAN team employs ten people … well, that’s a sunk cost if they’re administering our disk space or not. If we were laying people off because services moved out to magic cloud hosted locations … then there’s a cost savings. But that’s not reality. Point being, there’s no good comparison because the internal “costs” are inflated. Microsoft’s pricing to promote cloud adoption means EOL is essentially free with purchase too. I’m sure the MS cost will go up in the future — I remember them floating “leased” software back in the late 90’s (prelude to SaaS) and thinking that was a total racket. You move all your licensing to this convenient “pay for what you use” model. And once a plurality of customers have adopted the licensing scheme, start bumping up rates. It’s a significant undertaking to migrate over – but if I’m saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year … worth it. Rates go up, and the extra fifty grand a year isn’t worth the cost and time for migrating back to on prem. And next year that fifty grand more isn’t worth it either. Economies of scale say MS (or Amazon, or whomever) can purchase ten thousand servers and petabytes of disk space for less money than I can get two thousand servers and a hundred terabytes … but they want to make a profit too. There might be a small cost savings in the long term, but nothing like the hundreds of thousands we’re being sold up front.

Regardless – business accounting isn’t my thing. A lot of it seems counter-productive if not outright nonsensical. There are actually features in Exchange Online that do not exist in the on prem solution. The one I discovered today is subaddressing. At home, we use the virtusertable in sendmail to map entire subdomains to a single mailbox. This means I can provide a functional e-mail address, on the fly, to a new company and have mail delivered into my mailbox. Works fine for a small number of people, but it is not a scalable solution. Some e-mail providers started using a delimiter after which any string was ignored. This means I could have a GMail account of DevNull@gmail.com but get mail as DevNull+SomeRandomString@gmail.com or DevNull+CompanyNameHere@gmail.com … great for identifying who is losing your e-mail address out in Internet-land. Also somewhat trivial to write a rule that takes +SomeCompromisedAddress and move it to trash. EOL lets us do that.

Another interesting feature that is available on prem but not convenient is free busy federation (now termed an “organisational relationship”). In previous iterations, both parties needed to establish firewall rules (and preferably a B2B connection) to transfer the free busy data. But two companies with MS tenants should be able to link up without having to enact firewall changes. We still connect to the tenant. The other party still connects to the tenant. It’s our two tenants that communicate via MS’s network. Something I’m interested in playing around with … might try to see if we can link our sandbox tenant up to the production one just to see what exactly is involved.