On the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog, group manager Paul Lorimer shared the company’s plans to release the documentation for the .pst file format. The .pst file, as most of you know, is the file where email, calendar, and contact data is stored when Microsoft Outlook is installed on a PC.
Although developers could already access .pst data using Messaging API (MAPI) and the Outlook Object Model, notes Lorimer, that was only possible when Outlook was installed on the desktop. Now, by opening up the .pst’s specifications, developers will be able to “read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice.” When complete, the documentation will be released under Microsoft’s Open Specification format, which means that anyone can implement the .pst file format “on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way.”
According to the blog post, Microsoft’s decision to open up the .pst is another example of the commitment to the Interoperability principles, announced last year, and data portability is a key part of those principles.