Author Topic: Aquamail as exchange client  (Read 13717 times)

arbit12

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Aquamail as exchange client
« on: August 24, 2016, 03:17:34 pm »
This is more of a general discussion.

My office recently moved to o365, which is when I realised the sad state of exchange clients for android. Most use activesync, which seems stuck in 2005, so a lot of exchange  features are not available. Those with EWS seem half hearted, at least to me. OWA wrappers are  just too slow.

Example. Try to set up a shared folder email and calendar on mobile. Even sites like slipstick tell you it can't be done,  and give some vastly complex workarounds. Or you have to get another app like Outlook Groups,  and then keep switching between the two!

Unless, of course, you use Aquamail. It's the only client I've found so far that handles shared and group folders and calendars properly, and can handle features like calendar colours and event colours. For me at least,  the lack of push is an acceptable tradeoff. No exaggeration  to say it's a lifesaver for someone who wants to *really* use o365.

So, the point is that it is already easily among the best approaches to exchange. Everyone handles the basics, but only a couple handle the tough issues that no one seems to have an answer to.

Might be worthwhile to think about whether it can evolve into a full fledged exchange client, including contacts initially, and maybe tasks and notes later. Add an ability to use identities in O365 (another area where there is a lot of user frustration. Right now, I have an activesync account on stock mail app set up for contacts and calendar, and the same account as IMAP in Aquamail for email to be able to use identities ), and it could be a killer app.

It would fill a major gap, and also, from what I can see, people are prepared to pay for an exchange app that actually allows them to use the features of exchange in 201!

Any thoughts ?

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StR

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2016, 04:56:09 pm »
Unless, of course, you use Aquamail. It's the only client I've found so far that handles shared and group folders and calendars properly, and can handle features like calendar colours and event colours. For me at least,  the lack of push is an acceptable tradeoff.

I cannot speak for Kostya, but here are two pieces of information that you might find useful:
1. Push is already implemented. It is in the -dev version that you can install by downloading using the link at the top of this thread: http://www.aqua-mail.com/forum/index.php?topic=4908.0
Note that if you install it now, once the new version is released to Google Play, you can update via Google Play "automatically", without any complications.

2. The latest word from Kostya about his next step for the Exchange-oriented features of Aquamail:
My current focus is push mail for Exchange, and for the next version, proper Contacts sync for Exchange.

Kostya Vasilyev

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2016, 01:17:39 am »
Yes, push is in progress and I've just published it as a Google Play "beta", so no hassle updates for you and next stage of testing for me.

Please see under "development builds" or here really:

https://plus.google.com/communities/112921486711044378404

Shared mailboxes -- yes, someone made me aware of this, quite some time ago, wasn't hard to do.

Identities -- would have been done long time ago, but I can't figure out how to set up my Office 365 account for sending (from an identity).

I've set it up to collect mail (from Yahoo, if this matters, just one of my junk / testing accounts), but there does not appear to be a way to send from this (Yahoo) account / identity really.
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arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2016, 04:41:54 am »
Office365  does have some painful constraints on aliases and identities.  If you set up an alias, eg alias@xyz for a primary email primary@xyz, Exchange will deliver a mail addressed to alias to  primary all right, but replace the To with primary. So you have to go through the headers to see which mail id it was originally addressed to. Or use an exchange server side rule to append the alias to the subject line or  something similar to tag it.

In any case,  this does not help in sending from an alias. MS does not want you sending mail from a mailbox you haven't paid for

One option, but server side,  is to use distribution lists with send as permission given to the primary mailbox. So there has to be a distribution list called alias@xyz which has primary@xyz as a member. Also, primary@xyz is given permission to send as alias@xyz.com.

 This sorts out all the problems. Only thing is that the exchange administrator has to set it up. For aquamail, I suppose it could ask for the distribution lists intended to be used as part of account setup of primary@xyz (like it does for shared folders. Or maybe even discover them automatically if thats possible). And then send as those.  If the user doesn't have the send as permission for that list it will bounce back anyway. 

There is also a client side only option for Sending As, at least in outlook for desktop,  which is a plugin like Proxy Manager. This identifies the alias id in the incoming mail headers and replaces some field in the header of the outgoing mail with the same alias. I don't know the details or whether this can be done in an android client. The advantage is it is  client side only.

Right now, I have an active sync account for primary@xyz in my stock Samsung email client.  This syncs only calendar and contacts to device.

In aquamail, I have primary@xyz as an IMAP account to sync mail only. I have setup the identities on aquamail corresponding to the distribution list setup on server side. Works perfectly.






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arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2016, 04:53:00 am »
Just thought of another option which doesn't need exchange admin.

User can set up an Office365 group called alias@xyz with only one member, primary@xyz. Can then receive and send mail with that id.

Only thing is that Aquamail would then have to deliver the mail to the primary email account on the client side. Maybe set it up as a shared folder and also ask which account the mail should be delivered to in Aquamail. Is that possible.

Of course, will lead to extra data usage as it will first come in, then move on client side to primary account, then be synced back up to the O365 server from primary.

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Kostya Vasilyev

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2016, 04:14:22 pm »
Um, I'd have to think about all this. Seems really really really different from "the world of Internet Mail" where it can be done really easily...
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arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 04:30:42 am »
Yes it is. MS wants you to work for its money.



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arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2016, 03:53:51 pm »
Quick question. Instead of doing all the stuff above, is it possible to have a simplified aquamail feature for exchange?

Right now, if I long press an IMAP or POP account name, I can set up identities which are basically alias email addresses which use the same settings as the account.

For an exchange account, can the identical feature be provided? So it will give the user the facility to add alias or identity emails. Absolutely identical to the current feature for IMAP and POP.

Whether it works or not will of course depend on the exchange setup, but for those who can get the setup done, it would be very useful.

To avoid any confusion, there can be a  popup asking users to ensure that the server side has been set up correctly. If it works, would be happy to contribute a post on how to set up the server side.


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Kostya Vasilyev

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2016, 01:32:17 am »
Re: For an exchange account, can the identical feature be provided

Adding a "long press" and a "screen" and a "checkbox" is not the important part, I think...

If I just did that, the app would recognize that a message was sent to an alias, same as it does for Internet Mail accounts.

But what about sending?

I can put the identity's address into the From header, sure, but is this how Exchange handles identities on the sending side?

From the above description, I don't believe this is so. And I'm left with the impression that perhaps Exchange doesn't even have the concept of "identities" that's identical to those in Internet mail.

Am I wrong somewhere?
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StR

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2016, 06:04:37 am »
Kostya, I don't have much of experience with Exchange, and zero experience with aliases in it.
But I thought this page has a nice set of various ways of dealing with them:
https://www.howto-outlook.com/faq/aliases.htm
It is very likely that you've seen it already, - then please forgive me for providing an obvious link.

arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 06:54:47 am »
Kostya, you are right that sending is the bigger problem.

Yes, Unlike the free Gmail, where you just set up the alias, in  Exchange / O365 you can "send from": an  email id only if it is
1. set up as a distribution list or
2. an office 365 group or
3. a separate paid mailbox
AND
admin has given you permission to "send as" that email id.

Aquamail can insert the alias email in the header, but it will be sent by Exchange only if the above conditions are met. Else Exchange will send it back with a "no permissions" or "no mailbox exists"  error message.

But if the header is inserted AND the server side is set up, it should work.

For example, right now, on Aquamail, I access my O365 account email through IMAP. I have set up identities in Aquamail corresponding to distribution lists set up on the server, for which I have "send as" permission. It works perfectly. I suppose it should work just as well if the same feature is available when the account is set up as an Exchange account.

Hence the suggestion is to provide the feature anyway on the Aquamail side, with the warning that it will work only if the server side change is also done. It is up to the user to set it up or get admin to set it up.

I'd be happy to test it out in a development build if you feel it is worth doing.


Kostya Vasilyev

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2016, 11:30:06 pm »
Um, thanks for the link, no I haven't seen it before.

What a mess, users having to come up with various ways to trick Exchange into doing what they want...

Re: in  Exchange / O365 you can "send from": an  email id only if it is

I could support option 3, sounds like that's very similar to "internet mail" aliases / identities -- correct?

All that needs to be done is using the correct "From" header, true?
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arbit12

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2016, 04:10:17 am »
Yes that is correct. At least it will send  the email with the right header. Again, whether the mail will actually be sent by Exchange or not depends on user to set up along with exchange admin.

I suppose all paid mailboxes would work the same way, else you could pay for one and effectively have an infinite number of accounts.



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Kostya Vasilyev

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2016, 10:02:59 pm »
Um, ok, setting the From header is easy to do... wonder if it's going to cause me more grief than good...
Creating debug logs for diagnostics: https://www.aqua-mail.com/troubleshooting/

The official FAQ: https://www.aqua-mail.com/faq/

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dennosius

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Re: Aquamail as exchange client
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2017, 12:24:05 am »
Sorry for pulling up this older thread, but has there been any progress?

To send emails as an alias in O365, the best way is
1) set up a shared mailbox and give yourself "send as" permissions
2) set up a rule so that all incoming emails for the shared mailbox are redirected to your account

This way, the shared inbox remains empty. It shows up in Outlook (etc.), but doesn't hurt.

Ah, and if you use shared mailboxes in a multi domain environment, you need to set them up in the Exchange admin panel and set custom "account" names; otherwise, info@domain1.com and info@domain2.com cannot co-exist as shared mailboxes.

This is pain in the ass, but I believe, once this is set up, simply changing the From field does the job. I even believe that there must be some way (at least in MAPI, don't know about other protocols) to request all available aliases from the server, because once (but only once) my desktop Outlook provided me with a pull down list, that magically disappeared a while later.