MAPI stands for Messaging Application Programming Interface, the system component that the Microsoft corporation has included into its Windows® operating system and the API to use that component with Windows applications.
The MAPI infrastructure provides an additional level of abstraction. Windows applications do not deal directly with a groupware server (or any other "data store"). Instead, applications send Messaging requests (such as "list my mailboxes", "retrieve message number X", etc.) to the MAPI component, and the MAPI component uses the installed "Connector" modules to send those requests to an Exchange® server, to locally stored "personal folders", to a fax server, etc.
The expandable nature of the MAPI architecture allows for creation of additional "Connectors" that can interact with various server products. One of the problems that such a Connector has to solve is data format: Windows applications send data objects via MAPI to Connector modules in the so-called "MAPI object" format that has very little in common with any Internet format. The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector converts the MAPI data into one of the standard Internet formats and stores the converted "messaging objects" as standard Internet messages in a CommuniGate Pro Mailbox. When reading those Mailboxes, the CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector converts messages back into the "MAPI object" format and passes the converted objects back to MAPI and Windows applications (such as Outlook).
The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector acts as a "MAPI provider". It accepts Messaging API requests from Microsoft Outlook (Outlook 2002, Outlook XP and later) running in the "groupware" mode, and from other Windows applications. The MAPI Connector converts these requests into extended IMAP commands and sends them to the CommuniGate Pro Server.
The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector also performs data conversion between proprietary Microsoft "objects" data formats and the standard Internet data formats.
Because the standard Internet formats are used, messages stored with the CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector can be read using any standard POP3 or IMAP mail client, the CommuniGate Pro WebUser Interface, or any XIMSS-based client.
The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector uses TCP/IP networks and should be configured to connect to any non-TLS (clear text) IMAP port of your CommuniGate Pro server (the port 143 is the standard IMAP port).
The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector supports both clear text and secure (SSL/STARTTLS) connections, and it can use plain text and secure CRAM-MD5 login methods.
The CommuniGate Pro MAPI Connector contains two code parts (shared libraries). The starter code part should be installed on Windows workstations. It provides the configuration interface and it is used to connect to the CommuniGate Pro server. The main MAPI Connector functionality is implemented as a shared library stored in the Server application directory, and it is called the server code part. When the MAPI Connector starter code connects to the CommuniGate Pro Server, the Server sends the server code part of the MAPI Connector to the client computer.
This method allows you to deploy "regular" MAPI Connector updates by updating your CommuniGate Pro Server software only, without running the MAPI Connector Installer on all client workstations.