Messaging Application Programming Interface ( MAPI) is a messaging architecture and a Component Object Model based API for Microsoft Windows. MAPI allows client programs to become (e-mail) messaging-enabled, -aware, or -based by calling MAPI subsystem routines that interface with certain messaging servers. While MAPI is designed to be independent of the protocol, it is usually used with MAPI over HTTP or MAPI/RPC, protocols used by Microsoft Outlook to communicate with Microsoft Exchange Server.
While Simple MAPI (SMAPI) is a subset of 12 functions which enable developers to add basic messaging functionality, Extended MAPI (EMAPI) allows complete control over the messaging system on the client computer. This includes creation and management of messages, plus management of the client mailbox, and service providers.
In addition to the Extended MAPI client interface, programming calls can be made indirectly through the Simple MAPI API client interface, through the Common Messaging Calls (CMC) API client interface, or by the object-based CDO Library interface. These three methods are easier to use and designed for less complex messaging-enabled and -aware applications. (Simple MAPI and CMC were removed from Exchange 2003.)
MAPI was originally designed by Microsoft. The company founded its MS Mail team in 1987, but it was not until it acquired Consumers Software in 1991 to obtain Network Courier that it had a messaging product. Reworked, it was sold as MS PC Mail (or Microsoft Mail for PC Networking). The basic API to MS PC Mail was later known as MAPI version 0 (or MAPI0), to differentiate it from "true" MAPI.
MAPI also had a service provider interface of sorts. Microsoft used this to interface MS Mail to an email system based on Xenix, for internal use.
Extended MAPI is the main e-mail data access method used by Outlook, to interface to Microsoft Exchange, via MAPI service providers shipped with Outlook.
"MAPI protocol" is a colloquial name for the MAPI/RPC. At times, Microsoft has also called it "Exchange RPC" and "Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol".
Microsoft provides a sample MAPI/RPC-based application called MFCMAPI Retrieved on 2017-07-26. to assist developers. It is also widely used as a diagnostics tool by both developers and Microsoft Exchange administrators.