How to: Manage persistent application settings by using EWS in Exchange

Learn how to create, find, get, update, and delete persistent application settings by using the EWS Managed API or EWS in Exchange.

Last modified: January 14, 2014

Applies to: Exchange Online | Exchange Server 2013 | Office 365

User configuration objects are the best option for storing configuration settings for your Exchange client application, primarily because they are hidden from search results in most client applications. Client applications typically hide these settings because the end user doesn’t need to see them, and so that the user doesn’t accidentally access this information. The code examples in this article show you how you can use user configuration objects to manage persistent settings, including how to create, find, get, update, and delete persistent application settings that are stored in user configuration objects.

You can use the UserConfiguration.Save EWS Managed API method to create a custom configuration setting. A user configuration object can contain XML, binary, a data dictionary, or a combination of those three data types. The following example shows how to save a user configuration object named ContosoDraftSettings that contains binary data to your Drafts folder by using the EWS Managed API. This might be useful if you want to store configuration information about how draft items are displayed in your client application.

private static void CreateUserConfiguration(ExchangeService service, byte[] binaryData)
{
    // Create the user configuration object.
    UserConfiguration configDrafts = new UserConfiguration(service);

    // Add user configuration data to the BinaryData property.
    configDrafts.BinaryData = binaryData;

    // Name and save the user configuration object on the Drafts folder.
    // This results in a call to EWS.
    configDrafts.Save("ContosoDraftSettings", WellKnownFolderName.Drafts);
}

You can use the CreateUserConfiguration EWS operation to create a custom configuration setting. The following example shows the request XML for creating a user configuration object named ContosoDraftSettings. The request attempts to save a binary stream to a user configuration object on the Drafts folder. This is the same XML that is generated by the EWS Managed API example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2013" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:CreateUserConfiguration>
      <m:UserConfiguration>
        <t:UserConfigurationName Name="ContosoDraftSettings">
          <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
        </t:UserConfigurationName>
        <t:BinaryData>iVBORw0KGH5UhKquRSzaeAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC</t:BinaryData>
      </m:UserConfiguration>
    </m:CreateUserConfiguration>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The response XML is simple and indicates whether the create request was successful or whether an error occurred.

You can use the Folder.FindItems EWS Managed API method with the associated traversal option to find user configuration objects. The following code example shows you how to find user configuration objects stored on the Drafts folder by using the EWS Managed API.

private static void FindAssociated(ExchangeService service)
{
    // This is the ItemClass prefix of user configuration objects that are created by using EWS.
    const string userConfigPrefix = "IPM.Configuration.";
            
    // This is the name of a configuration setting created by using EWS.
    string userConfigName = "TestConfig";

    // Return the first five items. 
    ItemView view = new ItemView(5);

    // Request only the properties that you need. Because all the results will be user configuration 
    // objects, you won’t need to request the ItemSchema.IsAssociated property, which identifies 
    // user configuration objects.
    PropertySet props = new PropertySet(BasePropertySet.IdOnly, 
                                        ItemSchema.ItemClass);
    view.PropertySet = props;
            
    // Set the traversal to find user configuration objects. 
    view.Traversal = ItemTraversal.Associated;

    // Send the request to search the Drafts folder for all the user configuration objects 
    // in the folder. You do not have to use a search restriction because you will not return
    // a large number of search results. For this scenario, it is better to sort the results
    // on the client. This method results in a call to EWS.
    FindItemsResults<Item> findResults = service.FindItems(WellKnownFolderName.Drafts, view);

    // Output a list of the item classes for the associated items. 
    foreach (Item item in findResults)
    {
        if (item.ItemClass == userConfigPrefix + userConfigName)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("You found the configuration: " + userConfigPrefix + userConfigName);
        }
    }
}

You can use the FindItem EWS operation to find user configuration objects.

The following example shows the request XML for finding user configuration objects. This is the same XML that is generated by the EWS Managed API example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2013" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:FindItem Traversal="Associated">
      <m:ItemShape>
        <t:BaseShape>IdOnly</t:BaseShape>
        <t:AdditionalProperties>
          <t:FieldURI FieldURI="item:ItemClass" />
        </t:AdditionalProperties>
      </m:ItemShape>
      <m:IndexedPageItemView MaxEntriesReturned="5" Offset="0" BasePoint="Beginning" />
      <m:ParentFolderIds>
        <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
      </m:ParentFolderIds>
    </m:FindItem>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The following example shows the successful response XML for finding user configuration objects. This is the same XML that is processed by the EWS Managed API example. Note the following in this response XML:

  • We shortened the identifier and change keys for readability.

  • The two user configuration objects are returned as messages. This is because the FindItem operation returns all items that are not defined in the EWS schema as message items.

  • The ItemClass properties for the two user configuration objects are different. The first user configuration object was created by using EWS. The second object was created by another API.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<s:Envelope xmlns:s="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <s:Header>
    <h:ServerVersionInfo MajorVersion="15" 
                         MinorVersion="0" 
                         MajorBuildNumber="800" 
                         MinorBuildNumber="5" 
                         Version="V2_6" 
                         xmlns:h="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
                         xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
                         xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" 
                         xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" />
  </s:Header>
  <s:Body xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
          xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
    <m:FindItemResponse xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
                        xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types">
      <m:ResponseMessages>
        <m:FindItemResponseMessage ResponseClass="Success">
          <m:ResponseCode>NoError</m:ResponseCode>
          <m:RootFolder IndexedPagingOffset="2" 
                        TotalItemsInView="2" 
                        IncludesLastItemInRange="true">
            <t:Items>
              <t:Message>
                <t:ItemId Id="AAMkDEY9M6AAA=" ChangeKey="CQAAACYnYF5aFMwP0T" />
                <t:ItemClass>IPM.Configuration.TestConfig</t:ItemClass>
              </t:Message>
              <t:Message>
                <t:ItemId Id="AAkADEzOzFAAA=" ChangeKey="CQAAABQAAABAByOw==" />
                <t:ItemClass>IPM.Microsoft.FolderDesign.NamedView</t:ItemClass>
              </t:Message>
            </t:Items>
          </m:RootFolder>
        </m:FindItemResponseMessage>
      </m:ResponseMessages>
    </m:FindItemResponse>
  </s:Body>
</s:Envelope>

After you find a user configuration object, you can use the UserConfiguration.Bind EWS Managed API method to get the configuration object from the mailbox. After you get the configuration object, you can use the UserConfiguration.Update method to update it. The following example shows how to get and update a user configuration object by using the EWS Managed API.

private static void GetAndUpdateUserConfiguration(ExchangeService service)
{
    // Binds to a user configuration object named "TestConfig" in the user's mailbox. 
    // Results in a call to EWS. You can also use the Load method to get the latest
    // server version of the user configuration object.
    UserConfiguration usrConfig = UserConfiguration.Bind(service,
                                                         "TestConfig",
                                                         WellKnownFolderName.Drafts,
                                                         UserConfigurationProperties.All);
            
    // Display the returned configuration object property values.
    if (usrConfig.XmlData != null)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("XmlData: " + Encoding.UTF8.GetString(usrConfig.XmlData));
    }
    if (usrConfig.BinaryData != null)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("BinaryData: " + Encoding.UTF8.GetString(usrConfig.BinaryData));
    }
    if (usrConfig.Dictionary.Count > 0)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Contains {0} dictionary entries", usrConfig.Dictionary.Count);
    }

    // Add dictionary property values to the local copy of the object.
    usrConfig.Dictionary.Add("Key5", 1);

    // Updates the server version of the user configuration object 
    // if it has changed on the client. Results in a call to EWS.
    if (usrConfig.IsDirty)
    {
        usrConfig.Update();
    }
}

You can use the GetUserConfiguration EWS operation to retrieve the configuration object from the mailbox, and the UpdateUserConfiguration to update the object. The following example shows the request XML for getting a user configuration object named TestConfig. The request states that all configurations should be returned in the response. This is the same XML that is generated by the EWS Managed API example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2013" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:GetUserConfiguration>
      <m:UserConfigurationName Name="TestConfig">
        <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
      </m:UserConfigurationName>
      <m:UserConfigurationProperties>All</m:UserConfigurationProperties>
    </m:GetUserConfiguration>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The following example shows the successful response XML for getting a user configuration objects. The response contains a data dictionary. This is the same XML that is processed by the EWS Managed API example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<s:Envelope xmlns:s="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <s:Header>
    <h:ServerVersionInfo MajorVersion="15" 
                         MinorVersion="0" 
                         MajorBuildNumber="800" 
                         MinorBuildNumber="5" 
                         Version="V2_6" 
                         xmlns:h="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
                         xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
                         xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" 
                         xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" />
  </s:Header>
  <s:Body xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
          xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
    <m:GetUserConfigurationResponse xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
                                    xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types">
      <m:ResponseMessages>
        <m:GetUserConfigurationResponseMessage ResponseClass="Success">
          <m:ResponseCode>NoError</m:ResponseCode>
          <m:UserConfiguration>
            <t:UserConfigurationName Name="TestConfig">
              <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
            </t:UserConfigurationName>
            <t:ItemId Id="AAMkDEY9M6AAA=" ChangeKey="CQAAACYnYF5aFMwP0T" />
            <t:Dictionary>
              <t:DictionaryEntry>
                <t:DictionaryKey>
                  <t:Type>String</t:Type>
                  <t:Value>Key1</t:Value>
                </t:DictionaryKey>
                <t:DictionaryValue>
                  <t:Type>Integer32</t:Type>
                  <t:Value>1</t:Value>
                </t:DictionaryValue>
              </t:DictionaryEntry>
              <t:DictionaryEntry>
                <t:DictionaryKey>
                  <t:Type>String</t:Type>
                  <t:Value>PhoneNumber</t:Value>
                </t:DictionaryKey>
                <t:DictionaryValue>
                  <t:Type>String</t:Type>
                  <t:Value>555-555-1111</t:Value>
                </t:DictionaryValue>
              </t:DictionaryEntry>
            </t:Dictionary>
          </m:UserConfiguration>
        </m:GetUserConfigurationResponseMessage>
      </m:ResponseMessages>
    </m:GetUserConfigurationResponse>
  </s:Body>
</s:Envelope>

The following example shows the request XML for updating a user configuration object. The request states that all configurations should be returned in the response. This is the same XML that is generated by the EWS Managed API example that calls the UserConfiguration.Update method. You can see that the update XML contains the existing dictionary entries and the additional one that was added before the update.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2013" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:UpdateUserConfiguration>
      <m:UserConfiguration>
        <t:UserConfigurationName Name="TestConfig">
          <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
        </t:UserConfigurationName>
        <t:Dictionary>
          <t:DictionaryEntry>
            <t:DictionaryKey>
              <t:Type>String</t:Type>
              <t:Value>Key1</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryKey>
            <t:DictionaryValue>
              <t:Type>Integer32</t:Type>
              <t:Value>1</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryValue>
          </t:DictionaryEntry>
          <t:DictionaryEntry>
            <t:DictionaryKey>
              <t:Type>String</t:Type>
              <t:Value>PhoneNumber</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryKey>
            <t:DictionaryValue>
              <t:Type>String</t:Type>
              <t:Value>555-555-1111</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryValue>
          </t:DictionaryEntry>
          <t:DictionaryEntry>
            <t:DictionaryKey>
              <t:Type>String</t:Type>
              <t:Value>Key5</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryKey>
            <t:DictionaryValue>
              <t:Type>Integer32</t:Type>
              <t:Value>1</t:Value>
            </t:DictionaryValue>
          </t:DictionaryEntry>
        </t:Dictionary>
      </m:UserConfiguration>
    </m:UpdateUserConfiguration>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The response XML is simple and indicates whether the update was successful or whether an error occurred.

You can use the UserConfiguration.Delete EWS Managed API method to delete user configuration objects. The following code example shows you how to delete the ContosoDraftSettings user configuration object by using the EWS Managed API.

private static void DeleteUserConfiguration(ExchangeService service)
{
    // Binds to a user configuration object. Results in a call to EWS.
    UserConfiguration usrConfig = UserConfiguration.Bind(service,
                                                        "ContosoDraftSettings",
                                                        WellKnownFolderName.Drafts,
                                                        UserConfigurationProperties.Id);
    // Deletes the user configuration object.
    // Results in a call to EWS.
    usrConfig.Delete();
}

You can use the DeleteUserConfiguration EWS operation to delete user configuration objects.

The following example shows the request XML for deleting a user configuration object named ContosoDraftSettings that was applied to the Drafts folder. This is the same XML that is generated by the EWS Managed API example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages" 
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types" 
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2013" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:DeleteUserConfiguration>
      <m:UserConfigurationName Name="ContosoDraftSettings">
        <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
      </m:UserConfigurationName>
    </m:DeleteUserConfiguration>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The response XML is simple and indicates whether the delete request was a success or whether an error occurred.

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