Best Practices for Developing a Provider

Last modified: July 01, 2010

Applies to: Office 2007 | Outlook 2010 | SharePoint Server 2010

You should adhere to the following practices when you develop a Microsoft Outlook Social Connector (OSC) provider:

  • To minimize the size of the provider download package, build the provider by using a native compiler such as C++ or any other tool that can build a COM component.

  • If you are developing an OSC provider for a third-party social network, your provider must adhere to the social network’s terms of service.

  • In your provider, create a unique user agent that is sent to the social network to track calls made by the provider to the social network.

  • The ISocialProvider::GetCapabilities method should not rely on calling the social network over the Internet to get the capabilities of the provider. Users can start Outlook offline; if the OSC calls GetCapabilities and there is no network connection, the GetCapabilities call will not return valid capabilities XML. The best practice is to store capabilities XML as a resource in your provider.

  • Your OSC provider can generate a significant volume of calls to a social network, because of the number of Outlook users and the number of mail messages read by each user daily. Depending on the terms of service for your social network, consider caching friends and activities to an Outlook folder to reduce the number of calls from the OSC to your provider and, in turn, from your provider to the social network.

  • Outlook 2010 is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Versions of Outlook prior to Outlook 2010 are available only in a 32-bit version. The default installation of Microsoft Office 2010 on 64-bit Windows is 32-bit. However, if you intend to support the 64-bit version of the OSC that is installed with 64-bit Outlook 2010, you must also release a 64-bit version of your provider.

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