Supporting Event Notification

Last modified: July 23, 2011

Applies to: Outlook

Because supporting event notification can be complicated, MAPI supplies three support object methods that implement the most difficult parts of the process. These methods work as a unit, and a provider must use all three or none of them.

The MAPI support methods use notification keys to manage the connections between the advise sinks and the objects that generate the notifications. A notification key is a NOTIFKEY structure that contains binary data that identifies an object across processes. A notification key is typically copied from the long-term entry identifier of the advise source object. If the client has supplied an entry identifier in the call to Advise, you can use it for the notification key. If the lpEntryID parameter to Advise is NULL, use the entry identifier of the outermost possible container object, such as the message store.

To use the support methods, call IMAPISupport::Subscribe whenever a client calls your Advise method to register for a notification. Allocate a NOTIFKEY structure and create a unique notification key for your advise source object. For example, a message store provider that is prompted to notify a client when a message is received into a particular folder creates a notification key for that folder. Pass a pointer to the NOTIFKEY structure in the call to Subscribe along with a pointer to the client's advise sink. Subscribe calls the advise sink's IUnknown::AddRef method to increment its reference count and MAPI retains the pointer until the registration is canceled.

You can pass the NOTIFY_SYNC flag to Subscribe to request that Notify behave synchronously and not return until it has made all calls to the IMAPIAdviseSink::OnNotify methods of registered advise sinks. Set this flag only for your own internal use. Do not set it when you respond to a client Advise call. Event notification between clients and providers is always asynchronous. That is, MAPI guarantees that the call during which an event happens will return to the client before any of the OnNotify calls are made.

If you set the NOTIFY_SYNC flag, do not make any changes to any of the advise sink objects, and do not pass a wrapper advise sink created by HrThisThreadAdviseSink to Subscribe. HrThisThreadAdviseSink creates a thread-safe version of an advise sink to be used with asynchronous notification only.

If an advise sink registered for synchronous notification returns from OnNotify with the CALLBACK_DISCONTINUE flag set, IMAPISupport::Notify sets the NOTIFY_CANCELED flag and returns without making any calls to OnNotify.

Once Subscribe has returned, you will no longer have any need to hold onto your copy of the client's advise sink. Call its IUnknown::Release method to release it. Subscribe returns a nonzero connection number that you should return to the client. The connection number represents the link between the advise source and the advise sink. It remains valid until the client makes a successful call to Unadvise.

When the client is ready to cancel a registration, it calls your Unadvise method. Pass the connection number from the Unadvise call to IMAPISupport::Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe calls the advise sink's IUnknown::Release method. As with Advise and Unadvise, calls to Subscribe and Unsubscribe must be paired. You must make one call to Unsubscribe for every call that is made to Subscribe. However, you do not have to call Subscribe every time your Advise method is called. Conversely, you can call it for setting up internal notifications.

When an event occurs, allocate one or more NOTIFICATION structures of the type appropriate for the event and call IMAPISupport::Notify. Notify generates a notification for each registered advise sink. You should set all the unused members of the NOTIFICATION structure to zero. This technique for initializing the NOTIFICATION structure can help clients create smaller, faster, and less error-prone OnNotify implementations.

Note that a separate NOTIFICATION structure is necessary for each event, even for multiple events of the same type. For example, if three clients are registered for table notification on a particular table and five rows are added to the table, you must create five OBJECT_NOTIFICATION structures for your Notify call. A batch notification such as this results in better performance than calling Notify five times. For each Notify call, MAPI calls the IMAPIAdviseSink::OnNotify method of every registered advise sink. If there are no registered advise sinks, MAPI ignores the call.

Service providers that send batched notifications must order them so that they can be interpreted from the first notification to the last. This ordering is especially necessary when a notification batch contains a series of events, such as TABLE_ROW_ADDED with one event that refers to a prior row that was added in another event in the same batch.