One question that I’ve been getting a lot is “should I participate in the Entourage public beta?”
First, let’s offer up a disclaimer. The public beta is just that: a beta. It’s not final. This means that there could be some bugs still lurking in there. If you’re not comfortable with this, don’t do it. You can sit this one out and let other people who like this sort of thing do the beta testing. The final version will be along soon enough.
If you’re on Exchange 2003, unless you’re connecting to your Exchange server via IMAP, you should not try the beta. If you’re on a POP or IMAP account, you can check out the beta if you want to, but you shouldn’t see any changes from existing Entourage 2008 behaviour. We haven’t touched our POP or IMAP code for this release. And I’ll be honest: if you find an issue or want to make a suggestion about our POP or IMAP support, you’re probably not going to get a lot of response from us in this beta. This beta is all about Exchange, so anything else is going to go on our list of stuff to consider in the future and not for the EWS release.
If you’re on Exchange 2007 (SP1 or later) and want to try this out, then yes, the beta is for you. If you do participate in the beta, ensure that you backup your database first. (Of course, you should backup your database at any time you do an upgrade, just in case!) That way, you can fall back to Entourage 2008 at any time if you want to do so.
Once you’re in the beta, you’ll have the opportunity to provide feedback to us. If you run into problems, you’ll be able to submit bug reports. If you have suggestions, we’ll take those too.
The beta goes live this month. Right now, the team is putting the finishing touches on it. The second that it’s available, I’ll link to it and give you some instructions for how to join me in the fun. I’ve been using Entourage EWS for months now, so it’ll be good to have some more people join me. 🙂
Edit, 20 January 2008, 11:57am: The public beta for Entourage EWS is live now.
Edited on 17 August 2009: The final version of Entourage for Web Services is now available, so you should update!