IM

Introducing the Unified Communications Web API (UCWA)


The Unified Communications Web API (UCWA) is a new REST-like API to enable real-time communications over the web on Server-Side based works for Microsoft Lync on-primes and it is not supported for Office 365 till now.

The new UC Web API, or UCWA, in Microsoft Lync Server 2013 opens a new way of integration with many other client platforms. Lync Server 2013 UCWA brings Lync functionality to desktop applications, web applications and embedded devices with no need for Microsoft Lync client being installed and without Server side component either.

As you could remember with Lync 2010 if you want to create a client application for desktop or PCs you should use the Lync 2010 SDK and host it in any type of user interface like WPF or Silverlight also if you want to create and Add-Ons for the Microsoft Lync Server you need to use the UCMA but now UCWA makes customizations possible on any platform, device or application that can talk http and no browser plugin or ActiveX or Lync client is required with UCWA.

Features of the Unified Communications Web API (UCWA)

  • UCWA removes programming language dependencies.
  • No browser plugin required and No ActiveX dependency.
  • Lync client does not need to be running.
  • Built on top of UCMA.
  • REST-like API to create and work.
  • Simple data structures.
  • Embrace HTTP as an application layer.
  • Resource-oriented programming model.

What Developers Could Do and Access Using UCWA

  • Presence
  • Group Memberships
  • Contacts
  • Privacy Relationships
  • Scheduled Conferences
  • Search
  • Instant Messaging

What Developers Could Do and Access Using UCWA

  • No Audio, Video and any other media
  • No Conferencing only User level interaction
  • No Application Sharing

OAuth Token

The cool thing with the UCWA it Attempt to locate Autodiscover service and the Requested is redirected to OAuth endpoint to get a token and we have the features of the OAuth i.e. provide user credentials, Token is attached to every request header and Token establishes the user’s identity.

The (Representational State Transfer) REST has an Architectural pattern that sees the internet as a collection of resources available at unique locations (URLs\HREFs) so this approach is very great to enable us to create different types and models of applications for different platforms i.e. Linux Lync Client, Web Chat Lync client and Add Instant Message or Presence capabilities to any embedded device that can do HTTP.

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Microsoft Lync Server


Microsoft Lync Server (previously Microsoft Office Communications Server OCS and Microsoft Live Communication Server LCS) is an enterprise real-time communications server, providing the infrastructure for enterprise instant messaging, presence, file transfer, peer-to-peer and multiparty voice and video calling , ad-hoc and structured conferences (audio, video and web) and, through a 3rd party gateway or SIP trunk, PSTN connectivity. These features are available within an organization, between organizations, and with external users on the public internet or standard phones, on the PSTN as well as SIP trunking.

Versions History

  • 2013 – Microsoft Lync Server 2013
  • 2010 – Microsoft Lync Server 2010
  • 2009 – Office Communications Server 2007 R2
  • 2007 – Office Communications Server 2007
  • 2006 – Live Communications Server 2005 with SP1
  • 2005 – Live Communications Server 2005, codenamed Vienna
  • 2003 – Live Communications Server 2003

Client software and devices

Microsoft Lync is the primary client application released with Lync Server. This client is used for IM, presence, voice and video calls, desktop sharing, file transfer and ad hoc conferences. Microsoft also ships the Microsoft Attendant Console. This is a version of the Lync more oriented towards receptionists or delegates / secretaries or others who get a large volume of inbound calls.

Other client software and devices include:

  • Lync Communicator Mobile is a Mobile edition of the Lync Server 2010 client and designed to offer similar functionality including voice calls, instant messaging, presence and single number reachability. Clients for all major platforms including the IPhone are being developed
  • Lync Communicator Web Access is a web instant messaging and presence client. This version works as well on IE, Firefox and Opera browsers.
  • Microsoft RoundTable is an audio and video conferencing device that provides a 360-degree view of the conference room and tracks the various speakers. This device is now produced and sold via Polycom under the product name CX5000.
  • LG-Nortel and Polycom also make IP phones in a traditional phone form factor that operate an embedded edition of Office Communicator 2007. The physical plastic phones as referred by Microsoft are also named Tanjay Phones.

Features

One basic use of Lync Server is instant messaging and presence within a single organization. This includes support for rich presence information, file transfer, instant messaging as well as voice and video communication. (These latter features are often not possible even within a single organization using public IM clients, due to the effects of negotiating the corporate firewall and network address translation). Lync uses Interactive Connectivity Establishment for NAT traversal and TLS encryption to enable secure voice and video both inside and outside the corporate network.

Lync Server also supports remote users, both corporate users on the internet (e.g. mobile or home workers) as well as users in partner companies. Lync supports “federation” – enabling interoperability with other corporate IM networks. Federation can be configured either manually (where each partner manually configures the relevant edge servers in the other organization) or automatically (using the appropriate SRV records in the DNS).

Microsoft Lync Server uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for signaling along with the SIMPLE extensions to SIP for IM and presence. Media is transferred using RTP/SRTP. The Live Meeting client uses PSOM to download meeting content. The Communicator client also uses HTTPS to connect with the web components server to download address books, expand distribution lists, etc. By default, Office Communications Server encrypts all signaling and media traffic using SIP over TLSand SRTP. There is one exception to this – traffic between the Mediation Server and a basic media gateway is carried as SIP over TCP and RTP. However, if a hybrid gateway is leveraged, such as one from Microsoft’s Open Interoperability Site, then in fact everything is encrypted from all points if (SSL certificates are configured on the gateway and TLS elected as the transmission type).

IM is only one portion of the Lync suite. The other major components are VOIP telephony and video conferencing through the desktop communicator client. Remote access is possible using mobile and web clients.

Several third parties have incorporated Lync functionality on existing platforms. HP has implemented OCS on their Halo video conferencing platform.

Microsoft released Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 in February 2009. The R2 release added the following features

  • Dial-in audio conferencing
  • Desktop sharing
  • Persistent Group Chat
  • Attendant console and delegation
  • Session Initiation Protocol trunking
  • Mobility and single-number reach