Are there any plans to support Exchange Web Services (EWS) with Jira?

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Already does.  EWS is a system that allows users to write code that talks to Exchange servers.  JIRA supports the writing of addons that could do this.  And if you want to go the other way, JIRA has REST endpoints EWS can use.

If you are thinking of just email exchange, then you may need to enable the standard mail services in EWS - POP or IMAP (the secure versions of course).  MAPI is a protocol which JIRA will not support because it's inferior, closed and costs money.

I think the main point I'm trying to make here is "What do you mean by "support"?"

So in a nutshell, the default inbound mail handler does not and will not support EWS as alternative protocol to IMAP/POP3?

No, because EWS is not a protocol. EWS *is* fully supported as long as it uses the POP or IMAP protocols. The MAPI protocol will not be supported because it's inferior, proprietary and expensive.

Thanks for quick update. Our mail team decided to switch off POP and IMAP overnight without warning. Now we're stuck with a broken Jira as they keep pointing out they only support EWS and not POP or IMAP. We've been doing things manually for the past few days and this is killing us :(

You have no option - they need to re-enable one of the standard protocols. (If they're referring to EWS as a protocol, then I'd worry about their level of understanding of what they're doing)

I feared that this was the case. We're doomed...

I'd raise a support request with that team for EVERY single email you need to raise, or invoice them for the time you are wasting. That should get the message across that they need to support standards.

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