It has not been trumpeted, but the new UC Web API, or UCWA, in Microsoft Lync Server 2013 opens a whole new field of integration possibilities. Lync Server 2013 UCWA brings Lync functionality to PC applications, web applications and embedded devices WITHOUT Microsoft Lync client being needed and without Server side component either.
In Lync 2010, if you wanted to Lync “enable” your applications or embedded devices you had one of three options:
- Interface with the Lync 2010 SDK (Con: required Lync 2010 client be present)
- use UCMA Server Side API (Con: required server install, more advanced knowledge)
- Write your own SIP stack like snom, Polycom and Damaka have done (Con: basically no normal programmer will have resources to do this)
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.
UCWA gives developers access to these Lync 2013 features at a user level:
- Group Membership
- Privacy Relationships
- Scheduled Conferences: read/write
- Instant Messaging
What are some ideas of things that will now become easily possible with Lync 2013 and UCWA?
- Write your own Linux Lync Client (or any other exotic OS for that matter)
- Web Based Lync Client
- Web Chat
- Standard SIP deskphone makers could Lync Presence enable their phone with ease
- Standard SIP deskphone/endpoint makers have a dramatically simpler path to creating endpoint firmware: just have hardware that runs a browser that supports UCWA (media support on roadmap AFTER RTM)
- BusyLight on Steroids: Want your busy light in another room? Or another location altogether?
- Add Instant Message or Presence capabilities to any embedded device that can do HTTP
What are some things UCWA cannot do
- No Audio, Video or other Real Time Media (at this time, see below)
- Only lets you connect at a user level (for example: if you can to read or set all contacts presence you will use UCMA API’s)
Below is a great introductory video on UCWA by George Durzi.
[UPDATED 2/13/2013] But What About Audio and Video?
According to the below Channel 9 video, UCWA is on the RoadMap to get voice/video/screen sharing capability over IP after Lync 2013 goes RTM.
My question has been: how will Microsoft achieve voice/video in the browser with no plug-in? According to the MSDN blog article introducing Micosoft’s first no-plugin-in CU-RTC-WEB prototype between Skype and Microsoft Lync , Adalberto Foresti notes that CU-RTC-WEB or even RTC-Web could be used:
“UCWA can be layered on the existing draft WebRTC API, however it would interoperate more easily with WebRTC implementations if the standard adopted would follow a cleaner CU-RTC-Web proposal.
Some more Excellent video about UCMA or Lync 2013 API’s:
More Lync 2013 SDK/API stuff:
Microsoft CU-RTC Web Prototype: