I think possibly there are multiple issues here which are getting confused. It seems to me that there is a fundamental issue with Offline Address Book and the people pane/e-mail header pane. Furthermore, there are inconsistencies in the Outlook 2013 UI with
regards to contacts in general. There are also inconsitencies in the way the social media plugins interact.
We are also currently running Exchange 2007, have had the AD thumbnailPhotos working for quite some time and had no problems at all with Outlook 2010.
While testing Outlook 2013, the following behaviour is observed:
(If cached Exchange mode is disabled, everything works exactly as expected. That is my benchmark for what follows!)
1. For GAL (i.e. OAB) contacts which have been copied to the user's Outlook contacts, the thumbnail photo displays in the contacts list, however the people pane and the e-mail header NEVER display the contact's photo.
2. If social networking plugins are enabled (let's say Facebook), the people pane and e-mail header also NEVER display the contact's social networking photo. However, the "People" view SOMETIMES shows the Facebook photo (even when the option to
do so is disabled) yet the "Business Card" view of the same contact shows the AD thumbnail!
3. On the subject of the "People" view vs. the "Business Card" view, editing a contact from the former brings up the new-fangled stark white "Edit contact" in-line pane while doing so from the "Business Card" view
brings up the old window-based contact editor from 2010. Schizophrenic and inconsistent - did Microsoft let the idiots that came up with Metro loose on Office for a day???
4. This is the clincher. Clicking on a person in the people pane, or the e-mail header, and choosing "Open Contact Card" also brings up the new-fangled stark white "Edit contact" in-line pane...but with NO details whatsoever other than
free/busy time summary (e.g. "Free for the next 8 hours").
So it seems to me that in cached Exchange mode, the people pane and e-mail header are not picking up any details from Outlook Contacts whatsoever but also they are not picking up details from the OAB either...any details, it's not just the photo.
If the OAB is deleted, when Outlook restarts, everything behaves as normal while the OAB is building. If I look at the people pane of an e-mail, all the photos are there, and clicking on "Open Contact Card" shows me all the details. If you hover
over any of the attributes such as phone number or company name, a little popup appears which says "(Address book)" (if the contact is only in the GAL) or "(Address Book, Outlook)" (if the contact has been copied to Outlook Contacts).
Interestingly, hovering over the photo only says "(From address book)" even when the contact is not in Outlook contacts and only exists in the GAL, so there is an inconsistency there.
It the OAB is then downloaded, any contacts who were already viewed in the people pane, still show and behave as above (as if they are cached somewhere temporarily), but any contacts who were not already viewed are broken again (NO details displayed in the
pop-up contact card). If Outlook is then closed and reopened, the original completely broken behaviour returns and no GAL contact has any details in the people pane or the e-mail header, even if they have been copied to Outlook.
I therefore agree that there is a bug to be fixed with OAB and it goes beyond contact photos as far as I can see. I agree that the OAB doesn't contain the photo by default (you can see this if you try to add a contact from the GAL when Outlook is properly
offline vs. when it's in cached mode but connected to Exchange), but there are in my view three separate issues:
1. In cached Exchange mode, the photo and all detail on the contact card opened from the people pane/e-mail header for people who are in the GAL is always blank.
2. If I have an Outlook Contact for a person, that should ALWAYS be displayed irrespective of whether they are also in the OAB/GAL - so even if the above issue is fixed, if I have a contact photo for an Outlook Contact that should be displayed whether or
not the OAB contains a photo for the contact. Indeed any additional data I may have added to the contact should trump what is in the OAB/GAL - these are MY contacts!!
3. If Outlook has a connection to the Exchange server (i.e. is "online" but in cached Exchange mode), I would expect Outlook to lookup the contact photo in the GAL/AD - after all Outlook is merrily querying social media sites like nobody's business,
so why would it not query my corporate address book?? I shouldn't have to synch the photo into the OAB for this functionality (and I can't see how this can be done in Exchange 2007 anyway). The only time I would expect the photo NOT to show if I am fully working
offline (i.e. no connection to Exchange) - in that case, if I wanted the photos to display I would expect to have to sync them to the OAB.
Thursday, February 07, 2013 7:51 PM
(Added even more horrific detail!)