Category and Category Instances

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Microsoft Office Communications Server client application data provisioning is built on the concept of server-supplied roaming data. The client has no need to persist user data on a local client because it is stored on a server and provided to the client when the user logs on. At the time a user logs on to Office Communications Server, a process known as registering, the server provides all application data to the client through in-band provisioning. This means that a user can log on and access contact list and user configuration data from any Office Communications Server client. The user's roaming data is provisioned to the client in the form of category and category instances.

The Unified Communications Client platform supports category as abstract data types to represent generic application data, including contact and presence information, used in real-time communications and collaborations. For example, Microsoft Office Communicator uses category to define an enhanced presence model providing users with more flexibility and finer control to publish, subscribe to, and manage presence information. This new presence information model enables a set of richer features than simply indicating the availability status visible to all in the contact lists, as is done in Office Communicator 2005.

A category instance is a single item in a collection of category items known as category context. Category context can be defined as multiple instances of category grouped by a single category name. The instance represents a particular piece of information or data item. It is the category name that defines the type of data contained by the instance of that category.

To make the information available to other users, Unified Communications Client API provides a general publication framework for a logged on user to publish the category instance. To receive notifications of the information published by others, Unified Communications Client API supports a general subscription framework for a registered user to subscribe to the published information.

This section discusses the object model for category and category instances. For information about the object model for publication and subscription, see Publication and Subscription Objects.

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API Object Models