A Lite Story

A few people have been asking me about AIM Lite as it has been over a year since we last did a release.  I wanted to take this opportunity to clear up some stuff with AIM Lite.  The idea of a light-weight AIM client pre-dates my 9+ years at AOL, by a few months, but it really came to surface in the winter of 2006 during the AIM Triton project.

When we created AIM Lite it was done as an exercise to improve the architecture that was used to connect Open AIM to the user interface elements.  Things like displaying IMs, rendering 1000 buddies in a Buddy List, and composing IMs were improved in AIM Lite.  Now much of that knowledge resides in the AIM client, and has been available to everyone since last year’s AIM 6.5 release.

AIM Lite also gave birth to a feature everyone benefited from in June of 2008.  AIM Lite featured a type of AIM Plugin called AIM Widgets (AWI).  These AIM Widgets led us to developing AIM Modules, which are a super set of AWIs in functionality and features.

I can’t say we will never touch the AIM Lite code base again, and for those who still use AIM Lite, we have no plans to decommission it either.  Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions behind AIM Lite, and if you are looking for a simple AIM experience, check out the AIM Express client.  The best part is that there is no download for the client, as long as Flash 9 is installed.

Managing your AIM Buddy Feeds

A lot of users have been asking me about the AIM Buddy Feed that appears in the Buddy Info window.  Some people are wondering how to turn off their buddy feed, while others are wondering if they can do more with it.  First, lets look at where the Buddy Feed appears in the AIM client.

When your buddy has a new feed item an orange icon will appear next to their name:

If you click that icon, it will open up the buddy info window for that user.  You will see something like this:

The area circled in red is the AIM Buddy Feed.  In this area your friends can see what plugins you have installed or if you have updated your AIM Profile.

For those that want to turn off AIM Buddy Feeds, skip the next two paragraphs.

If you are reading this you want to know more of what you can do with your AIM Buddy Feeds.  Our buddy feeds allow you to share with your buddies stuff you are doing outside of AIM and AOL.  If you are on Twitter, Flickr or MySpace you can add those accounts into your AIM Buddy Feed.  The way to modify or manage your feed is to use our Manage Feeds page.

If you are a developer, and are wondering if there is a way to get your content into AIM Buddy Feeds, the answer is “of course!”  In the latest Open AIM SDK available on the Open AIM website, you can access the IAccBuddyFeedManager and create a new IAccBuddyFeed item.  Then using the BuddyFeedManager, you can Push that new item.

If you want to manage the privacy for your own AIM Buddy Feed, you can do this in the AIM client by opening your Preferences and choosing the Privacy tab.  There are checkboxes at the bottom of that dialog for you to check or uncheck.

Sometimes I just like to view all of my friend’s feeds at one time on one page, and we have that too.  We also have a page that consolidates all of your feeds so you can what you are doing .