Open AIM 2.0

Over two years ago we launched Open AIM by releasing the Windows Software Development Kit that allowed developers to write custom clients, bots and plugins for the Windows AIM client. Since March 2006, we have released SDKs for the Mac, Linux and PocketPC platforms, as well as AIM Web APIs that allowed developers to build AIM onto websites via embeddable widgets, javascript, or XML.

Today we are adding more exciting ways of integrating and leveraging the AIM network. First, we are documenting the AIM protocol, known as OSCAR. Doing this will allow clients built using libraries such as libPurple, and other open source solutions to be enhanced to take advantage of all our protocol. Second, we are simplifying our license agreement, and removing restrictions to allow you to create the applications you and your users want. For example, we will now allow developers to build clients that incorporate other Instant Messaging services, using our SDKs, protocols and libraries. Third, we will allow developers to build compelling mobile applications for all different mobile devices. Fourth, we are removing limitations on developers from building business and enterprise applications. Fifth, AIM Web APIs now support php and AMF3 return formats for easier server and flash integration. Lastly, we are giving our developer website a huge face lift. On the new site, you will find better message boards, easier to navigate documentation and samples, and additional APIs that AOL has to offer. For developers the new website also will include some basic statistics of your application, plugin or bot.

After listening to you, the Open AIM Developer Community, we have also streamlined the process of building applications, plugins and bots. In the past we required developers of custom client applications, plugins and bots to provide a key and fingerprint to get their application authenticated on to the AIM network. We have simplified this by making the fingerprint check optional. In addition, all keys have unlimited usage. For the AIM Web APIs we are removing the requirement for URL referrer checks, which also means fewer hurdles to develop applications and makes for a better user experience.

By further opening up the AIM developer program, we are providing a better experience for all our users whether they are using the flagship Windows AIM client or Meebo in a Firefox browser. At the same time, we are giving developers the opportunity to build applications using best in breed tools and protocol. In order to best support these efforts and ensure that our users receive a high-quality AIM experience, we do require that developers include some specific elements in their applications. However, we have done our best to keep these requirements to a minimum, resulting in greater flexibility for developers and an enhanced AIM experience for their users. We have created a list, from which developers can pick a minimum of 2 items to integrate into their Web AIM or Custom Client application. The list includes:
– displaying advertising
– providing a link to installing the AIM Toolbar
– displaying a users expression/buddy icon as well as providing a link to letting the user set their expression
– displaying a user’s buddy info
– displaying the AIM Startpage

Developers can change out these items as they determine what best suits the needs of their users and their application. We will be adding new options to the list to further increase the flexibility available to the developer, and in the near-term will be adding other beneficial enhancements such as a revenue-share program for displayed advertising.

In conclusion, over the past two years we have seen tremendous growth and excitement over the Open AIM program, and today is just another step in giving developers the best messaging and synchronous communication platform in the world to build on. We know that for our users this change will continue to give them the choice in deciding what is the best AIM experience for them.