An Old Friend Returns in AIM 6.9

New AIM Logo

New AIM Logo

We pushed live a new AIM build last night that sets the stage for some good things in the near future.  The first change that I am glad to share is that the AIM Running Man is back.  When I started on AIM almost 10 years ago, the running man was the icon for our messaging app and remained so until 2004, now he’s back.  You will see the new running man icon all over the place including OpenAIM, and AOL properties.

AIM 6.9 also takes your AIM buddy feed to the next level by replacing the orange feed indicator icon with the “favicon” of the most recent update.  For example, if I were to upload a picture to Flickr, instead of seeing the old orange icon next to my screen name, you will now see the Flickr favicon.

New Feed Indicator

New Feed Indicator

AIM 6.9 also supports better ways of finding friends and adding new connections in your buddy list via Add Buddy and our first time user experience.

For OpenAIM developers wanting to build plugins for the latest release, we will be doing a new Open AIM SDK in the very near future with the latest API additions that coresponds to the AIM 6.9 release.

OpenAIM Props and other open items

There have been a few newsworthy items over the past week surounding the OpenAIM program.  Seeing articles titled “AOL’s IM Opens Up While Microsoft and Yahoo Hunker Down” makes me feel really good about what I have been building over the past 10 years.  We are almost at OpenAIM 2.0’s one year anniversary, and we continue to innovate in the space where both developers and consumers are going to benefit from AIM’s openness.

In the above article I mentioned, the article discusses Meebo (an OpenAIM 2.0 launch partner) launching Facebook Chat integration inside  OpenAIM gets a nice nod a couple of paragraphs later when the discussion moves to messaging services opening up.

Gradually AOL’s AIM network began to get in on the action, first with Open AIM 1.0 (which really wasn’t open at all, as it was primarily concerned with plugins and status updates) and later in 2008 with Open AIM 2.0. The second iteration of Open AIM offers third party web services like Meebo and native clients like Adium a sanctioned way to access the network.

We want to continue to reach out to the development community to give them the best in breed tools so AIM users have the best experience online whether it be via our flagship AIM Windows client or on iChat or on Meebo.

New Developer Website for APIs at AOL

Last week we launched a new home page for the AOL Developer Network.  The page has been cleaned up and navigation is much easier.  One thing we cleared up was the network that the developer network supports including OpenAIM, ICQ, Truveo, etc.  Some of you may notice a different OpenAIM logo.

Some of the improvements you see on the developer network home page will make their way into the Open AIM developer network pages too.

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 .

Get out and Vote on AIM

If it was up to you, who would you and your friends vote for? AIM Vote 2008 lets you cast a virtual ballot for Obama or McCain and then view how the other buddies on your buddylist with this plugin are voting right now.

This morning we published AIM Vote ’08 to the gallery, so get out there and make it known who you are voting for.  The vote total dynamically updates, so you can see in real time the results.

Download AIM Vote ’08 here.

And next week go from the virtual AIM voting booth to the real voting booth, make your voice count.

Open AIM 1.68 SDK

We have refreshed the Open AIM SDK, now the latest version is 1.68.  The SDK allows developers on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Win Mobile to build your own AIM client, AIM plugins as well as AIM Bots.  The SDK supports C++, C-Sharp, VB, and Java.  We have the full change log on the Open AIM developer website, but I want to highlight a few additions here:

  • Added IAccBuddyFeedManager and IAccBuddyFeed for uploading buddy feed data.
    • This allows developers to inject custom items into the buddy feed for each user.
  • On Linux, changed to look for DLLs in system path if not found in working directory
  • Cannot sign on if computer clock is significantly off.

In addition to these and many more features and bug fixes we added a full sample C-Sharp GUI based client called awshbuddy.  This reference application hopefully makes life easier for developers looking to do more with both C-Sharp as well as Visual Basic.

As with any SDK refresh we have updated all our samples and documentation on the developer website.

AIM for Mac

This morning we just pushed live a new beta AIM client for the Mac.  You can check out all the details here, but needless to say we are excited to share this application with you.  This builds on our commitment to developing software for Apple hardware, whether it be AOL on Desktop, AOL Radio or the AIM iPhone app.  Here are some of the features for client:

  • AIM Experience: Users can customize their AIM for Mac experience with AIM Expressions – Change your AIM sounds, wallpaper, emoticon set or Buddy Icon.
  • Favorite AIM Features: AIM File Transfer, Tabbed IM conversations, friendly names, AIM Groups, AIM Blast groups are supported.
  • Easy Access to Mail: With a single click, you can view your mail in AOL or AIM webmail.
  • Speed: Download, install and launch AIM for Mac in seconds.

AIM for Mac is built on top of the Open AIM platform, using the Mac SDK.

Download AIM for Mac here.

As always we appreciate feedback.

AIM Express 7…It’s Flashing Awesome!

I have been getting tons of feedback on the new AIM Express we launched last month.  The new application is really a great step forward for AIM.  Built on top of Adobe Flash and our ActionScript3 library, AIM Express gives you a rich messaging experience without having to download any software.  Since it is web base, you can use it on any supported browser (IE 6.0+, Firefox 2.0+, Safari 3.0+) with Flash 9.0.  The best part is when we want to upgrade the application, we can do it without popping annoying upgrade dialogs, etc.

If you are a developer, you can see the ActionScript library we used to build the application here.

If you just want to check out the client, it is here.

AIM MusicLink version

Download AIM MusicLink version here.

I have just posted the latest version of AIM MusicLink, version  As always you can get the latest information on AIM MusicLink via the AIM MusicLink homepage.  I have made many significant changes in this latest version based on feedback from people as well as some long standing features I wanted to add.

Here is the change log:

  • Added support for Foobar2000 version
  • Added auto-upgrade support.
  • Updated the AIM MusicLink preferences
    • Added a preference to turn off checking for AIM MusicLink Updates
    • Added a button to check for update immediately
    • Added a button to reset status, this can be used to clear stale data when a player crashes or closes at a bad time

  • Fixed bug where log folders where being written even when user did not want logging.
  • Added support for writing current song to the AvTrack object in OpenAIM.
  • AIM MusicLink is now injected into the buddy feed.

AIM MusicLink works on all versions of AIM 6.0+, but official support for this version is for AIM 6.8+.  AIM Music Link Supports the following players.

This release is a major one, so enjoy it.  Download AIM MusicLink version here.