TwitterMan updated

I have a new version of TwitterMan that I posted to the AIM Gallery today. This version includes additional features like viewing your friends timeline and being notified of when your friends have posted a new status message. The flyout showing your friends timeline contains your friends icon, link back to your friends feed, status message, and of course the time the tweet was sent.

Download TwitterMan 0.5 here.

If you are new to Twitter, the first friend to add is the MarsPhoenix lander.  Its fun since the lander is tweeting in the first person.

Refreshed Open AIM Forums

We refreshed all of the developer network web sites this week. This upgrade included a refresh of the Open AIM forums. After feedback both from my team as well as developers on the network, we needed to make some tweaks to give all of us a better experience. With the changes in place, the forums are a great place to get the latest help and info on building on top of the Open AIM platform.

Check out the forums here.

Witness the Core

Debugging AIM plugins is always a challenge. If you are writing a plugin for Windows AIM clients that are C++, C# or VB or what we call native plugins, you simply attach the Visual debugger (ctrl-alt-p) is the shortcut key combo, to AIM 6.8. Place your breakpoints in your project and you are all set to debug. For developers writing simple plugins using javascript like plugins via AIM Widget development, debugging requires breaking into JScript.

To be honest, this sucks if the all you are looking to do is peak into the way the Open AIM APIs work and maybe see why your plugin is not getting events. CoreWitness is just the plugin to make your life suck less. It gives you the ability to trigger specific events or dumps properties of objects in Open AIM.

The plugin was written in C++ and has the nice feature of self checking for updates, so as we add new objects or events to the Open AIM API, you will be the first to know. As I say, sometimes the best plugins are the utilities that let you see how we are doing things on AIM.

Download CoreWitness here.

Open AIM Developer Contest Results

When we launched Open AIM 2.0 in March we announced a contest being run through TopCoder that was part of the launch where AIM gave away $100,000 in prizes, and some t-shirts along the way. We saw dozens of really top notch submissions and judging them was no easy task.

Last week at the Top Coder Open in Las Vegas we announced the winners, the top 9 got to split the $10,000 each while 20 runners up got $500 each. Winning submissions ranged from whiteboarding plugins to an IM translation tool to a viral video sharing web site via web AIM APIs.

Here is the winners list:

  • IM Remote – Screen to screen desktop sharing over AIM.
  • IM Loud: This plugin reads IMs out loud to the user.
  • IM Whiteboard: Use AIM as a whiteboard and simultaneously draw with buddies.
  • LinkPreview: Thumbnail link previews when hovering over a link sent to you in chat.
  • Free2IM: Provides automatic, on-the-fly language translation back and forth over IM.
  • Infomess: Chat and share videos at the same time.
  • Share-A-Map: Share and collaboratively edit MapQuest maps. Giving someone directions will never be the same…
  • PopsChat: Bound to score points with TopCoder users, this plugin brings AIM chat and features to the TopCoder Arena (a chat and messaging area).
  • FeedReader: An RSS feedreader for AIM.

Congrats to all the winners. AOL is actively running a competition right now with TopCoder, this time for developers wanting to build video search applications via Truveo APIs.

AIM Express 7.0 Beta

Today we are launching a new version of AIM Express. This version, 7.0 is a beta and is built on top of the Open AIM WimAS3 library that we released back in March as part of the Open AIM 2.0 announcement. This Adobe Flash based application allows you to use AIM any where you have an internet connection and not have to worry about downloading the full AIM 6.8 client.

As we posted on the beta website…

Although this application will work with most versions of Adobe® Flash® 9, we highly recommend you upgrade to the most recent version of Flash, as older versions have a serious security flaw. The upgrade is available here.

Check out AIM Express 7.0 Beta here.

Let us know what you think of AIM Express 7.

Open AIM Web Site Updates

We updated the Open AIM development website today based on some feedback from developers as well as to correct two minor bugs with our source code samples. The big addition is to post our Visual Basic custom client sample to the web page. You can now view how to build a VB custom client and how to implement preferences, send IMs, view Buddy Profiles and more.

The other change we made was to our technotes for Buddy Info and seemless sign on to expressions and AIM startpage URLs.

As always we appreciate the feedback on our development website so please share what we can make better below. If there are specific samples people are looking for we can add them as well.

Open AIM and Adobe AIR

Recently an article was written on AOL’s Developer Network site, showing how you can use our Web AIM API ActionScript3 library to build your own AIM client. When Open AIM launched I mentioned that we added Flash AMF3 return values to our Web AIM APIs. In the article the author shares a step-by-step process to getting your environment set up and importing the necessary APIs. In the end you have built an embeddable chat application.

Check out the article here.

“Open AIM is the Most Open Synchronous Platform in the World”

The above post title was a comment that Dave Recordon from SixApart made during his talk on Thursday at Web 2.0 Expo on Open Web 2.0 Platforms. In his talk he pointed out how AIM was the most closed, “walled garden” messaging network in the space 3 years ago. Now AIM is the standard in building an open synchronous network, from our SDK, Web APIs or documented protocol you can build on top of our network if you are a Linux C++ developer, an iPhone Objective-C developer, a Flash developer or PHP/Script jockey. Thanks Dave for the kind words.

Open AIM is not the only property at AOL getting love today. Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch wrote a cool article about AOL’s strong growth in our sites. The reason for this growth is all the revamping we have done on sites like webmail, and even Things are definitely getting exciting here at AOL as we continue to build on the success of our open platforms and products.

Live from Web 2.0 in San Francisco

After last years Web 2.0 Expo where I only saw business development and product management people, I had little hope for Web 2.0 this year to be the technical juggernaut OReilly promised. I am glad I was wrong. This year there have been few, if any, vaporware announcements and developers are all over the place. We continue to see tremendous interest in Open AIM and we have fantastic swag to hand out at our booth in Moscone West.

Yesterday’s keynotes were really quite good. Microsoft showed off Live Mesh, which is very interesting as a content distribution tool and storage backup. If I take a picture on my mobile device from the conference, I can use Live Mesh to share pictures instantly with all of my ‘mesh.’ Mesh will run on XP, Vista, and eventually it will run on mobile devices and Macs. Microsoft, internally, has 6 mobile devices and Mac support working and say it will be released later this year. Clay Shirky spoke about how today’s youth spends their free time and how interacting with entertainment is important for them, not sitting idly in front of the TV. Max Levchin from Slide defended his company’s $500 Million valuation and how Slide is staying ahead of the curve with regards to monetization. He believes business models being used in Asia in the form of micropayments and premium services will be the next phase of Slide and other social network apps revenue streams.

Edwin Aoki spoke in front of 4000 people about Open AIM. He borrowed parts of my talk on the History of Open AIM which is a case study of how and why we opened up our APIs. Edwin did a terrific job and it was awesome to have an audience this size hear about AIM.

New AIM Gallery Apps

We are starting to see some cool results with the Top Coder Open AIM competition where we are giving $100,000 in prizes and some t-shirts as well. Recent additions to the AIM Gallery include an IM Whiteboard plugin, a very cool mashup that allows you to chat with buddies while watching videos, and a neat bot that tests your skills in math and logic. You can find these submission and a bunch more at The site also is host to many other Open AIM plugins, clients, bots and mashups that the community has built. Check out all these apps and more here.