AOL Opens IM Network

Now you can build your own AIM client and plugins all with the blessing of AOL.
Want to build your own AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) client or plugin? You now have the support of AOL to do so. That is, unless you're planning on using it inside of a multi-instant messaging protocol client, in which case AOL does not approve.

AOL today is launching its Open AIM initiative, which includes SDKs that will enable developers to build their own AIM client and plugins for AOL's own Triton IM application.

The AIM SDK is based on the same toolkit that AOL itself uses for the recently launched Triton client and its also the SDK behind the upcoming AIM Pro client under joint development with WebEx. The AIM Pro version is expected to add calendar and corporate directory features and will also add WebEx's on demand voice, video and web collaboration features.

AIM's director of product management, Jamie Odell, explained that there are actually three parts to the Open AIM SDK initiative. AIM is providing a client SDK for third parties to built clients on the AIM network; a Triton plugin SDK for people to build plugins that add functionality to Triton client; and a Web Services component so third parties can add presence capability to their website.

Justin Uberti, chief architect for AIM, said the Open AIM initiative gives the entire developer community access to AIM's network, text, sms, voice and video capabilities. Third party applications will also be able to utilize existing user screen names and buddy list and can be secured using SSL and digital certificates to ensure secure communication.

Open AIM is not just for C++ developers either.

''We're language agnostic where possible. That means for the SDK you'll be able to use C++, VisualBasic, C#, any dot net language or anything that has a COM binding,'' Uberti told ''That could conceivably mean Python or Perl or anything like that.''

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