AOL Refreshes Open AIM Developer Program

instant messaging

Open AIM 2.0 offers free SDKs and APIs that support third-party chat services, as well as instant messaging applications designed for mobile, enterprise and international use. Two Web-based messaging providers, Mountain View, Calif.-based meebo and Amsterdam-based eBuddy, were the first to sign on to the new program.

One of the key components of the new program is AOL's publication of the proprietary instant messaging and presence information protocol used by AIM, the OSCAR protocol. By opening OSCAR developers can build compatible, secure AIM services for use on platforms that also host other chat services, both on the desktop and on mobile devices. OSCAR, in AOL's first Open AIM initiative, had remained closed to developers.

The program still comes with restrictions, however, which may incur lethargy in developer adoption. AOL stipulates that if any application attracts more than 100,000 total simultaneous users, the developer has to integrate AOL's advertising into their user interfaces.

Programs garnering less than 100,000 simultaneous users still face requirements. Those developers will have to include at least two of the five following features: support for AIM Expressions with a link to an AOL-hosted AIM expressions web page, bundling of AOL's AIM Toolbar, support for AOL's AIM Start Page Launch, AOL advertising, or support for Buddy Info.

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