FEEDBot: Central 1.5 AIM SDK Sample App

With the developer release of Central 1.5 with the AIM SDK today, I have something that should help jumpstart your interest to what is possible when actually utilizing one of Central 1.5’s newest features, the AIM SDK.

What’s is it?

FEEDBot is a “bot”, otherwise known as an instant messenger user that is computer run. You speak commands to the FEEDBot like you speak commands to chat engines, such as IRC. FEEDBot, currently, allows you to subscribe to Atom feeds from your favorite blogs (RSS not supported yet). FEEDBot will send you the blog’s latest entry when the blog is updated with a direct link to the blog’s entry on the hour, every hour.

Instead of you having to go to the blog’s website, an aggregator that carries the blog’s feed, or install blog reading software, you can merely have the “bot” on AOL/AIM send you an instant message.

How does it work?

FEEDBot utilizes Central 1.5 with the AIM SDK, but in a unique way. Rather than installing an application and using it like one typically does with Central, you instead install the application as a server. At that point, you merely log onto the AIM/AOL network as your user name which you’ve specifically created to be used as a bot. Typically, these names end in “bot”, like “MyFeedBot”, or “BlogBot”, or whatever is obvious enough to state the bot’s purpose in life when a user see’s them on their buddy list. This allows people to utilize your bot from AOL rather than having to install Central 1.5 along with your application; all they need is their existing AIM username account, and whatever IM software they already have installed.

Once logged in, users who have the bot as their buddy will see the bot come online in whatever software they use to connect to the AIM network (AOL, AIM, Trillian, etc.). If they are buddy’s of the bot, they can then IM commands to it. You do this the same way you IM any other friend on your buddy list. In this case, your IM’ing commands to subscribe and unsubscribe to Atom feeds for blogs.

Therefore, if you wish deploy your own version of FEEDBot, you’ll need to do the following, in order:
– create a new AOL/AIM username
– install Central 1.5
– install the Central SDK
– install the AIM SDK
– install the AIM Central Application
– obtain a product ID for your AIM app for Central
– create the product.xml file from the template I gave
– make sure the TestBot class has your bot’s AIM username set
– make sure the AIMDetector class has your email address that was approved to use the AIM SDK set
– deploy to your server, and install the application into Central
– log onto AIM from Central
– add buddies that you wish to be allowed to use the FEEDBot
– done! Users can now subscribe to Atom XML feeds from blogs and have entries IM’d to them

Please keep in mind to deploy our app for real, it must meet the AIM license requirements. Applications utilizing the AIM SDK cannot be free.

What is the future?

Anything Flash & Central can do, so can a user sending commands to a bot. If Central can access the weather via a web service, so too can this information be IM’d to an AOL user online who cares to know such information. Since the application can save Flash cookie’s to the server machine, so too can session and specific information be saved about the users utilizing the services as well. The possibilities and potential are grand, indeed.

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