Friday, November 16, 2007
It is usable in other browsers besides Mobile Safari, but it looks best in Safari-based browsers.
If you do not see "v3.20 release" below the Start button on that page, then you should try refreshing the page or clearing Safari's cache and try again.
v3.20 has the following changes:
* Better performance for large buddy lists.
* One less prompt on sign-in and first IM sent.
* Better status message display (previously it did not show status messages, just away messages).
* Better information if you are signed off because Mobile Safari suspended the page for too long (happens if you switch to another application or web page).
There were some changes to improve the performance of large buddy lists, but I can probably do more changes. Leave a comment if you still find it hard to use the web app with large buddy lists.
Also remember you can use .mac accounts -- when you sign in, be sure to add @mac.com to your account name.
I was planning to allow SSL as part of this release, but I had trouble getting it set up, and I am not sure it is a good idea, since you will only get encrypted communication to the AIM server. There is no guarantee that the path from the AIM server to your buddy is secure. So I think it is best not to give the illusion that it is a "secure IM" option. I'll be putting that feature on hold indefinitely now.
Something I do want for the next version: allowing custom status messages (not just custom away messages). Ideally, I want to work out a way for you to save those custom status messages for re-use/less typing the next time. It still needs more investigation though.
Friday, October 12, 2007
The source code bundle has also been updated.
Also, TinyBuddy IM is listed in Apple's web app directory.
I still want to do more updates for the app, but my day job and Dojo contributions have been my major focus of late. I am still looking at providing an SSL option, and an option to hide the buddies from the "Recent Buddies" group.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Get it at: http://x.aim.com/ty_source
Also, the web app now runs at:
I've set up http://tybyim.com to forward to the new location, so you can continue to use tybyim.com to access the web app. I'm still planning other updates to the code, but I need to do some other things at my day job first.
(btw: using AOL Journals mobile blogging for this post. Neato!)
Sent from my iPhone
(Update: Fixed the entry's formatting and hyperlinked the URLs. Have to figure out how to do that in email next time).
Monday, July 23, 2007
have not been implemented yet, but I am planning to get to them in a coming release:
* No Custom Away messages
* Cannot show buddies by group (only alphabetic listing).
* Typing events received from buddies is not implemented.
If you would prefer to use those features, you can keep using v2 of the UI at:
However, v3 is really nice since:
* You can use the normal one finger physics-based scrolling for the buddy list and IMs.
* It looks way nicer with iUI.
The size results for the HTML/JS/CSS: 39KB gzipped (2.6/33.6/2.5).
The images I use probably come in around 10KB in total, but not all are loaded up front.
For the next release, I'm looking at the following:
* Still pursuing open sourcing the code.
* Implement custom away message.
* Implement buddy typing events.
* Provide SSL option for all IM/buddy list calls.
* Allow sorting buddies by group and/or not showing the buddies in the Recent Buddies group.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
* Convert the UI to follow iPhone standards as demonstrated by iUI. I'm not sure yet if I can use iUI straight out of the box, but I'll be looking at it, if anything for inspiration (The main issue could be licensing/legal stuff -- if I want to open source my code, I need to have some very clear code copyright/licensing history. More info below).
* Try to open source the TinyBuddy code.
* Offer an https option, so that all IM traffic is encrypted.
*Add a preference on the sign-in screen to specify whether to use the alphabetic buddy listing or use the AIM groups for buddies.
Feel free to offer other suggestions. Keep in mind I want to stay true to these principles:
* Continue to rely on the AIM servers for logging in the user, so the code does not see the user's password.
* Make it possible to open source the code, perferably to the same standards that Dojo uses for its code (clear tracking of who added what to the codebase, offer the option of either Academic Free License or the BSD license on the code).
Sunday, July 15, 2007
The biggest change is in response to Trevor's request for grouping. I had support for showing buddies by group before I had the iChat-like alphabetical buddy listing, but I had to work out an application switch and update the styles a little bit.
The upshot: if you put a bl=group on the TinyBuddy IM URL, the buddy list will show buddies in groups:
Groups can be collapsed and expanded. Leave off the bl=group to get the normal alphabetical buddy listing.
Other things that were updated:
* If you are typing a message and a new IM comes in from another buddy, there will be a notification in the current IM pane.
* A Send button in the IM pane. It seemed like a couple people didn't realize that the bottom text box was for typing and sending IMs. I hope having the explicit button helps. It also makes makes the UI mostly usable (if a bit small) on a Nintendo Wii. :)
* Some small style changes.
I also think that .mac accounts should work since they use AIM behind the scenes, but I'm not totally sure on that. If someone with a .mac account can give it a try and post the results, I would appreciate it.
And as I mentioned in a previous post, you can register your email address to use as an AIM ID (to log into TinyBuddy IM, and to use as a valid OpenID).
Tags: tinybuddy, im, iphone, aim
My biggest problem with Blogger, is the mobile blogging. Right now, it only accepts email addresses from one of the cell phone networks. Since mail on the iPhone is just regular mail it does not work. Blogger has an email-to-post option, but it does not accept pictures.
An AOL Journal allows email-to-post with pictures, so it is a great way to get pictures off the iPhone and up somewhere. I can also use IM (TinyBuddy IM!) to post blog entries. I IM the AOLJournals bot to do it. It's like blog posting on the command line.
My biggest negative for the AOL Journal: lack of anonymous comment support. So, if you want to leave an anonymous comment, post an comment to this blog entry on my other blog: [link removed Oct. 4 2007].
(Update Oct. 4, 2007: I have rethought the value of anonymous comment support. The vast majority of posts were either spam or not on-topic, so I am removing the entry on the other blog that allowed anonymous posts. I now think it is good that the AOL Journal does not support anonymous comments. There can still be issues with authenticated comments, but anonymous comments are worse.)
However, there are some neat features about using your AIM name (or even your email address) to leave a comment on this site. You will have to register the name you want or use an existing email address, but after you do that, you get some neat capabilities:
- You can comment on this blog
- Use the name (or email address) your register to sign in to AIM (and TinyBuddy IM)
- The registered name (or email address) is now a valid OpenID
Same thing with the OpenID support -- if you go to other web sites that accept OpenID, you can plug in this URL to sign in (using the email@example.com example):
Neat, but weird.
Note: if you do use your email address as an AIM identifier, and you leave a comment on this blog, your email address may appear in the comment. I'm not sure if this opens it for collection by spam bots, but be aware that it may be visible on the page.
In a future post, I'll explain how to set up your iPhone so you can post to an AOL Journal via email, including sending a picture.
Have an iPhone, but wish you could IM your buddies? Now you can, with TinyBuddy IM. It is an AIM® Enabled web-based IM tool. It works by using the Web AIM API, OpenAuth and Dojo.
nice thing about this solution: you do not send your AIM password to me
-- you are redirected to AOL's OpenAuth servers for authentication. My
your explicit consent before accessing your buddy list data and before
sending the first IM or presence change.
So the price of this added security is pop-up windows. A new window will be popped so you can authenticate with the OpenAuth servers, and also when giving consent to the application to access your buddy list and IM. For the consent prompts, you can choose "Grant Always" to avoid them on subsequent logins. I think the pop-ups are worth the added security, and at least in iPhone's Safari, window popping looks neat. Unfortunately, the OpenAuth Sign In and Consent pages are made for larger windows, so you will have to double-tap zoom to read them.
So give it a whirl if you like. I'm sure the code it not bulletproof, and I've noticed enough weirdness with iPhone's Safari to guarantee that I will not be able to give comprehensive support. Also, even though I'm an AOL employee, AOL does not endorse this project or have anything to do with it (but thanks to my co-workers for ideas and early testing, all done of their own accord).
Also, I'm using an OpenAuth dev key, so if there is too much usage you might see some rate limit errors, but we'll see how it goes.
Some other interesting tidbits:
- The Web AIM API is a Comet API. It uses long polling to work cross-domain in the browser. I'm using more of a short poll with pauses between the polls to hopefully smooth out network hiccups on the phone.
- Don't like the CSS? You can make your own and tell the app to use it instead. Go to the test launcher page
to specify the path to your CSS. Click the Launch button, then copy
launch URL. Use that URL when you want to use the application. This
feature is not allowed for IE browsers given its security problems with
- Use the iPhone two finger scroll to scroll the buddy list and IM conversations.
- Typing IMs should be optimally sized for use with the virtual keyboard. Just type in the text box at the bottom of the IM window and press "Go" on the keyboard.
- I'm using Dojo Accordions for the IMs and buddy list. I like the use of space with that model and that I can show you incoming IM text if that IM AccordionPane is in the closed position.
- onbeforeunload does not seem to fire for iPhone Safari. That makes it hard to log out correctly, so to clear your OpenAuth cookies, be sure to use the Available, Sign Out menu item.