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Macromedia Central and AOL / AIM / ICQ

Last week at the MAX Keynote, AOL and Macromedia announced that it would be opening it IM (AIM / ICQ) network to Central developers. This is the first time that AOL has ever opened its network up to outside developers. Throughout the conference we showed a number of applications using the Presence SDK (the AIM / ICQ functionality). These apps included an early working version of a Central AIM / ICQ client, as well as an auction application that allowed buyers and seller to directly communicate, and a modified blog reader application that allowed readers to send comments to writers.

Ray Ryan and I also did a number of sessions on the Presence API. Ray is the engineer from AOL who is building the AIM / ICQ API within Central (it is implemented as an Agent). Ray showed some of the apps mentioned above and also went over some simple code examples that demonstrated how to use the API.

I am very excited about this partnership with AOL for a number of reasons. First, the ability to tap into AOL’s IM network is super cool, and opens up a ton of possibilities. Right now, everyone seems to be focusing on instance messaging apps and chats, but I like to think of it more as a way to transfer information between clients (with IM and Chat just being one type of message sent). Since the network is open to developers, they have control of what data is sent and how to handle that data when it is received. More on this later…

I am also excited because AOL believes enough in Central to put their weight behind it. From a pure distribution standpoint, this will be a huge win for Central developers, as AOL has millions of subscribers. Couple this announcement with Intel’s use and support of Central, and I think you can start to see a pattern emerging.

The AOL Presence API is slated to be available this winter, with the AIM / ICQ application released sometime in the Spring. We will have a lot more information on this in the coming weeks and months.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments.

You can find more information on Macromedia Central here.

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