When I’m on my Mac I’m always signed into iChat, which PC users will know as AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). AOL customers can communicate with with each other, iChat and AIM users…..infact, all three messenger clients can talk with each other, they all contact and communicate through the same servers at AOL.
Internally (we have lots of remote workers) Ultralab (1990-2006) people are now using iChat and Skype to talk to each other to cut telephone costs now that these technologies are excellent at voice conversations across the Internet.
So on the left of this blog now you’ll be able to see if I’m online or offline.
I could not find a decent bit of code to display my current Online/Offline status which allowed the following:
- Allowed me to NOT need to submit my iChat password to an external website
- Did not use my iChat password at all
- Allowed me to create my own ‘Online’ and ‘Offline’ images
First I looked at Online Status. This service uses servers around the world which create code using your ‘iChat/AIM/AOL’ username. The generated code refers to an external to AOL server. The services offered allow you to link your own generated images, but sadly after trying 4 different server pages, this did not work for me and generic images were created. I tested the code, and it worked, it showed me online and offline, but it did not display the images I had created.
The cool thing it did was allow the user to click the ‘Online’ status and automatically start iChat and open a message window which would allow a message to be posted to me.
Sadly I realised that the servers that offer this service are referencing AOL servers, meaning if either fell over, the status would not show…..and the images I generated were not working….so I left this service to look for something else.
So then I thought, well surely if an external to AOL service was accessing AOL to pull information on the status of an iChat/AIM/AOL user then surely I should be able to get that information direct from AOL?
Another blogger from Yet Another Web Site has managed to achieve this pulling data from AOL concerning Online/Offline status.
But the code he generated does not allow the ‘Online’ status graphic to be clicked allowing the user to open iChat/AIM/AOL in order to send an instant message direct from the webpage.
So I hacked the two pieces of code I’d discovered together and managed get it to work as an alternative ‘Online/Offline status’! Obviously Yet Another Web Site has done the core work! Well done dude!
Here is my slightly adapted code, download the Text file: aol_code1.txt
Obviously you are advised to change the image URL’s to your own graphics. Check out Yet Another Web Site for some images you can use for Online and Offline status.
UPDATE 14 February 2005:The above code has since been modified by Steffen Nork. Click the following link to see the update:
iChat AOL AIM Online Offline Status – Code Updated by Steffen Nork + Send webpage URL’s