slayeroffice - web experiments gone horribly awry

05.10.2006 - AIM Pages Beta

It's been quiet around here for a while, and there is a very good reason for it. About a month ago I switched to a new team at work who have been working on what is easily the most complicated and challenging javascript project I have ever had the fortune of being involved with.

Today marks the beta launch of AIM Pages, AOL's new social networking initiative. Go and check it out - its free and honestly, pretty damned cool. All you need is your AIM screen name to log in. Once there, hit the "Create a Profile Now" link to get to what we call "Publisher". This is the part I've been involved with.

Here is where you get to drag and drop all sorts of nifty modules (think dashboard widgets on the web. See the microformat definition for them here), style the page, apply themes and whatnot. Once you've decided on a look, just hit the "Publish" button and an XHTML document will be generated and put out on the web at aimpages.com/yourScreenName/.

The coolest part of Publisher are the modules themselves. I've started converting several of my existing games into modules (which isn't terribly difficult, mind you, since its just XHTML and Javascript), and the whole thing is completely wide open. Anyone can write a module and upload it, allowing anyone else to include it on their page. So far there is everything from Flickr and del.icio.us feed displays to a version of AIM Fight -- the sky's the limit with these, really. If you're a developer I encourage you to try your hand at a module, especially if you're a fan of the javascript and the web standards. (We're using Dojo with this, by the way). And if you're not a developer - can you think of an easier way to add an RSS feed to your page besides just dragging one to it? Me either!

Some documentation on getting you started with AIM Page Modules:

So, give it a whirl and let me know what you think. There are a lot of features still to be added, and you may hit the occasional bug, but its in a really solid and usable state all the same. Currently supported browsers are MSIE6 and Firefox/gecko based browsers. Safari support is in the works.

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