Thursday, December 30, 2004

Integrating instant messengers into a website

Websites are an asynchronous media. You visit you view and maybe write a mail either via your e-mail client or via a web form. But there are times, when you want to be contacted synchronously. Some people just like being available to the world, others (e.g. sales representatives) want to have a way to directly be in contact with their customers. Whatever reason you might have to provide a synchronous contact to yourself. Here are various ways to do it.

ICQ (download)

I don't know if this is still the best or even a good IM but I started out with it and now I am stuck. However ICQ is very omnipresent.

Message Center

All of the techniques described here are also accessible though a user's message center. This is basically a web page located at

which stores about all information about the user.

Sending a message

If you also have ICQ installed you can have links everywhere on the web which will open up your ICQ providing a chat window to the addressent. Those links must look like this:

Adding user to your contact list

Same thing as above: Interaction with your ICQ to add a user. Uses the following link:

to do so.

Skype (download)

Skype is currently the best tool I know for VOIP-Telephoning. Recently with their first stable release, you can also globally call into the telephony-networks. It uses pretty little bandwidth and is completely free of charge if you stay on peer-to-peer VOIP-calls.

Calling a user

You can embed simple links into your website, which (if Skype is installed on the client) open up Skype and initiate a call to the user. The Links must look like this:


AIM (download)

AOL Instant Messenger was probably second most popular, when I was using it back a few years ago.

Send a message

Just like with ICQ you can directly send a message through you client installation of AIM to the addressent by clicking a link like:



I know that I have currently been missing out on other instant messengers like MSN or Yahoo now. Sorry for that maybe later. Also you may always want to integrate a chat, possibly on an IRC base.