About the aim URI Scheme

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Errr...How did I get here?

Some of you may have ended up here by clicking a little icon [ AIM ] somewhere on my site, you ended up here because your browser somehow misunderstood the link and generated a file not found error on my server. Read on, for what was supposed to happen:-)

The rest of you found this document by a more intentional means. So here are a few notes about this protocol or AOL Instant Messenger URI Scheme.

If you want to skip right to the benefits, install a compatible IM and make sure your browser is configured for to handle the aim: URI scheme. The official AIM from AOL should configure this for you, iChat apparently does this as well. Then you can go back to my main page and click that little icon to begin a chat.

You can download the AOL instant messenger, or as the protocol is increasingly open, you may have a compatible IM already. They change all the time, so check out your favorite IM site. I can say iChat is compatible, as is Trillian the last time I checked, and then there's the Gaim Open Source project.

On the More Technical Side

The basic anatomy of a URI/URL; and specific components of the AIM URL scheme.

A typical HTTP scheme you should be familiar with:

scheme = http (Some schemes use that double slash, some don't)
authority =
path = /webhelp/
query = [none] (This is data normally passed to a program.)

The AIM Scheme: aim:GoIM?screenname=rock13dotcom

scheme = aim
authority = [none] (As I understand the URI Specification.)
path = GoIM
query = screename=[your_screen_name]

Technically, the path component of a URI scheme is optional so I am not sure why it is used here. Aside from the possibility of future expansion, e.g. rather than GoIM we might use something else to perform other aim related functions. On the other hand, a generic im: scheme would have made more sense, then the authority or path components could be used to specify certain IM clients or perhaps even servers for web-based (like AIM Express) chat without an installed IM client.

If you're ready to try out this AIM URI scheme: AIM : rock13dotcom

Further Reading

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