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Skype offers “mini Skype” API to application developers

Aug 29, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Skype has opened up several APIs behind its popular peer-to-peer VoIP and instant-message (IM) software, in hopes of increasingly interoperability with other IM networks. The SkypeNet API allows software developers to embed “mini Skype” clients that provide presence and text messaging, while the SkypeWeb allows presence detection from Web applications.

Both APIs are available through the company's developer program.


Skype is a peer-to-peer messaging service based on free-to-download software. Skype software is best know for allowing free, unlimited voice calls over the Internet, although the software also includes an instant text messaging component. Skype users can also make toll calls to land-line or wireless phones, through the company's “SkypeOut” program, at local calling rates, the company claims.

Skype offers free-to-download software clients for Linux, Windows, Pocket PC, and Mac OS X platforms.

Why open APIs?

Skype says its newly opened SkypeNet API will allow developers of other IM software — such as GAIM, presumably — to add support for Skype chat users, without requiring a full version of the Skype client to be present. The APIs also avail IM software developers of Skype's “presence” system, which can be used to monitor the availability of chat buddies who use Skype software.

Additionally, the SkypeWeb API makes a Skype user's online status visible from any application on the Web that understands HTML, Skype says. SkypeWeb “extends Skype beyond your contact list” and lets people connect via Skype even if they are not a Skype user, the company says.

“Skype's mission is to make communicating through the Internet natural and easy to do, so in addition to voice communications we offer the power of both instant messaging and presence, which have become as ubiquitous as email over the last five years,” said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and co-founder.

More information about Skype's developer network is available at the Skype Developer Zone blog.

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