Building a XMPP GTalk agent

March 2nd, 2007

Many sites like twitter and imified are providing an IM XMPP / Jabber interface or an agent that can be used to send updates, messages and monitor todo lists or post blog entries. I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to explore how easy it would be to play with GTalk and plugin my own little agent running stuff for me. It was dead simple to do this using the Smack API and integrate it with Yahoo Webservices to perform tasks like checking weather reports, movie listings and stock quotes. Here is a screenshot of the agent in action. Ofcourse, right now, this is not much but here are some interesting things I learnt while hacking up this demo:

  1. It is fun to work with GTalk using Smack API (Here are some tutorials)
  2. I don’t seem to know of any REST or SOAP based stock quote / finance service. (Feature request for Google and Yahoo finance!)
  3. It would be great if IM’s had a way to allow people to either push/pull information using such personalized agents.

To make IM agents do useful stuff, we should try to provide an easy way for users to develop their own programmable shortcuts (maybe even integrating with Yahoo Pipes?). One neat example is YubNub, which calls itself a social command line for the Web. What I would really like is a ’shell script’ for the Web — a personalized agent to which I could type in a command monitor ‘akshay java’ (keyword alerts) or set specific alerts like: if (stock(GOOG) > 500) alert, if (weather(21227)==rainy) alert. Any suggestions, ideas?

[could’nt explore imified much since the account setup seems to be inaccessible]