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A weird idea - any ideas where to start or look

DC Dalton
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 28, 2001
Posts: 287
Im one of those "Thats a cool idea, Ill try it" kinds. Wife say I dont know the meaning of the word "can't" or "No"....yeah well thats how I learn. Anyways I was talking to a friend the other day & he mentioned a sort of ICQ or AIM type program for a web site...just a cheaper version that only applied to anyone logged into the site at that time. He asked if I had any idea how or where to start....Havent a clue to be honest. The idea has been pestering me for several days now & now i think Id like to try it but as i said before I havent a clue where to start, if there's any open source for this or any API's that would deal with it. Ive been doing server side (mostly servlets) for a while now but really havent ever seen anything like this. Anyone out there able to point me in the right direction or maybe like to work together on this..........I think if it can be done & was done well it could be a very cool package to offer to web sites.. I called this guy again today to see what info he had when a member logged in, what kind of server, servlet engine etc. Here's what I got:
Apache on Unix
Resin engine (1.2.7)
Logged to db once member enters site:
IP Address, email address, username etc.
A Session object that is tracked by a bindinglistener
Well any ideas? I think it would be very cool to try. From what he says he only wants to have one member be able to "beep" another member if they are logged on. From what I can see sending the message is a piece of cake.....its finding the other member to pop up a small window with the message that gets kind of hairy.........Love to know what you all think.
PS He also said he doesnt want a chat or anything like that He just wants one member to be able to beep another to invite them to the chat room or other things so it would be a simple message like "Hi there, user [username] has invited you to chat in the chat room" with an accept or decline button or something (thats not really mandatory but it would be a nice extra)

[This message has been edited by DC Dalton (edited September 03, 2001).]
chanoch wiggers
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2001
Posts: 245
there are so many ways to do that its scary to even start on one in case its not the optimal choice. If I understand your problem correctly, I think I would tackle the problem with a small applet which polls the server for the list of users.
Basically, I assume that you ahve access to a database. You could make sure that the users logged in are noted in a database table. You could then have a servlet that has a SELECT * FROM usersloggedin which retrieves all the logged in users from the database. This servlet then would extract all the user name and pass the details to the applet which would view them. The applet could then have a messaging part to it, where you click on the user you want to beep and gives you a text box to enter your message
another system might be to have a small html page with no controls that calls a jsp and has an automatic refresh (like the page that comes up when you submit a message on javaranch which then automatically redirects you back to the list) the jsp could then call the code that retrieves the users logged in.
One thing to remember is that this system is not scalable, if you have more than a handful of users logged in the list will be bigger than the applet can display so you need to think about a system for only reporting a limited number of users

chanoch<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1861007736/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Author of Professional Apache Tomcat</a></p>
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16250
    
  21

One thing wrong with that picture. When you "log in" to a website, you're not talking the same kind of login you get with a LAN or a terminal session. Aside from splitting hairs about http security logins and session logins, the fundamental thing about webservers is that they not only DON'T volunteer data (outgoing messages), they CAN'T - there's nothing in the http protocol to support it.
There are a number of ICQ/IM-type open-source projects out there which may be adaptable for what you want, though. You might be able to get one to wake up to a user when a specific web page is invoked.


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DC Dalton
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 28, 2001
Posts: 287
I thought about the Applet idea but they are way to slow. I try to keep all the sites I work on as fast as possible & really try to avoid applets wherever possible. Any URLs for these open source icq/aim type projects?
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16250
    
  21

Look in the OSDN for starters - http://www.freshmeat.net and http://www.sourceforge.net
If that doesn't turn up at least half a dozen, I'll be very surprised.
 
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