Friday, June 16, 2006

 

4 Easy steps to start programming with Boxely

The AOL's Boxely environment lets you develope a rich client side Windows application, and supports many features.
Many of them can be found Here.
In order develop an application which supports most Boxely features, you actually don't need a compiler, but only a simple text editor (and maybe some Java Script debugger program).

So where do I get this runtime environment you ask?
and how do I start programming?

Step 1:
Download the Boxely runtime environment.

Download the AOL's AIM Triton 1.5 instant messaging software from the AOL's AIM site .

The new AOL IM software is written using Boxely, and installing it actually installs the entire Boxely runtime environment.
The environment will load into memory your XML box files (more on this later), and will start the application for you.

Step 2:
Finding the root box file.

Search for a file named blab.box under c:\program files\common files\aol

Wait! do not look for it directly under the directory above, but rather run a search through the directory tree.
The file is actually much further into the folder hierarchy, and I hope to get into explaining some of this hierarchy logic later.
For the time being, you just need to know that this file will be the starting point of your application. your main() function if you like.

Step 3:
Writing down your application.

The blab.box file is the main entry point for the AOL IM client.
If you'll go over it carfully, you can see that it actually describes the layout and behavior of the application's main window.
So... Although Boxely is not yet out, and we don't have a way to load out box files into memory and start running them, We can replace the code of the blab.box file with some code of our own, and create this type of service for us.

I'll show an example for such a program in my next post.

Step 4:
Running the application.

Simply run the AOL AIM Triton from its shortcut.

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