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Journal of billiob

Saturday, 12 June 2010

aMSN2's web frontend

aMSN2 is designed to offer multiple frontends so that it should be able to run on whatever you like. One such frontend is the web frontend.

The primary is not to provide you a website where you'd go and connect to MSN. Instead we want to let you host aMSN2 and run it in your web browser.

It was first designed using a webserver with php. It was working but I thought we could use directly python instead of php and embed directly a small webserver in amsn2-web.

aMSN2's design

Here is how I want to implement it, just like every other frontend:

papyon ↔ amsn2 ↔ the frontend

aMSN2 has an event loop to deal with events from papyon or the frontend. This works nicely for most of the frontends.

But the web is different.

Here is how it was working:

There are some issues here. Having to check every X ms to know if there is something to do isn't great. We have an event loop, let's use it!!


First, aMSN2 should include directly the webserver and add it to it's event loop so that when the web frontend wants something, it can reply to it right away. I've tried to do that with cherrypy.

I tell my browser to go to After few seconds, I see in the logs that cherrypy got the query.

It's a static file. It should handle it easily. But I wait and wait again and nothing happens. When I send SIGINT (Ctrl+c) to aMSN2, then the page load correctly!! Even in its own thread, cherrypy is blocking on something.

Here is the code I use to do that:

class Root(object):
    def __init__(self, inq, outq):
        self._inq  = inq
        self._outq = outq

    def index(self):
        raise cherrypy.HTTPRedirect("static/amsn2.html")

    def signin(self, u=None, p=None):
        self._inq.put_nowait(["signin", u, p])

    def out(self):
        l = []
        while True:
            except Queue.Empty:
        return l

current_dir = os.path.dirname(os.path.abspath(__file__))
cherrypy.config.update({'log.error_file': 'amsn2-web-error.log',
                       'log.access_file': 'amsn2-web-access.log',
                       'log.screen': False})

conf = {'/static': {'tools.staticdir.on': True,
        'tools.staticdir.dir': os.path.join(current_dir, 'static')},
cherrypy.quickstart(Root(inq, outq), '/', config=conf)

How I want to handle that issue.

aMSN2 should listen to (or whatever you want). When something happens, it should have a tiny HTTP machine to process the query and act just like the web frontend was like every other frontend. Then we should use “long push”. jQuery sends a query to now what's new. aMSN2's doesn't answer yet but once there is something to tell the frontend, it replies. The browser updates whatever needed based on the answer and send right away a new query to know what's new.

If you want to help me with that, feel free to contact me.

Friday, 11 June 2010

My gentoo overlay

I'm finally back on gentoo!! Gentoo didn't cope very well on my lonely netbook ☺.

I had to patch small bits of ebuilds here and there so I've created my own overlay.

It is available on github.

I'll put ebuilds of different kinds: + ebuilds for newer versions of packages not already on portage. This is the case for the teamspeak3 client for example. + ebuilds with fixes like the oss-devel ebuild which was missing a USE flag. + …

I hope the overlay will be as small as possible by having much of my patches included directly in portage.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

aMSN2's status

What is aMSN2 ?

aMSN2 is a complete rewrite of aMSN in python. It uses the papyon framework to connect to MSN servers. It is meant to be multi-frontend so that it has a native look on the operating system you use. Available frontends include :

Is it daily usable?

Short answer


Long answer

The most advanced frontend is the GTK one. It's almost usable.
The cocoa frontend needs love.
The Qt4 frontend should be almost usable soon.
On the Curses frontend, you can only see your contact list, but you won't be able to chat. The web frontend is completely broken. I plan on writing a blog post on why it's broken and how we may fix it. About the EFL frontend, I'm also an enlightenment developer so I will fix it when I'll have enough time.

but when do you give us a beta version to try it?

Each time we get asked, the release is postponed for 3 months, so now I can say it's post 2020 ☺ .

But you can help us!!

How to contribute?

The development is hosted on github. Fork us!!!

We also use codaset to deal with bugs and timelines.

Before coding on aMSN2, you may want to read this forum entry that should explain everything you need to know to contribute on aMSN2.

You can reach us on irc on the #amsn channel at freenode if you have questions about the development. We'll be happy to help you help us!