Virtual-Presence.org

BumpIn

02.06.2008

I just ran into a (relatively) new browser sidebar, that lets people chat on web pages. My #9 on the browser-extension-for-chat-on-web-pages list. It looks very nice, includes a buddy list, and a discussion feature where you can discuss about all web pages. So, you can actually leave notes on a web page and othe rpeople can comment. BumpIn also provides a Web Widget that can be integrated into web pages as a chat channel on the page, comparable to so called "shout boxes". On top of that, BumpIn has a zero-install mode where the target page is iframe-d. That makes it my #6 prefix-your-URL-and-get-an-IFRAME system.

"Often we cross paths on the Internet, now we can BumpIn! Ever wondered who else is doing the same thing as you on the Web? Wanted to connect with those who share your interests? Now you can BumpIn! BumpIn lets you discover people with similar interests, chat with them and make friends. BumpIn will redefine the concept of social browsing and networking."

BumpIn is primarily programmed in Flash/ActionScript. It requires the Flash 9 player.

The protocol seems to be pretty straight forward. Requests go with mimetype application/x-www-form-urlencoded. Responses are XML. If I send a "testchat" on the web site "http://www.heise.de/newsticker", then the form-POST looks like:

      server=bumpin_saosy
      &from_mailbox=mailbox_cbort
      &mtype=broadcast
      &nick_name=Wolfspelz
      &text=testchat
      &url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eheise%2Ede%2Fnewsticker
      &uid=252944
      

The response is basically a "ok, thanks":

      <message>
        <rtype>response</rtype>
        <mtype>r_broadcast</mtype>
        <reply>success</reply>
        <reply_url>http://www.heise.de/newsticker</reply_url>
      </message>
      

Half a second later I see a www-form-urlencoded request:

      server=mailbox_cbort
      &mtype=get_msgs
      &digest=a96280cb4075d60f30d6e02db0db5588
      &uid=252944
      

And my chat text in the response:

      <message>
        <rtype>response</rtype>
        <mtype>r_get_msgs</mtype>
        <reply>success</reply>
        <msg>
          <type>broadcast_msg</type>
          <from_uid>252944</from_uid>
          <text>testchat<</text>
          <from_url>http://www.heise.de/newsticker</from_url>
          <from_mailbox>mailbox_cbort</from_mailbox>
          <nick_name>Wolfspelz</nick_name>
        </msg>
      </message>
      

BumpIn seems pretty solid. My impression is, that we are approaching the second generation of these browser based virtual presence tools. BumpIn has the necessary features. I am tempted to say the "usual" features, like chat, buddies, discussion, but not much more. It looks like the developers have seen earlier tools and that they just did the right things omitting ballast and special gimmicks. In other words: the typical feature set seems to settle down.

No company address is given, so I have to guess, sorry guys. The BumpIn domain is registered to a Pakistani address. That fits to the team page, which is quite cool actually. BumpIn went into beta in 2007. It's out now. Still small scale, but if the blogosphere picks it up it can soar quickly.

BTW: I am curious when we see the next avatar/chat balloon system. BumpIn is still in the typical sidebar/chat-in/chat-out paradigm.

BumpIn.com

 

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