EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chat Widgets for Your Website

Because not everyone has Trillian running on their system with 9 different accounts funneled into it (seriously, I do), I wanted to make the time investment to make sure people could chat with me whenever they wanted to. I have succeeded on the EJM Designs Limited Chat page.

The bonus to providing this service is that while you need an active AIM, Google, or Y!M login, your website visitor does not.


Visit AIM's WIMZI page and sign in next to the orange question mark in the grey area above the options section (or it will not give you the source code). Then fill out your specs and click the "Create it" button to get the source code. Paste into your website.

Mine looks like this:

AIM Chat Widget

Pluses: easy setup, shows I'm connected when using Trillian. No minuses so far. Must stick to my webpage to chat, but with tabs today (I have 10 open now), not a biggie.

Google Talk Widget

Log into your Google Account and head on over to the Google Talk Widget Page. Set your Preferences, update the code, copy, paste into your website, and voila! You get this:

Google Talk Widget

Visitor will click on the link which will open a separate chat window. Pluses: Easy setup, simple styling, and even though stuck on the page isn't a detraction, I like the separate window. Flexibility. And ALT-Tab is easier than CTRL-Tab. Go about your business. Chat with me. Minuses: Because Trillian does not gobble up Google Talk, I need to be logged into this account to hear from you on my site. That happens for about 25% of the day.

Yahoo Messenger Pingbox

Go to the Pingbox studio, enter your parameters, copy and paste. Looks like this:

Yahoo Messenger Widget

Pluses: Easy setup. Minuses: FAIL. When you get to the second page of setup, every time you change the dimensions, the object id attribute changes as well, which wouldn't be an issue at all if the characters didn't change to include - 75% of the time - Chinese and other definitively unicode characters that show up as boxes and don't paste as anything other than question marks.

(sidenote: tweaks to the widget size have a lower limit of 180x320 and will repeatedly reset in the interface despite no stated limits, though change in pasted code to 160 width shows up fine.)

And once you tease it enough to hand you basic ascii, logging in through Trillian or logging in through Yahoo Mail still shows you are not logged in on the widget. Bad widget!

My only guess on this one is that you actually need to be logged in through Yahoo Messenger, though I'm not sure why as Trillian's login to Yahoo always upsets the messenger-through-mail. And because I won't download Yahoo Messenger to test this theory...FAIL!

Why do you think I've got Trillian installed? 9 IM accounts. Duh. Removed from page.

Snark aside, and Yahoo aside, the Google and AIM widgets are lovely and it's only because of the Google login that I must go with AIM FTW!

Let me know your thoughts on whether website widgets are a good idea or a pain. Should we allow anyone to contact us anywhere anytime? Ups and downs?


  1. The latest version of Trillian - Trillian Astra - handles Google Talk.

  2. Thank you for that! I'd been occasionally watching it in dev but lost track. I truly appreciate your input.