Now Playing in the Cloud
Our latest post is from Matthew Wood, our software engineering team leader, who's been spending a little time recently with XMPP (as picked up by Tom on his recent Foocamp trip). Over to Matt...
XMPP seems to have been attracting quite a lot of interest. It's how Tivos find out about new downloadable content, it's the peer-to-peer messaging protocol for Google's Android phones, and it's even been touted as the future for cloud services.
As a mechanism for passing realtime messages between very large numbers of humans and machines, XMPP also looks interesting to national radio networks that want to connect to their considerable audiences, a large proportion of which are listening live and synchronously.
To try and find out if there's anything in all this I've exposed the tracks our music networks are currently playing as XMPP events that you can pick up and play with.
You can follow these steps to get going:
• Download a tune-capable XMPP client - I've been using Psi as it has a handy XML console you can use to watch messages pass back and forth across the wires.
• Register yourself an account on the XMPP server at hug.hellomatty.com. Psi will do this for you, but only if you ask it not to 'Probe the Legacy SSL Port' when it makes a connection.
• Add a BBC music network as a buddy. Try firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or...
• Follow along with our playout systems in the comfort of your home!
Note: As Matt says, you need a standards-compliant XMPP client. I've just discovered that Adium isn't - Tristan
To achieve anything more exciting than lighting up a tooltip you'll probably want to pick up an XMPP library and knock up a client yourself. You could try building something Flashy with XIFF. Or if, like me, you're still in your ruby phase you could try xmpp4r.
Next steps are to expose more of the inner workings of radio (when programmes start and end, the 'live text' that scrolls across DAB receivers). Maybe to start spawning conversations around specific programmes ('Chat LIVE to real live Audience Members about 'The Court of King Rudolf II' would be an invitation I might just click on).
But what do you think we should expose with XMPP? And what kind of clients could you build?