Posts Xbox Friends Thing + Windows / MSN Messenger... Bringing the two together.

Xbox Friends Thing + Windows / MSN Messenger... Bringing the two together.

I've just finished adding the first round of features to Xbox Friends Thing that will bring in some features of Windows / MSN Messenger directly into the user interface.  New sets of icons to reflect those users who are online and in both lists.  The icons also reflect similar to those in MSN Messenger as their state changes.  Right click on a gamertag (oh yeah... that's new too ;-) ) and select Send an Instant Message.  There's also the addition that whenever you view the gamertag information, it will check your MSN Messenger list to see if the MSN contact information is already there.  If not, you have the option to add it.  I've also changed the configuration from a field to enter your own MSN contact information to a checkbox that allows you to share your MSN contact information; thus removing typos.

I have to say, I'm impressed with the results so far... it's going to save me a ton of switching between the two applications when trying to coordinate games.

Also, you might be asking... why not just add IM features directly into the application?  Well, let me tell you some of my thinking.  First, in order to use Xbox Friends Thing, you have to have a Gamertag.  In order to access the information associated with your Gamertag, you must have Linked Your Gamertag with your .NET Passport account on  So, you must have a .NET Passport account, which means you don't need to create anything in order to use MSN Messenger.  Also, with the various IM clients that exist today, why in the world would I try to even compete and build one from scratch.  My thinking is that why not leverage the exposed features of an already solid IM client... not to mention, one that is pretty much installed on every machine that Xbox Friends Thing is compatible with (whether your using it or not as your primary IM client.)

I'm not the first person to have this sort of thinking... although they are Microsoft products, Outlook Express and Outlook both integrate MSN Messenger within their applications.  There's even a plugin for Visual Studio .NET that does the same thing.  What makes Xbox Friends Thing stand out from those crowds is that the only people shown in the IM list are those that are also on your Xbox friends list.

Not ready to release this version just yet, but I am very interested in hearing anyones thoughts on this.  Also, if you've done something similar, please let me know what (if any) pitfalls you've encountered doing so.

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