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Monday, 15 July 2013 08:47

App developers – Skype API will stop working soon


If you develop apps you will need to know that Skype is phasing out support for its Desktop API and phasing in support for new URI’s to assist with its plans to be ubiquitous in all platforms.

Effective before end of 2013, it is not a big deal unless your app uses a Skype API (sometimes referred to as a headless Skype) to bring voice, video, chat, contacts or messaging functionality to it.

A URI according to Skype:

Skype URIs enable developers to create mobile, web, and desktop apps that initiate Skype calls and chats. For example, if a mobile app presents a contact list that contains Skype names or phone numbers, your app can use a Skype URI to launch the official Skype client and initiate a call to a selected contact.

Skype URIs are the preferred mechanism for integrating with the Skype client, and are supported on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), and Mac OS X. Currently, Skype URIs do not interact with the Linux desktop client, Skype for Linux Version 4.0.

Importantly let us look at Skype and what is has become and where it may go under Microsoft’s ownership and direction.

Microsoft’s acquisition added a lot of credibility to Skype, previously a peer-to-peer messaging system with a perhaps an undeserved, but chequered, reputation. Network system administrators often felt that it was dangerous on corporate networks but RSA standard public key encryption to protect the user’s identity and to authenticate callers as well as 256-bit call encryption seems to be changing that perception.

Microsoft’s aim for Skype is to make it the main vehicle to manage all messaging from any source and any platform - voice, video, data, email, chat, push to talk, and provide locational services via Bing. By sheer weight of numbers, Microsoft has won this battle against all other alternatives

The final piece of the puzzle was the move to URIs and the need for users to install Skype (i.e. the headless Skype functionality built into an app is gone) and have a Skype account. This means that Microsoft has a while new group of customers it can expose to the whole Microsoft ecosystem: Office; Outlook (mail); SharePoint; Bing (watch this space as Bing functionality becomes essential to location aware apps, search and translation); Lync (watch this space as Lync/Skype gradually takes over from PSTN as usual means to make a phone call); and much more.

Simply put it is now the prime, and quite possibly only, serious contender as a universal communications client and works seamlessly with other Microsoft tools. 

It is now so heavily enmeshed into Windows Pro/RT/Phone 8 (like Bing) and via its free client on OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle, home phones, smart TV’s, Xbox, PlayStation, robotics networks and more that resistance is futile.


More a comment – do you trust Microsoft over others (like Google)? Someone has to achieve Skype’s global functionality and interoperability standards if computing and communications is to move forward to a ‘skynet’, based, always connected, future.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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