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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How Instant Messaging Works?

Instant Messaging or IM is a very popular trend among all these days. A number of instant messaging services today offer features such as web conferencing, voice over IP and other video calling features. With such features both the IM features and video calling abilities can be integrated. 

About Working of Instant Messaging

- Each IM service has its own client that may be either a browser based client or some separate piece of software.
- These clients typically work with their sole company but some are designed in such a way that they support other services also. 
- There are some other third party clients that can connect with a number of major IM services. 
- Few such examples are Miranda IM, Trillian, Adium and so on.
- The IM program installed on your system connects to the IM Company via internet. 
- Here the user’s identity is verified. This process is termed as authentication. 
- After verification, the information or the ‘messages’ can be start exchanging between the users. 
- This IM program installed on your system is called the IM client. 
- When you start it up, it connects to the IM server of its company. 
- To log in to the IM service, you need to have an user ID and password. 
- Once they are verified to be correct, you are logged in. You are connected to the IM network. 
- A list of your friends who are currently online will be displayed. Your list will be changing as per who all are signing in and out. 
- People might have set different IM status such as ‘online’, ‘offline’ or ‘busy’ etc. when you type a message to your friend and hit enter; this message reaches him after traveling from your IM client through the IM server to which it is connected.
- The messages you send reach directly to your friends. 
- A pop up IM window displays your message to them. 
- As the chat progresses further, the messages travel to and fro between the two clients with very less delay of time. 
- Consider sending a file to your friend. You attach the file to the text and press enter. 
Then your IM client will place an inquiry at the IM server to know the status of your friend. 
- If your friend is connected to internet, a direct connection to his IM client is established.
- The reason for using a direct connection is that it is much faster and efficient rather than sending files through a number of intermediate servers in case of an indirect connection. 
- Also, using a direct connection saves on bandwidth. 
- Instant messages are quite small in size and messages of a whole month may sum up to only 1 megabyte that is quite a tiny amount of space.
- This also enables instant messaging services to work equally on slow as well as fast internet connections.

How Inter-operability is supported by Instant Messaging?

- An instant messaging service can support a number of simultaneous conversations. 
- These are small applications that can cater to only small business needs. 
- But for larger organizations more sophisticated applications are required that can work in cooperation. 
- The enterprise versions of these applications provide solution to these problems.
- Some examples of larger IM applications are:
  1. XMPP
  2. Lotus same time
  3. Microsoft office communicator and so on.
- These applications can be integrated with the workflow systems.
- These applications are also known as EAI or enterprise application integration as per certain constraints such as data storage in a specified format. 
- Several attempts have been made for creating a unified standard. 

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