MSN Chat (2019)

Hey guys,

There are a couple of us who know the MSN Chat Protocol very well, and are able to develop a clone that can work with the existing MSN Chat ActiveX Control.
The ActiveX control works on Internet Explorer > v4, and there are some NPAPI wrappers for some versions of Netscape (v4.x), Firefox, Chrome (< v45), etc.

It’s something that definitely complements MSN Messenger, and from memory comes installed with some versions.

We didn’t know this community existed until recently, so just reaching out to say we could work together. We may be able to make the authentication work using an Escargot account.

Additionally, I can be contacted on MSN Messenger! joshua[at]davison[dot]asia

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Interesting…

(also you can just type out joshua@davison.asia)

I did it that way so that it’s less likely to get scraped by bots, not because I thought I couldn’t.

It could be considered open for a frontend (however I believe most people are unaware that Escargot is going to be its own thing soon - MSN and the other protocols we introduced will be interlinked and treat accounts and message transports as if they were the same, so MSN Chat could talk in, for example, IRC channels and not consider what kind of account you have as it’d just be generic thing frontends can still read from). However the fact that ActiveX has very slim support on anything other than IE makes it hard (remember, people would possibly want to access it from their browsers). Wouldn’t hurt to try, though. :stuck_out_tongue:

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One of the things about MSN Chat (IRCX) is that it’s backwards compatible.

As in, normal IRC clients can be connected if allowed.

Yeah I just remembered it worked on the same port as IRC and uses some of the standard commands lol.

There’s still the ActiveX issue for getting a good amount of people on the frontend, but if @valtron is OK with supporting just the ActiveX control, then I guess we could get away with that. :stuck_out_tongue:

It shouldn’t be too difficult to create a simple Javascript function to check which (if any) versions of the MSN Chat Control are installed. If none, it could offer to install (if browser is compatible), or redirect them to a HTML based client.

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Sounds good enough for me. :+1:

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Not sure how far you guys got with this but a short while ago I had a go at doing something similar. I created a crude server which listened and accepted connections from the MSN Chat OCX control. The OCX control initally attempts to connect to a server called the directory server on a specified port, it then gets directed to a secondary server and begins the standard IRC and IRCX connections. I abandoned it as I came to the conclusion in the modern world we live in no one is going to allow an ActiveX control to be isntalled on their browser. If you use the Wayback Machine you can download the very last version of MSNChat4.5 OCX from the Microsoft site.

A while ago I actually tried doing something like that (in C#) and so far I got it to authenticate and send private messages (none are relayed though). It actually took me two server processes running on different ports (directory and chat) to get my PoC working with the chat control.

I’m all in for an MSN Chat revival, as even though I never used it during its run, it still looks a bit interesting to me (protocol-wise and its interface). Also the whole “chat control being ActiveX” thing does really get in the way of properly introducing MSN Chat to a modern audience. Maybe it could just stay in the realm of that old MSN 4.x add-on, but I feel MSN Chat has more potential outside of an extension for an outdated version of MSN Messenger.

While introducing original MSN Chat might be difficult, @Floobby, a friend of mine, has been working on a service based off of MSN Chat named Snailscape. It’s goal is to reintroduce MSN Chat (or more generally, old chatrooms) to the modern world by making it compatible with old and new browsers (HTML and JavaScript hackery) alongside introducing more social features while still having that old MSN look and feel. It’s still under flux in terms of the chat applet and site (the chat applet is just qwebirc atm) but I believe if we have the right people, it could become more attractive and reach its goal. Also right now it doesn’t have any specific features and is just a simple IRC chat, but the creator and I have plans to change that. :wink: If you’re interested, the site’s at http://chat.snailscape.com

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Me and @Floobby were talking a while ago about possibly making an IRCX bridge for his Snailscape Chat project (which coincidentally is being styled off of MSN Chat lol). It’s nothing we’re considering right now as our IRC implementation will have more features and it’d be a pain to downgrade them to whatever MSN Chat can understand, but it would still be kinda cool for anyone wanting to take a crack at using the MSN Chat control and it’d just be cool in general. For now though, we’re sticking with our IRC server and HTML/JavaScript client plans.

Anyways, thoughts on this? :slight_smile: