The Devver Blog

A Boulder startup improving the way developers work.

My Day Project: IMShoes

Inspired by two posts _Why’s ‘so create’ and GitHub’s Start a Side Project I decided that I needed to do a quick side project. After our demo day we were taking the weekend easy and I had some extra time on Sunday. I decided that I should find a really quick project something I could really just do in one day. Since I was partly inspired by _why, I decided to take some time to learn Shoes.

“Shoes is a very informal graphics and windowing toolkit. It’s for making regular old apps that run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s a blend of my favorite things from the Web, some Ruby style, and a sprinkling of cross-platform widgets.”

I tried to think of a simple Shoes app that I could contribute to The Shoebox (a collection of Ruby Shoes apps). I saw a couple Shoe’s Twitter apps, but didn’t see any Shoes AIM apps. Since I knew a good AIM protocol library for Ruby existed (Net-Toc), I thought it would be a nice simple app.

I ran into a few problems with Shoes (getting it to work with Gems) and it seemed to have problems loading YAML files. Besides the mentioned problems it was a breeze to work with. I looked at a few different example apps from the Shoebox. I ended up using Gentle Reminder as a template of sorts for my app. So basically in couple hours on Sunday I read a bunch about Shoes, read the source code of a couple Shoes apps, and I created a very small but functional GUI for AIM. It was a great little side project that reminded me how much fun it can be to code little things once in awhile.

If you have a day off go try to write some code and contribute to one of your favorite projects. Or finally go learn a new library or framework that looks really cool and try to give something back to that community. Then write up a post and share your experience with others. The best way to learn is to go do something, quoting _why, “so create.”

So I proudly present my tiny day project IMShoes.

# A small gui for basic AIM messaging

# Author::    Dan Mayer (mailto:dan<@t>
# Site::
# Copyright:: Copyright (c) 2008 Dan Mayer
# License::   revised BSD license
# (
# Version::   0.0.1 (AKA a "alpha it sucks" version)
# Thanks::
# Ian Henderson for creating TOC, _why for Shoes, and
# Oliver for Gentle Reminder which I used to learn (as my template).

#You need to install net-toc with gem install net-toc
#then copy toc.rb into shoes/contents/ruby/lib/net for this to work in shoes
require 'net/toc' :title => "Shoes AIM",
  :width => 370, :height => 560, :resizable => false do

  #ADD your own user and password here, should allow you to do this via GUI
  @user = 'urUser'
  @password = 'urPass'

  background green, :height => 40

  caption "IM Shoes", :margin => 8, :stroke => white

  stack :margin => 10, :margin_top => 10 do
    para "Buddies", :stroke => red, :fill => yellow

    stack :margin_left => 5, :width => 1.0, :height => 200 do
      background white
      border white, :strokewidth => 3
      @gui_buddies = para

     flow :margin_top => 10 do
       para "To"
       @send_to = edit_line(:margin_left => 10, :width => 180)

     flow :margin_top => 10 do
       para "Message"
       @add = edit_line(:margin_left => 10, :width => 180)
       button("Send", :margin_left => 5)  do
         send_msg(@send_to.text, @add.text);
         @send_to.text = '';
         @add.text = '';

  stack :margin_top => 10 do
    background darkgray
    para strong('Messages'), :stroke => white

  @gui_messages = stack :width => 1.0, :height => 207

  def refresh_buddies
     @buddies = []
     @client.buddy_list.each_group { |g, b| @buddies = @buddies + b }

     @gui_buddies.replace *(
                { |buddy|
                           [ buddy.screen_name, '  ' ] +
                           [ link('Message') { set_to buddy.screen_name } ] +
                           [ '  ' ] + [ "\n" ]

  def refresh

  def refresh_msgs

    @gui_messages.append do
      background white

      @messages.keys.sort.reverse.each { |day|
        stack do
          background lightgrey
          para strong(day.strftime('%B %d, %Y')), :stroke => white

        stack do
          inscription *(
                         [" "]+
                         [" "]+
                         [link('Reply') { set_to(@messages[day][0].to_s) }]).flatten



  def set_to(screen_name)
    @send_to.text = screen_name;


  def send_msg(to_name, msg)
    msg = msg.strip
    to_name = to_name.strip

    return if msg == ''
    return if to_name == ''

    to_buddy = @client.buddy_list.buddy_named(to_name )

    if to_buddy.available?


  def load
    @client =, @password)
    sleep 3
    @messages = {}

    @buddies = []
    @client.buddy_list.each_group { |g, b| @buddies = @buddies + b }

    @client.on_im() do |message, buddy, auto_response|
      @messages[]=[buddy.screen_name, message.gsub(/<\/?[^>]*>/, "")]
      #buddy.send_im("#{message} responce")




IM Shoes Screenshot


Written by DanM

August 29, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Development, Hacking, Ruby

4 Responses

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  1. screenshots or it didn't happen

    Danno Ferrin

    September 2, 2008 at 2:36 am

  2. I added a screenshot for you.


    September 3, 2008 at 3:43 am

  3. […] My Day Project: IMShoes […]

  4. I found an old blog post that reminded me of this project… <a href="… ” target=”_blank”>


    October 28, 2008 at 1:07 pm

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