Last night at the Skype Developer Open House in San Jose, Skype presented the public roadmap for its API (Application Programming Interface) which outlines plans for a Web service API for Skype and the open sourcing of Skype4Com.
To end users, probably the most interesting development is a planned functionality that will allow Skype for Linux users to bypass the current login dialog (user ID and password). Skype says this capability will make Skype easier to use without a GUI.
Now let us look at what Skype is planning. Caveat: this is largely code-jock stuff, but hey, the stuff the code jocks work on today are the features and GUIs of tomorrow.
So, according to the Skype Public platform roadmap Version 7.3, Skype says that projects in development or are likely to be encompass:
Q4 2007 : Unified Directory web services
In Q4 2007, we'll create detailed specs & developer documentation for the SOAP (and maybe JSON) interfaces that allow searching for and viewing the SkypeFind directory entries.
The services are likely to be launched in Q1 2008.
Q4 2007 : non-interactive login on Linux The idea is to make it possible for the users of Skype for Linux to bypass the login dialog, making it easier to use Skype remotely. Specifying the username and password via command line parameters is not acceptable because of security considerations.
Login credentials will probably be piped into Skype from standard input, or set via environment variables. This is the first step towards enabling Skype for Linux to run without any graphic user interface. Q4 2007 : open-source Skype4COM
We'll release the complete source code of the Skype4COM library under a suitable open source license, so that developers could learn from it when building other wrappers to the Skype Client API; improve it and submit their improvements back to us for inclusion into the upcoming "official" versions of the library; or fork the library into various customised branches if needed.
The license is not yet chosen but is expeced to allow inclusion of the licensed code (with or without modifications) into a larger product which may be licensed under different terms; require any modified versions of the licensed code to remain under the same license; and, possibly, ban the use of this code in products not related to Skype (a clause that has both good and bad effects). Ideas for 2008 and beyond (no commitment).
Back-end:web-based login, token-based authentication for web apps, additional directory web services,skype4web: contacts and more;
Core P2P: video access API, Skype Prime APIs, directory APIs API usage tracking;
Client UI:reusable UI components, a public API via stdio and maybe http;
Wrappers: more support for third-party wrapper development.
Skype reads us. What features do you wish their developer teams were working on?