Chapter 12. Automate Skype

Hacks 91–100: Introduction

Skype has an Application Programming Interface (API) that you can use to both extend Skype’s functionality and use its services. For this chapter, you won’t need to be a programmer, but you should be willing to roll up your sleeves and do some scripting. You will be using only simple tools readily available on your machine, though you might have to download a component or two from the Web to interface those tools to the Skype API.

This chapter will not discuss the SkypeNET API because, at the time of this writing, it had been announced but was not yet released. If you are curious, the SkypeNET API enables other third-party applications to use Skype’s chat (instant messaging) and online presence infrastructure without having to run the Skype client (as opposed to add-ons that use the Skype API, which must have a running Skype client on the same machine to work).

We will be using scripting in three different, though complementary, ways. You can mix the three methods to accomplish what one alone cannot do. First, we will use scripting to control the Skype application, specifically through its native GUI. Second, we will use the Skype API by sending the Skype application simple text-like messages, and receiving text-like messages in return. At the heart of the Skype API is a simple, message-based “send-action-reply” protocol and we’ll be using it, albeit at a simple level. Third, we will be using shell (command) scripts to automate ...

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