12 February 2011

Yahoo Messenger For Vista: A Portable WPF Based Yahoo Messenger You Can Use in XP, Vista and 7

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Splash Logo

Ok, this is an oldie but goodie for WPF fans. Back in late 2006 when Yahoo was still mighty and a tad bit pretentious, they decided to start making a version of Yahoo Messenger only for the still somewhat new Windows  Vista, or so they thought then. They released if I remember right 1 alpha and 1 beta during 2006-2007. By late 2007  after some months of silence on the subject, they announced they were discarding the idea altogether.

Yahoo Messenger for Vista is a .NET/WPF 3.0  based Portable (Folder Contained) Instant Messenger Client for the Yahoo IM Network.  Originally artificially limited to Vista Users, it is one of the most interesting explorations by a big IM network to make a premium Windows Only client in .NET tech considering the year it was originally thought out.

You can now run it without installing it and not just in vista but in XP and 7. One of the most interesting aspects of this Yahoo exploration of WPF was that it was a dynamic and rich but easy and simple  client that was meant to integrate the best with a Aero Enabled Vista Desktop. Thing it achieved in spades I must say. Even when seen from a Aero Enabled Windows 7 Desktop, The thing just looks nice with its WPF Lush colors and Aero Transparent borders. 

How To Run It

It is really easy, just download the ZIP file from the download page linked from this post. Then locate the file named Yahoo.Messenger.YmApp.exe  inside the Yahoo Messenger for Vista folder you first need to extract from the already mentioned zip file.

Now you can decide to just run it from wherever or move the whole folder to Program Files in C: and add a shortcut to the executable in your desktop or start menu. Things you can do confidently as the program will show a proper icon for the App. Once you decide, just double click it and the app will run as it is.

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Sign In

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Signing In

As a plus to the Yahoo Messenger for Vista being able to just be executed, is that it even comes with a companion Windows Gadget. You can execute its installer too and add this gadget in your desktop (also works in XP) to track your Yahoo Favorite Contacts connections. Alternatively the gadget also works as a launcher for the Yahoo Messenger for Vista in case you don’t want a shortcut in your desktop or start menu.

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Sign In Animation + Windows Gadget Companion

Yahoo Messenger for Vista signed in + a Chat Window Open

Yahoo Messenger for Vista + a invite notification dialog open

The setup of the client it is a simple one by design. the real thoughtful touches it got are in its minimalism and customization. You can customize the size of the app window, the contacts look and the color of the app in a very swift way.

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Chat Window with Live Color Chooser Opened

As you start using it and activate a chat window, you will note that I comes with the most important features for a IM client:

Yahoo Messenger for Vista Emoticons Window

Emoticons, that show in a transparent display with a animated selector preview,

Yahoo Messenger Chat Text Settings Window

Text Chat Customization and Controls and a simple default send file dialog.

Some Notes

The reason why Yahoo Messenger for Vista was never advanced past beta are many. One of them was because Yahoo then later felt it was not featured enough and another was because by the time they finished  the client, the .NET/ WPF 3.5 framework came out, the client design was no longer something special and for some reason they felt a bit too embarrassed by that. Stupid, really, as the release of .NET/WPF 3.5 solved the problems it had while it was in Beta Testing running under .NET/ WPF 3.0 : It was slow and ram hungry while running in Vista.  How slow and ram hungry it was when it was running on .NET/WPF 3.0 on a Vista machine?.  Felt like something moving at 12FPS and it could get to consume 250-350mb of RAM. Even today in 2011, that is a huge lot for it being just a IM client, so imagine how people reacted to that kind of RAM consume in 2007.

But then  .NET/WPF 3.5 came out and it felt good enough (3 times as fast than before)  and it’s RAM consume reduced just as dramatically to 50-150mb in Vista.  But Yahoo still decided to not finish it and discarded it. A shame because it had some interesting ideas and it was a really advanced (in style) IM client for the time it was being developed. At least certainly more clean and uncomplicated compared to the regular YM client.

Also a good example of how .NET/WPF optimization has progressed is that the very same thing running with .NET 4.0 has a very fast responsiveness with only 10-100mb of ram consume no matter if you are using it in XP, Vista or 7.

The only warning of course is that in the end it is still a beta level software so it does has bugs and glitches. So consider this just a novelty app now, that comes with no guarantees of it being fully stable.  When used in 7, please run it in Vista RTM compatibility mode to minimize its glitches. Ironically for the times I tested and used it, i found it runs the best in Windows XP with either .NET 3.5 SP1 or .NET 4.0.


Yahoo Messenger for Vista                      <— Download Page





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