Blast From The Past: Phoenix Chat


This image isn’t a joke but actually represents an old project I worked on, before IP-based chat programs were a dime-a-dozen. A long time ago I once dabbled in Visual Basic programming. This was not a finished project, but it did work. I remember that the Microsoft Agents spoke the text that was typed and I think I even had communication working between chat clients though it wasn’t perfect (sometimes messages weren’t received).

I’m not certain, but there may not have been any chat programs at the time that integrated the use of MS Agents. It’s possible there were but I just hadn’t encountered any – it wasn’t so easy to find information on the Web back then. File dates for information I had once posted on the Web date back to 1999 – I may have worked on this project a bit earlier. Many of the details have been forgotten but I developed it under Windows 95 or Windows 98.

Overall, I think all of the displayed functions worked but the program lacked proper error handling. In fact, the task of adding all of the necessary error handling for the most basic tasks is probably what led to my eventual lack of interest in Windows application programming. In those days it was much more difficult to find programming guides and how-to documents. In general, I had to rely on the books that I could afford and commercial APIs were out of my reach.