Since March 10, 2003 - Version 2.1

MSN Messenger Protocol

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This page serves to answer the most frequently asked questions. Below is a list of questions and their respective answers. Please read through this before asking someone an obvious question.

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How can I parse incoming data as to separate commands without running into trouble with payload commands?

We recommend implementing your program in a manner similar to the one below.

Here is how Mike Mintz implements this in Python. The function read_buffer() is called every time there is data in the socket waiting to be read (determined by a select loop).

def read_buffer(self):
    lines = string.split(self.inbuffer, '\r\n')
    if len(lines) < 2:
    words = string.split(lines[0])
    if self.inbuffer[:3] in ['MSG', 'NOT']: # Incoming payload commands
        length = int(words[3])
        remaining_lines = string.join(lines[1:], '\r\n')
        if len(remaining_lines) >= length:
            self.inbuffer = self.inbuffer[(len(lines[0]) + 2 + length):]
            self.cmd_handler(lines[0] + '\r\n' + remaining_lines[:length])
            return 0
        self.inbuffer = self.inbuffer[(len(lines[0]) + 2):]

Copyright ©2002-2004 to Mike Mintz.