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Command line interface to Skype, designed for the VI

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README.md

skcmd.py0.0.6 - A command line interface to Skype

Introduction

skcmd.py is a command line interface to Skype. It is implemented as a client/server pair. It has no GUI components at all and is designed for ease of use by the VI/blind. It offers a reduced set of functionality, keeping the CLI simple and avoiding bloat.

The server logs Skype status messages to stdout, and executes Skype commands on behalf of the client. In particular it logs incomming calls, friend status changes and authz requests.

The client is a command line program that sends Skype requests to the server for execution . It is asynchronous and does not block on outgoing/incoming/ calls etc.

skcnd.py depends on a running Skype desktop, and the skype4py package. This in turn depends on the availability of the Skype Desktop API. See the note below about the likely demise of this interface and the apps that depend on it.

Install

skcmd.py will only work with Python 2.x and will not work with Python 3. It has been tested on Vinux 4.0, but should work on any modern Linux distro. Orca and a TTS are not a requirement, but are of course needed if you're VI/blind.

You may need to apt-get install some prerequisites:

sudo apt-get install python-dev
sudo apt-get install python-gobject

Install skcmd:

The simplest way is to install from the Python Cheeseshop:

sudo easy_install skcmd

Alternatively install directly from the github repo:

  git clone http://github.com:/lsmithso/skcmd.git
  cd skcmd
  sudo python setup.py install

This should automatically install Python package dependancies, including skype4py.

Run

Starting

Start the Skype desktop program as normal and sign in

Open a terminal window and startt the skcmd server:

skcmd.py s

The Skype desktop will prompt for an authorization of this program the first time it is run. I needed sighted help for this step.

When the server starts, it logs who you are signed in as, then a list of all your contacts. It then blocks, waiting for client commands or Skype status changes.

Client Commands

All client commands must be run from a separate terminal window. The normal Skype desktop continues to run, so you will hear the usual ringing and contact status change sounds.

Voice calls

To make a call, run the client call command, using the skype handle:

s kcmd.py call echo123

All being well, This should initiate a call to the Skype call test service. Look for Skype status messages in the server terminal window.

Inbound calls are logged by the server. To answer a call run:

  skcmd.py answer

Chatting

To send a chat message:

 skcmd.py chat handle [chat message to send]

Sends its arguments as a chat message to the Skype user with handle. If no message argument is given, then stdin is read and sent until an empty line or EOF is input. The later is useful for sending special shell characters without quoting.

Voicemails

Voicemails can be listed, played and deleted. You must enable your voicemail inbox using the Skype GUI.

To list the contents of your voicemail inbox:

skcmd.py vms

This lists each voicemail message as as an index number, the display name/handle of the caller, call date/time/ duration. and voicemail status. The index is a small integer used to refer to the voicemail in other vm commands.

Play a voicemail with:

skcmd.py vmplay idx

Where idx the index number of the message displayed by the vms command.

Stop the currently playing voicemail with:

skcmd.py vmstop

Delete a voicemail with:

skcmd.py vmdelete idx

The voicemail list is re-indexed after each message is deleted.

Command List

The complete list of client commands are:

authz handle 0|1 - Authorize the contact with handle.

contacts - Prints a list of all your contacts in the format handle/display name/full name/status.

auto_answer 0|1 - Turns off/on autoanswer. Default is off.

hangup - Finish the current call.

exit - Terminate the skcmd server.

answer - Answer the current inbound call.

call handle - Place an outbound call to the user with handle. Handle is the Skype id printed in the 1st column of the 'contacts' command.

tone tones - send DTMF tones, ie for POTS conferencing.

add_contact - Sends an authz requests to handle

search = Search for a Skype user

chat - chat to to the user with handle.

status Set your status to DND, INVISIBLE etc

mood - set your mood message

vms - List all voicemails,.

vmplay idx - Play the voicemail with index number idx

vmstop - Stop the currently playing voicemail

vmdelete idx - Delete the voicemail with id idx

me - print your skype id/screen name and your current balance.

help - A breif help message.

Skype status changes

The server logs some Skype status messages to stdout, and signals them on D-Bus.

Status logged includes inbound/outbound call progress (in particular inbound call ringing), contact authorization requests, contact status changes (online, away etc) and chat messages.

These are plain text messages so a TTS should be able to announce them.

skcmd also signal D-Bus with these status messages. A simple skcmd.el is included that listens for this signal and announces it to emacspeak.

Disclaimer

This software comes with absolutely no warranty whatsoever, and comes AS-IS. Do what you want with itt. I take no responsibility whatsoever for it.

The Demise of the Skype Desktop API

skcmd.py and all other Skype apps depend on the availability of the Skype Desktop API. This is a rich programming interface that makes just about all Skype desktop functionality available to apps. It allows inventive and powerful 3rd party telephony apps to be built around Skype for free. It is a mature and well documented part of the Skype ecosystem.

In July 2013 Microsoft announced that they were killing off this API in favour of a new SkypeURI interface. This interface has vastly reduced functionality, to the point where its almost useless. SkypeURI is unusable for skcmd, and I suspect for a lot of other apps too.

The announcement says that the Desktop API will begin to stop working in September 2013, and that apps should start using SkypeURI right away.

SkypeURI is not currently available for Linux, so if the Desktop API does stop working, skcmd.py is sunk. Even when it does become available, it is of no use at all, so skcmd.py is still sunk.

As of September 3 2013, skcmd.py was still fully functioning, so enjoy it while you can!

Significant Changes

0.0.5

Add tone command. Add voicemail list, play, stop , delete commands concat call and tone args into spaceless string. Add multiline chat

0.0.6

Add 'me' command

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