Can I develop a hipchat plugin that shows emoticons above the input form as users type (is it possible)
If so, where should I start? (resource pages please?)
depends what exactly you want to do. If you want to introduce a toolbar on top of the input box an show emoticons there - then it is not possible. However we are working on other ways to extend HipChat client via add-ons and it can probably cover your use-case. Have a look here: https://ecosystem.atlassian.net/wiki/display/HIPDEV/Extending+the+HipChat+Apps, you might be interested in actions in particular.
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