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.
Earlier this year we made the difficult decision to discontinue our team messaging tools, Stride and Hipchat. The end of life date for Stride and Hipchat Cloud is quickly approaching - February 15, 2...
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