It has been a few days since I have begin using Chatopus as a Jabber client on my Treo 650. Overall I am very pleased. Chatopus is very simple and quite polished. It works as advertised with no effort and no undue feature creep.

The only major functionnality that I miss in Chatopus is background operation during an SSL secured connexion. It works fine with a cleartext Jabber connexion, but not with SSL. According to the author, Tony Yat-Tung Cheung it “is an issue with Palm OS’ built-in SSL library. Unfortunately, PalmSource is no longer updating the Palm OS Garnet“.

I also found a few minor annoyances. The first one is that the roster can only display at any one time the contacts from one categories or all catefories together, but not a choice of selected categories. Although that Palm OS UI convention is normally simple and practical this is not the first time I find it annoying… This illustrate the fact that UI conventions are guidelines that sometime can be overriden by specific needs. But by sticking to the convention Chatopus does a good job of remaining simple and easy to use.

Chatopus also lacks a custom status in addition to the standard standard Presence Type (Available, Away etc.). For exemple, when the Exodus Jabber client sets the “Extended Away” Presence Type it transmits the standard “xa” flag and an additional customizable and more informative status details such as “Extended away as a result of idle”. It would be nice if Chatopus transmitted this too in addition to the standard Presence Type.

Last minor gripe : if for some reason the GPRS link goes down Chatopus does not reconnect and restart it. Maybe this should be a user-configurable option.

Overall Chatopus makes the mobile use of Jabber a breeze. On my Treo 650 it now has its own button so that my roster is only a keypress away… That tells something about how useful I find it !