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Jabber and Systems16 May 2006 at 22:37 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Gaim being evicted from my workstation I went shopping. Gabber and Gabber 2 are no longer developped so that rules them out. Tkabber seems to serve the Jabber hackers well and I found it featureful and highly configurable – I keep it on my shortlist but it does not have the look and feel I am looking for. Gajim looks sweet and solidly gnomish but still a bit wet behind the ears and too simple for my taste. Finally, from my highly subjective point of view it is Psi that strikes the right balance with its good compromise between configurability and simplicity, its excellent coverage of Jabber functionnality and a look and feel to suit my taste. And as a bonus, Psi is available on both Windows and Linux with excellent consistency and Psi will soon feature Jingle. I’m sold !

Jabber and Systems16 May 2006 at 22:30 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Gaim does not let the user set the priority of the Jabber client on his workstation. Since I use three different workstations (home, work and mobile), setting Jabber priority is essential so that I get my messages at whichever station I happen to sit or on my mobile when I am not sitting at a desk. So I need another Linux Jabber client…

Jabber and Systems16 May 2006 at 22:26 by Jean-Marc Liotier

On my Windows XP workstation at work I found that when receving a message in not yet clearly defined conditions which probably include the message not being aknowledged by the user, Exodus provokes the occupation of about 1 GB of swap space and makes the whole system slow down to a crawl. I went opening a bug report but someone already reported a bug that looked identical to me. So anyway I need another Windows Jabber client…

Jabber and PHP03 Mar 2006 at 17:52 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Nathan Fritz reports Lars Mikkelsen patching class.jabber.php to support Google Talk. Nathan is reviewing the patch and considers including it in a next release of class.jabber.php.

So we learn simultaneously that class.jabber.php does not support Google Talk and that it soon will…

Jabber03 Mar 2006 at 17:44 by Jean-Marc Liotier

When I open a chat with a contact from any client, I want to see our past conversation. Jabber server-side message archiving capable is what I need to really make instant messaging the tool it should be. Being a long time user of Dircproxy, an IRC proxy that does just that, I sorely miss it when using Jabber. Now that Google Talk features “Chat History” the clamor from the masses is growing for implementations of Message Archiving as described in JEP-0136.

Right now the only choice seems to be Datasink, an external component that implements Message Archiving (JEP-0136). It is theoritically pluggable into any Jabber server. There is a good recipe for installing Datasink along Ejabberd. But client support is lacking : apart from JWChat I have not found a single client supporting the functionnality provided by Datasink. As the author of Datasink says : “Datasink uses MySQL as storage backend. It’s been written mainly for having a chat history with JWChat as it can’t save to a local disk itself due to security restrictions“. So we can consider that anything else is a lucky by-product.

The Google Talk “Chat History” is not JEP-0136. But as a recent conversation on [jdev] about Google Talk and server-side logging testifies, the topic raises significant interest.

A discussion on the Ejabberd development forum mentions that “JEP-136 seems to be implemented [..] by Jabberd 1.4.5“. But I have found no trace of that anywhere else. Right now, JEP-0136 implementation is a wishlist item for Ejabberd. I’ll think about it for my next letter to Santa Claus.

Jabber and PHP03 Mar 2006 at 14:06 by Jean-Marc Liotier

You may have noticed that I have added a to the Jabber presence indicator on my personal web page. It is provided by Edgar, a sophisticated Web Jabber presence indicator based on class.jabber.php. To use the Edgar service, all you need is an image tag such as :


Edgar displays status fast because it splits processing in two independant parts sharing a database :

  • edgar.php is a command line script that collects presence data into the database.
  • status.php reads the database and displays presence on an HTML page.

Edgar is licensed under the GPL so you can download it and set it up on your own host.

I like Edgar and I will certainly study it as an exemple of a non-trivial implementation of class.jabber.php. But I shall continue to use my pathetic Web Jabber presence indicator based on one of the examples provided with class.jabber.php because Edgar does not yet display ressources whereas the script I use does.

Code and Jabber and PHP and Systems03 Mar 2006 at 12:37 by Jean-Marc Liotier

One of the problems with my Jabber presence indicator on a web page was that the page’s presence was being sent to the polled account instead of being hidden. I fixed that and the updated code is available. The fix was trivial :

< $JABBER->SendPresence();

> $JABBER->SendPresence(“invisible”);

Although widely implemented (even Edgar does it that way), the “invisible” presence type is not XMPP compliant. JEP 126 explains how to provide selective visibility in a XMPP compliant manner. Of course this is less trivial. But since JEP 126 provides the appropriate XML snippets, I could probably do it the right way using SendPacket($xml) to send the raw XML. Maybe next time… Meanwhile I reported the standard compliance issue on the Edgar bug tracker.

Code and Jabber and PHP and Systems27 Feb 2006 at 22:18 by Jean-Marc Liotier

I now rely on Jabber to publish my presence. Not everyone has a Jabber client at hand but Web access is about ubiquitous so it makes sense to me to make my presence available on a Web page. To me this is a personnal itch and an excuse to practice some PHP and learn a little about the exciting world of XMPP.

The source code for my presence indicator is now available for whoever wants it. It is made possible by class.jabber.php, a Jabber library for PHP. I customized one of the examples provided with class.jabber.php. It has many rough edges such as the user’s name sprinkled across the markup code instead of being a proper parameter, or the page’s presence being sent to the polled account instead of being hidden. And it is quite slow because it queries at load time. But I like it better than the example packaged with class.jabber.php.

It basically does the job and I am therefore quite sure that there will be interested users. So this is the “early” part of “Release Early, Release Often”. Take that hack, customize it, tweak it and generally improve it… And most of all please report back somewhere so that everyone can benefit. Here would be a good start.

Jabber and Mobile computing and Systems27 Feb 2006 at 15:41 by Jean-Marc Liotier

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 !

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