Major update to Instantbird 0.2

As no critical issues have been reported in the recently released Instantbird 0.2, we have turned on major updates for users of Instantbird 0.1.2 and 0.1.3. If you are still using one of these old versions, you will receive a major update offer to get the newer Instantbird 0.2. It will look like this:

Major update offer dialog

Unfortunately, due to a bug of the updater that shipped in the Windows version of Instantbird 0.1.3.1, the update won’t be automatic for these users, who should download the full installer themselves. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Tip for MacBook users

Instantbird 0.2 uses the multitouch feature of Macbook touchpads in conversation windows:

  • Pinch in or out 2 fingers to change the zoom level.
  • Swipe up (3 fingers) to scroll to the top of the conversation, down to scroll to the last message. This saves time when looking for an old messages in the conversation (for example, using the Find feature) and then going back to the display of the most recent messages.
  • Twist left or right to select the tab at the left or right of the currently selected tab.
  • Swipe left or right (3 fingers) to change the selected tab to the previously selected tab. This gesture is probably the most useful one: it’s very convenient when reading quickly a message in a newly opened tab and then going back to the conversation tab where an active conversation is occurring, or when actively participating in 2 discussions and repeatedly switching between 2 tabs.

Instantbird 0.2 released!

After months of development and a few pre-release versions, we are happy to announce that Instantbird 0.2 is now ready to be put in the hands of the general public.

Instantbird 0.2 is now available in 5 languages thanks to the great work of our translators.

If you have tried Instantbird 0.1 back in 2007 when it was first released, Instantbird 0.2 may feel like a completely different software to you. The most dramatically changed area is the conversation window (for example, new tabs and message styles), but there are notable changes in almost every window. For a list of changes, see the release notes.

Let’s stop talking, so that you can discover Instantbird 0.2 now!

Instantbird logo

In the next few days, we will talk about our plans for the future, and especially Instantbird 0.3. Stay tuned!

Cleaner UI

In Instantbird 0.2 a lot of visual bloat has been removed from all windows. Some margins have been reduced, borders that weren’t useful for clarity have been removed, and alignments have been improved. All of this contributes to a better use of the available space on the screen, and to a better perceived impression of simplicity in the user interface.

To illustrate this, let’s compare the conversation window before and after:

Conversation windows in Instantbird 0.2 and 0.1.3

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Context Menus

Context menus (opened with a “right click”) are a common and expected part of the user interface. It can be very frustrating when they are missing, so in Instantbird 0.2 we tried to add one wherever users are likely to expect one.

In the buddy list, the context menu of contacts can be used to start a conversation (although pressing enter or double clicking is usually faster), show the conversation history, rename a contact, move the contact to a different group or remove it from the list:

Buddy context menu Continue reading

Message Styles

As exchanging messages is the most important feature of an instant messaging client, we put a great deal of thought into the way the messages are displayed. As we have already explained, we decided to implement the Adium message style system. This system offers a great flexibility to message style authors to display the conversation content the way they want.

In order to give users a good out-of-the-box experience, we have packaged a variety of messages styles by default in Instantbird.

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Stability

We care a lot about the stability of Instantbird. Again, the Mozilla platform has some great tools to help us here.

Crash Reporting

In the unfortunate event of a crash, a window apologizing for the interruption in your work flow will pop up, and suggest you send some anonymous information about this issue to our servers. We can then analyze it and fix it for a later version, to make Instantbird more stable for you.

Instantbird Crash Reporter dialog

This crash reporting system has already helped us a lot to improve the overall stability of Instantbird.

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