Instantbird 0.3 alpha 2 released

We are pleased to announce that Instantbird 0.3 alpha 2 has just been released.

This release contains the first visible changes on the road to making Instantbird 0.3 awesome:

  • Contacts: If you talk to the same person on multiple IM networks you can now combine the buddies from each network into a single contact. Just drag and drop one onto the other and they will be merged!
  • Tags: Tags have replaced groups in the buddy list. Even though our tag system isn’t fully implemented yet, there are already some new features. For example, a tag can be hidden by clicking the “x” on the right side of the buddy list, all buddies from this tag will then show in an “Other Contacts” tag automatically, which is shown at the bottom of the buddy list.
  • Windows (and Linux) users will appreciate the minimize to system tray feature, for which we borrowed some code from the popular MinTrayR add-on. By default Instantbird will minimize to tray when the “x” is clicked, to quit the application choose “Quit” from the File menu or right click on the system tray icon and choose “Quit”. This behavior can be changed from the preferences window.
  • On Mac it’s now possible to close the Contacts window without quitting the application. A click on the dock will reopen it.

This release also contains very significant invisible changes, including the ability to create JavaScript protocol plugins and the upgrade to the Mozilla 2.0 platform (which Firefox 4.0 is based on). Add-on developers will like this, especially because of the new ability to create restartless add-ons.

Download or learn more about Instantbird 0.3 alpha 2.

Status Update: February 2011 – March 2011

Done:

  • Contact merging (bug 698).  If you talk to the same person on multiple IM networks you can now combine the buddies from each network into a single contact.  When opening a new chat the buddy that is online will be chosen automatically and the conversation window will automatically change to another buddy if they switch to a different IM network.
  • Tags have begun to be implemented (to replace the groups concept in the current buddy list).  Tags can be hidden by clicking the “x” on the right side of the buddy list, all buddies from this tag will go into an “Other Contacts” tag automatically, which is shown at the bottom of the buddy list.
  • The buddy list can now be closed on Mac without Instantbird quitting (bug 24).  It can be reopened from the Dock.
  • Offline contacts vs. unknown contacts are now differentiated with icons.
  • Instantbird has been upgraded from libpurple 2.7.9 to 2.7.11. Changes of note include a fix for adding buddies in MSN (see all changes at their change log).
  • Dark variant of the “Simple” skin (bug 710).
  • For Developers:
    • Extensions are now able to register commands (bug 118).
    • A general JavaScript socket object has been included (bug 673).
    • Instantbird 0.3a2pre nightlies are now based on the mozilla-2.0 branch instead of the mozilla-central trunk (commit).  This is the version of the Mozilla source that is used in Firefox 4.x.

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