Introducing Time Bubbles

Instantbird 0.2 was released with Bubbles as its default message theme:

default message themes of Instantbird 0.2

The most common feedback we received from users that quickly switched back to Simple (the previous default) or another theme was that the lack of timestamp for each message made the theme unusable.

Some users have really passionate opinions about whether these timestamps should be shown or not. On one hand, people think it’s a useful piece of information that should always be visible, but on the other hand, people think it’s a waste of space on their limited screens. The common “solution” to this problem is to include a “show timestamp” preference, allowing each user to decide for themselves which of the two behaviors is the least inconvenient.

I don’t think that making the user responsible for choosing between two not-so-good options which one is best is a good way to address this issue. So soon after the 0.2 release, I started searching for better solutions.

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Instantbird 0.2 feature preview: conversations customization

In our roadmap we stated that for 0.2 we were going to improve the conversation window, and especially make it customizable. Let’s show you an overview of what we did.

Smileys

People are used to see little images like :-) in conversations instead of the plain text version :-). Testers of Instantbird 0.1.* have probably noticed that this feature was missing. No more.

Instantbird 0.2 supports smileys, and has a theme system for them. Creating a new smiley theme is easy: it is just a bunch of images and a file (JSON format) describing how to use them, bundled into an XPI file.

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