Google Summer of Code 2014 has Commenced!

Instantbird again has the pleasure of participating in Google Summer of Code under the Mozilla umbrella. In the past we’ve had a variety of exciting projects and this year is no different. Three students will be working with us this summer:

Saurabh Anand (sawrubh), mentored by Patrick Cloke (clokep), will aim to add support for reliable file transfer to Instantbird using FileLink as a fallback to standard file transfer.

Mayank Kumar (mayanktg), mentored by Benedikt P. (Mic), will be adding voice and video support to Instantbird by integrating WebRTC for XMPP. WebRTC makes it easy for us to have real-time communication without the use of additional plugins.

Nihanth Subramanya (nhnt11), who last year added the “awesometab“, will be looking to improve loading of conversations and history under the guidance of aleth. He will work on adding the ability to search across all logs of a contact and loading the previous context of a conversation when scrolling (“infinite scroll”).

Please feel free to stop by #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org to say hello and congratulate our students! Thanks again to Mozilla for allowing us to participate in Google Summer of Code with them!

Pardon the Interruption! Instantbird nightly builds are back!

As of today, March 3rd, 2014, Instantbird nightly builds (1.6a1pre) are being built again. We last had nightly builds on January 9th, 2014 and they have been broken since due to a series of a large infrastructure change we’ve been going through to merge the Instantbird Bugzilla and code repository with Mozilla’s. Unfortunately, getting nightly builds working again took us longer than expected as it involved many related issues: updating Instantbird to work with newer versions of Mozilla, reconfiguring our buildbot and working on getting libpurple to build as an extension.

The results of this is that Instantbird is now building out of the “comm-central” code repository (the same place the code for Thunderbird is stored). What does this mean for you?

  • Instantbird nightlies are now built using comm-central/mozilla-central: bugs fixed in Mozilla will be reflected in the next Instantbird nightly.
  • Instantbird 1.6a1pre is currently based on Mozilla 30, this is a bit of a jump from Instantbird 1.5 (Mozilla 25). There might be an influx of bugs as any issues caused by this jump are worked out. Please report any issues you see!
  • (Not entirely related) Bugs for Instantbird can now be reported on bugzilla.mozilla.org under the “Instantbird” and “Chat Core” (for bugs shared with Thunderbird Chat) products.
  • Current nightly builds are located at on our ftp site, but automatic updating from older nightlies should still work.

Again, sorry for any interruption. Regular development should be continuing now. Thanks for all the concerned emails telling us our builds had stopped!

Google Summer of Code 2013 Projects Announced

For the third year in a row, Instantbird will be participating in Google Summer of Code.  Last year, Will Nayes worked on an Account Import Wizard and in 2011, Varuna Jayasiri worked on our JavaScript XMPP implementation (currently used by Google Talk and Facebook accounts in Instantbird, as well as Google Talk, Facebook and XMPP in Thunderbird).

Instantbird will be mentoring three student projects this year:

Additional JavaScript Protocol Plug-ins (Yahoo!)

The goal of this project is to reimplement Yahoo! Messenger support in Instantbird using JavaScript and XPCOM interfaces. — Quentin Headen (qheaden)

 

FileLinks in Instant Messages

The Thunderbird Filelink feature allows users to upload attachments to an online storage service, replacing the email attachment with a link. This existing code could be used to implement file transfer. While some protocols support file transfer directly, this approach would provide a fallback that should always work. Designing and implementing a good UI frontend would also be required. — Atul Jangra (atuljangra)

 

Instantbird Awesometab

I propose to develop a “smart” user interface, in the form of a user-openable tab, that allows the user to quickly and efficiently open new chats – based on who they chat with most often, and on what accounts they do so. The user should be able to go from actively chatting in one conversation to doing so in a new one, losing no time in finding the contact to start the conversation with, refocusing to the correct UI element, or opening extra windows. — Nihanth Subramanya (nhnt11)

For the next few weeks the students are encouraged to bond with their community. All three have been active in recent weeks on our IRC channel (#instantbird on irc.mozilla.org), feel free to stop by and say hello! The Instantbird team looks forward to working with all of them during the summer. You can check out their blogs (linked to above) and back here for progress throughout the summer.

We’d like to thank Mozilla for letting us apply to Google Summer of Code as part of them!  You can see the other student projects Mozilla is mentoring on the Google Summer of Code site.

Google Summer of Code 2013

Mozilla is doing Google Summer of Code 2013 and Instantbird is interested in participating again. Instantbird participated (through Mozilla) the last two years with JS-XMPP (by varuna in 2011) and the Import Wizard (by wnayes in 2012).  Both projects were successful: Instantbird and Thunderbird use our JavaScript XMPP code and we’re hoping to integrate the Import Wizard into Instantbird soon, after which the UI could then be uplifted into Thunderbird.

It is time to start thinking about (and brainstorming) ideas for the chat in this year’s GSoC! We’ve already started brainstorming and came up with some ideas, but would love to get more ideas from people. Remember that a good GSoC project needs to be something that can be completed by a student in ~8 weeks (but also has to keep a student busy the whole time!).  It should also be something that we would want to integrate into Instantbird by default and have expected behavior already defined.

Feel free to come chat with us on IRC (#instantbird on irc.mozilla.org) about this or any other topic!

Google Summer of Code 2012 Roundup

Instantbird 1.2 was released about two months ago and we must again apologize for keeping this blog fairly quiet.  Sorry about that!  But we’re here now, so read on for some (not really so) juicy Instantbird news!

Instantbird 1.2 release went fairly smoothly, much smoother than the last release!  We’ve gotten some great feedback (and had lots of bugs filed) and of course have started working on Instantbird 1.3 already!  Most of the fixes that have so far gone into the 1.3 nightlies so far are minor…but taken altogether, I’m not sure I could go back to 1.2!  Feel free to give them a try and report any issues to us!

Thunderbird 15 was “recently” released, which also contained the core chat backend of Instantbird.  We’ve had a bunch of bugs filed from that release too!  Between feedback from the two programs we’ve made a lot of minor improvements that will definitely make Instantbird (more of) a joy to use.

Google Summer of Code 2012 has been over for a bit (it ended in August), but we never thanked Will for his time with us and the great work he’s done so far.  Currently the account importer code he wrote this summer is undergoing review, but hopefully it will be complete for Instantbird 1.3 to allow extremely easy transitioning to Instantbird!  Thanks for a great summer Will!  We hope you’ve enjoyed working with your mentor, Florian, and the rest of the Instantbird team; we’ve definitely enjoyed working with you, helping you and watching you learn.  Good luck and hopefully we’ll continue to see you around (and have contributions from you!) in the future.  We’d also like to thanks Mozilla for graciously allowing us to be part of Google Summer of Code 2012 through them!

As always, feel free to stop by #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org (and, yes, Instantbird supports IRC: you can’t use the excuse that you don’t have an IRC client!) to give us some feedback or ask questions.

Google Summer of Code 2012

Instantbird is participating in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) again this year as part of Mozilla and we will be mentoring one student: Will Nayes.  The abstract for his project is:

Instantbird Account Import Wizard

When evaluating a new messaging client, the common frustration of reconfiguring accounts and settings is difficult to avoid. To combat similar issues, the developers at Mozilla have implemented account import wizards in their Firefox and Thunderbird software packages. I propose creating an Account Import Wizard for the IM client Instantbird, which will provide users with a flexible way to import profile data from existing messaging client installations. [source]

Will is in contact with us via our IRC channel #instantbird (on irc.mozilla.org) during the community bonding period. We’d love for you to stop by and help welcome wnayes to our community. We’re extremely excited to have Will working with us this summer!

We’d like to thank Mozilla for letting us apply to Google Summer of Code with them!  You can see all of Mozilla’s accepted applications on the GSoC 2012 site.

Status Update: April 17, 2012

A lot has happened in the past two months since our last post: we’ve been quite busy trying to fix the list of blockers for Instantbird 1.2!

We’ve again joined Mozilla as part of their application for Google Summer of Code. You can see some of our ideas on Mozilla’s wiki. (We should find out soon whether Instantbird will be doing any projects or not this year!)

What’s New?

  • The JavaScript IRC implementation has landed! Many minor bugs were also fixed. The behavior is mostly the same as the old libpurple implementations, but there are differences. If you see issues, please file a bug! This will allow for better IRC support in the future.
  • The tab completion algorithm has been made smarter:
    • It now prefers the last person to have pinged you if there are multiple possible completions.
    • Addressing multiple participants is now handled gracefully.
  • There is now a reading position marker to show which messages arrived since you last viewed a conversation.
  • Updated to Mozilla 11.
  • A few crashers have been fixed.

What’s Coming Soon / Being Worked On?

What’s this I hear about Thunderbird integrating instant messaging code from Instantbird?

You may have heard that instant messaging was recently added to Thunderbird. This work was done by our very own Florian Quèze! Don’t panic though! This doesn’t mean that Instantbird development is stopping, we strongly believe there is a place for both a standalone instant messenger and a more integrated approach with email. This is a mutually beneficial relationship between Instantbird and Thunderbird where we share code, benefit from more testing and get a set of new people — and ideas — involved in making instant messaging easier and more about how you — the user — wants it!

For those curious, approximately one-third of the Instantbird codebase is now in Thunderbird’s Daily and Earlybird builds.  Feel free to give it a try and file any bugs in Mozilla’s bugtracker. Currently it looks like this feature will likely appear in Thunderbird 15.

We’re getting close to the Instantbird 1.2 release and we think there’s been a lot of great improvements that will make it easier and more natural to instant message with your friends, family, co-workers and others!