Recently we’ve received many questions from users whose Facebook Chat accounts
will no longer connect in Instantbird.
Facebook officially deprecated its XMPP gateway on April 30th, 2015, but it
continued to function until recently. Unfortunately it appears this is no longer
After investigating the issue, we have been unable to find a workaround to keep
it working. However, since Facebook deprecated the gateway, it’s surprising it
even worked for this long!
Meanwhile, libpurple has a new protocol plugin that uses Facebook’s proprietary
chat API, which we are considering offering as part of a future release of Instantbird.
Back in March, we posted that we had started
building nightly builds from mozilla-central/comm-central, but because the
version of CentOS we had been using was too old, we were unable to continue
providing Linux nightly builds. That has now changed and (as of today) we have
both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux nightlies! Since this involved us installing a
new operating system (CentOS 6.2) and tweaking some of the build configuration
for Linux, please let us know if you see any issues! Additionally, some more
up-to-date features that have been available in Mozilla Firefox for a while
should now be available in Instantbird (e.g. dbus and pulse audio support) and
even some minor bugs were fixed!
Sorry that this took so long, but go grab your updated copy now!
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
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!
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!
Instantbird 1.5 has been released: go grab your copy now! There are a ton of
new features and bugs fixed for this new release, but we’d like to highlight a
couple of new features below.
An exciting new feature you’ll find in Instantbird 1.5 is the New Conversation
tab. It displays a list of your contacts, ordered based on how frequently and
recently you’ve talked to them. Starting a conversation has never been easier!
No longer will you have to open a separate window and scroll through your
contact list to find a person. Just click the “+” button or press Ctrl/Cmd+T,
start typing the name of the contact, and you should see your contact appear at
the top of the list after typing only a few letters! You can then press enter
and your conversation opens! The first time you open the tab, Instantbird will
load your chat logs and learn who you talk to most often in order to offer
accurate suggestions. New friends might not show up at the top immediately, but
keep talking to them and they’ll reorder themselves. Don’t worry though, this
ranking data is kept only on your own computer and is not transmitted or shared
in any way!
Additionally, if you use Instantbird for IRC, the New Conversation tab will
automatically query your servers to download the list of channels that are
available to you. (This is generally known as LIST in IRC jargon.) Just like
with your contacts, you can type in the name of a channel and it’ll bubble to
the top of the list. Sometimes you don’t always know the channel name (that’s
why you’re searching, right?): we’ve got you covered there too! Instantbird will
search the channel topics in addition to channel names so you can quickly find
new channels to join!
A very visible user interface improvement that was included for Instantbird 1.5
is redone tooltips that fit more into the visual style of the rest of the user
interface. They should be immediately familiar to Instantbird users as they’re
modeled after the conversation header! Hopefully this will help you find
information quickly and easily whether conversing with your contacts or just
checking their status.
For Linux users out there, we are still only offering 32-bit builds, although we
hope to change that soon! If you are running a 64-bit Linux distribution,
previously you’d have to install the ia32-libs (see our FAQ), but this has
changed in recent versions of Ubuntu which no longer offer this package. The
procedure now is to run:
sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-0:i386 libpangox-1.0-0:i386 libpangoxft-1.0-0:i386 libidn11:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386 libxt-dev:i386 libasound-dev:i386
If you’d like to see a complete list of what’s new in Instantbird 1.5, please
view the release notes.
Awesometab is the project name for a tab developed by Nihanth Subramanya
during the Google Summer of Code 2013 (via Mozilla) which allows to
quickly start the conversation you want to start. The suggestions will be based
on several parameters like frequency and recency of previous conversations and
will show the most likely results when you open the new conversation-tab. It
will also include already ongoing conversations (Switch to conversation) and
suggestions for multi user chats such as IRC channels and XMPP chatrooms on the
servers that you’re connected to.
What’s this milestone that has landed already?
After problems with the sheer size of the patch during last years GSoC project,
we decided to split this year’s projects into smaller parts that can land as
soon as they are ready.
So far a filterable contact list in a tab has landed that can easily be opened
using the common shortcut of Ctrl+T for New Tab (from both the contact list
or a conversation window) or by clicking the likewise familiar New Tab-button
in the tab bar.
New conversation tab, list filtered for contacts starting with letter f
It features a search bar at top of the tab content which allows to refine the
results. It currently matches the entered name against each part of the
contact’s names but will do more later (see next section).
Contacts are displayed similar to results in Firefox’ awesomebar while retaining
the familiar look of the conversation header with the contact icon and status
indicator at the left and the contact name and status message to the right of
it. Additionally the tags of the contact are displayed, indicated by the same
icons as Firefox uses for tags on the Awesomebar.
Starting a conversation is as easy as single clicking on the result or selecting
an item with the keyboard and pressing Enter – a middle click opens the new
conversation in background instead while keeping the new conversation tab
visible, just in case that you need to start more than one conversation!
And what’s next?
The next step (already under development!) will be further improving this list
by integrating already ongoing conversations (Switch to tab/conversation).
We’d also like to include a way to filter the list by tags and to highlight the
text that matches the filter like the Awesomebar does.
Later on a ranking algorithm will be introduced and tweaked to show the most
important results first instead of the alphabetically sorted list that you
currently get when opening the tab.
These changes are most likely going to be integrated as soon as they are ready
and reviewed, so make sure you have a nightly build and update frequently!
I’m really happy to see how well this project is going, I’m already enjoying how
easy it became to start a conversation using the filterable contact list. I’m
looking forward to actually see the conversations I most likely want to start
Thanks, Nihanth, it’s really great work that you’re doing here!
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,
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:
The goal of this project is to reimplement Yahoo! Messenger support in
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)
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.