Instantbird 0.2 feature preview: protocols as extensions

One of the features we wanted in Instantbird 0.2 was the ability to install libpurple protocol plugins like any other addon. I’m happy to report that this is now possible with current nightly builds.

To demonstrate this feature, I compiled the Facebook Chat libpurple protocol plugin. The result is an installable xpi file of about 200kB, that people can try with nightly builds of Instantbird.

This file contains a binary module compiled for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (universal), produced by copying the code from here into the Instantbird source tree. This is the quickest way I found to build it, we will need to figure out a better (without having to download and build the whole Instantbird source code) way later. This is the exact patch I used to build it.

The xpi file also contains a set of icons and a locale file. I will explain in another post how we replaced the usage of gettext in libpurple by a way to get localized strings from regular .properties files.

Feel free to try this facebook chat addons. I don’t know how stable it is, but I’ve used it for a few days already and haven’t encountered any serious issue. If this turns out to be crashy for you, don’t hesitate to send us crash reports, I uploaded the symbols to our symbol servers, so the reports should provide useful information.

I have other nearly-ready Instantbird 0.2 features to introduce in more details later, including: localization, emoticon themes, message styles (like Adium), …

Next time: how localization works with Instantbird and how we replaced gettext.