Weekly Meeting: October 31, 2011

At the weekly meeting held on October 31, 2011 plans for Instantbird 1.2 were discussed as well as a summary of what’s happened since the 1.1 release. (Full chatlogs are also available, as well as the Etherpad timelime.)

Weekly meetings are held every Monday at 4pm UTC (that’s 6pm for people in France, and 9am for people in San Francisco) in #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org.

What’s Happened Since the 1.1 Release:

  • Lots of patches have been reviewed and some new features are in (or soon to be in) the nightly builds.
    • Tab complete is now smart about case sensitivity.
    • You can now change your status from the tray icon.
    • You can now copy the link directly to a tweet.
  • Some major changes have been made to the repository to pave the way for large improvements. If you have the code checked out, you should update!

What’s Being Worked On:

Active participants are highlighted in color.

Active participants are highlighted in color.

  • Only show colors of participants who have participated, allowing you to quickly see who’s active! This first patch will keep participants gray until they’ve talked once, look for it in a nightly soon!
  • Cleaning up and renaming of the interfaces to make them easier to work with. This is paving stone to making libpurple optional (and only loading protocols when they’re needed).
  • Integration work of the JavaScript IRC code into the Instantbird source has started (instead of using it as an extension).
  • Florian will be attending MozCamp Berlin, from November 12th to November 13th, and will be giving a talk on Instantbird, go say “Hi!” if you’ll be attending!
  • Lots of user interface (in particular, when using Twitter) “paper cut” bugs! Those annoying bugs that you can live with, but get in your way? Yeah, we don’t like those either.

Ways You Help Out:

There’s a few tasks that we could use help with, if you’re interested in any of these, please contact us.  (And if there’s something else you’re interested, let us know about that too!)

  • A QA/testing team would help to find regressions and bugs quickly
  • Help is needed in organizing the localization effort and keeping them up to date with information.
  • Someone to work on making the add-on experience more enjoyable would be appreciated.

Stop by at our next meeting on November 7, 2011 at 6:00 PM France time in #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org!  And as always, please file any bugs you see in our bug tracker.

Weekly Meeting: October 17, 2011

Weekly meetings are held every Monday at 4pm UTC (that’s 6pm for people in France, and 9am for people in San Francisco) in #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org.

The second weekly meeting discussed some final details for the 1.1 release, which happened on October 18, 2011! Read the blog post about the release. In addition, some plans for Instantbird 1.2 were discussed.

Development Issues Discussed:

  • Instantbird 1.1:
    • SSL Issues with GTalk
    • Focus issues on the buddy list
    • Release candidates for all localization prepared
  • Instantbird 1.2:
    • Check in the backlog patches that have been reviewed
    • Update to Mozilla 8 or Mozilla 9
    • Integrate JavaScript protocols: clokep’s JS-IRC and XMPP from our GSoC student
    • Strive toward making libpurple optional

Non-Development Issues Discussed:

Ways to Help Out:

  • A QA/testing team would help to find regressions and bugs quickly
  • Help is needed in organizing the localization effort and keeping them up to date with information

Stop by at our next meeting on October 24, 2011 at 6:00 PM France time. Oh, and try out Instantbird 1.1 if you haven’t (and tell your friends)!

(Full chat logs are available, as well as the Etherpad timelime.)

Weekly Meeting: October 10, 2011

Weekly meetings are held every Monday at 4pm UTC (that’s 6pm for people in France, and 9am for people in San Francisco.)

The first weekly status meeting, which everyone is encouraged to attend, was held on #instantbird (irc.mozilla.org) and flo, clokep and aleth lead the discussions. (Full chat logs are available, as well as the Etherpad timelime.)

The meeting’s primary focus was about the pending 1.1 release (if you’re reading this before 1.1 goes gold, nightlies are available at http://ftp.instantbird.com/instantbird/nightly/latest-trunk/ and testing is always appreciated!)

Development Issues Discussed:

  • SSL issue. Fixed
  • Translations not yet 1.1 compliant. Fixed

Non-Development Issues Discussed:

  • Establishment of the non-profit foundation to support Instantbird
    • Specifically the creation of a bank account for funds and starting ideas to generate capital
    • We are still seeking suggestions for good web-based systems to let the non-profit receive donations (ideally with minimal transaction charges and must be accepting of most international currencies)
    • Thinking about ways to get more people to use Instantbird’s Amazon-affiliate code when making purchases
  • New WordPress-powered blog is launched, letting more Instantbird developers share in the blog’s upkeep and helping to expand its audience
  • Florian Quèze will be attending the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit, so say hi if you are attending

If you read this full post, here is an extra sneak peak for you: Check out the full list of new features in 1.1! More details on them are on the way, that’s why this is just a sneak peek.

Version number change

The current system

Since the beginning of the Instantbird project, we have released versions numbered 0.x.y.z:

  • 0. indicates that the initial goals of the project haven’t been reached yet.
  • x is the major version number. For example, Instantbird 0.2 was a major version for which we made very significant changes.
  • y is the minor version number, incremented when a release is very similar to the previous one, but with some new features. We released Instantbird 0.1.1, 0.1.2 and 0.1.3 which were minor new versions.
  • z was used only for emergency bugfix releases. For example we released a day after 0.1.2 because of a very common crash on Windows with some MSN accounts (not those we used during our testing of course). We also released Instantbird when Instantbird 0.1.3 was no longer able to connect to the ICQ network.

This version numbering scheme made a lot of sense when the project was initially a “XUL UI for Pidgin” and the goal was to reach “feature parity” with Pidgin for Instantbird 1.0. We have, however, supported features that Pidgin doesn’t have for a long time, thus defining the completion of Instantbird 1.0 as a comparison with Pidgin doesn’t make sense any more. Actually, our roadmap has stated for a long time already that the 1.0 goal is a “Simple, usable and extensible user interface.”

In addition to the 0.x.y.z version number, we are using “aN” and “bN” suffixes for alpha and beta releases (0.3b1 for example), so the version number in itself has nothing to do with stability (actually, our testers report that even our nightly builds are stable!). 0.<something> only means that we haven’t reached our initial goals, not that the version isn’t stable.

Received feedback

While linux enthusiasts are used to have great software with a not-yet-1.0 version number, on Windows a 0.* version number was a bit misleading and we received mostly 2 kinds of feedback about the version number:

  • Wow, I can’t believe it’s so stable and featureful with such a low version number!” (user who has downloaded and tested it)
  • Oh, it looks cool, but with such a low version number, it’s a pre-alpha, it can’t be stable, I’ll give it a try when it reaches 1.0.”

Disappointing, isn’t it? ;-)

Status Update: April 2011 - May 2011

A lot has been going on for Instantbird as the pace has been picking up as we approach the release of 0.3. Below we’ve highlighted some of the exciting new features that have become available since our last update. Some of these are currently available in 0.3 alpha 2, and the rest are available in the nightly builds! They’ll of course be included in 0.3 beta 1 (and the final release of 0.3).

Instantbird is participating in Google Summer of Code 2011 with one student project. Mozilla has been gracious enough to allow us to participate this year as part of their mentoring organization. The project includes an implementation of the XMPP protocol in JavaScript as an Instantbird extension. The XMPP implementation will be extensible to allow Instantbird extension developers to easily implement extra parts of the XMPP protocol beyond what will be included by default, some examples of this include collaborative editors and drawing boards. Details of the project proposal, as well as code and a blog are available to track this project.


  • 0.3 alpha 2 released! Give it a try and let us know what you think!
  • Contacts now show the list of the buddies they contain (as well as their online status) in the tooltip.
  • Windows (and Linux) users can now minimize to the system tray (we’ve integrated the popular MinTrayR add-on). Note that 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.
  • Alphabetical sorting of group names (bug 366) and contacts (bug 343).
  • You can now quickly jump to the n-th tab using <modifier>+<n> in the conversation window (bug 496), where <modifier> is ctrl on Windows/Linux and Command on Mac.
  • The conversation tabs styling has been updating to match Firefox 4 (bug 768), although we’re still working on getting some of the Aero glass effects in. Screenshot of a work in progress Screenshot of the ongoing work on the Windows Aero theme, but also showing the already finished new conversation and contacts list UI.
  • Users can now set their buddy icon and the display name of their accounts right on the contacts list (bug 334).
  • The Conversation UI has received a major overhaul to show the buddy icon, display name and current status of your contact. In addition, you can switch the buddy you’re talking to by clicking on the protocol icon (bug 744).
  • Message themes can also properly show the user’s own icon, go check one out!
  • A help command (‘/help’) was added to quickly and easily see which commands are available for the current conversation (bug 691).

For Developers:

  • An ‘icon-changed’ notification was added for when the user updates their buddy icon.
  • The UI code has been moved into the ‘content’ directory inside of omnijar (this will affect developers who have been unzipping omnijar to edit code).

Known Issues with Nightly Builds (0.3a3pre)

  • Commands do not work in protocol overrides (i.e. GTalk, Facebook) (bug 697).
  • Twitter dumps too much information to the error console (bug 681).
  • The user icon may not appear anymore on some protocols (ICQ/AIM/?) after restarting the application (bug 783).

Status Update: February 2011 - March 2011


  • 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.

Known Issues with Nightly Builds (0.3a2pre):

  • No feedback when an extension fails to install (bug 712).
  • Sounds do not work when the buddy list is closed on Mac (bug 731).
  • Commands do not work in protocol overrides (i.e. GTalk, Facebook) (bug 697).
  • Twitter dumps too much information to the error console (bug 681).

Status Update: November 2010 - January 2011

It’s been over two months from our last status update and a lot of changes and updates have occurred (from changeset to changeset). Below we list changes for the nightly trunk builds of Instantbird (0.3a1pre).


  • Basic support for Twitter was added (bug 598). When the twitter account is connected, a timeline conversation automatically opens. If the conversation is closed by the user, it’s reopened automatically when new messages arrive. The user should disconnect the account from the account manager to prevent new messages from being displayed. There’s a “track” advanced option that allows to specify keywords to track. This is a comma separated list of keywords. Comma means OR, space inside a keyword means AND.
  • The conversation UI has received a slight update: On Mac the splitter between the conversation and input boxes was reduced. For all operating systems, the status bar of the conversation window is now automatically hidden when the window is made small.
  • After quite a lot of debate, the wording of the option for when to create a new conversation window was updated (bug 387).
  • An old regression where the new JavaScript logger used *nix style line breaks on all systems was fixed so Windows logs can be viewed in Notepad (bug 473).
  • The conversation window can now be minimized with the ESC key (bug 441).
  • Support for Windows CE was dropped.
  • The themes preference pane now shows if themes are disabled or incompatible (bug 364).
  • Multi-user chats now show an disconnected icon when offline or after leaving a room (bug 520).
  • libpurple has been updated to 2.7.9 (from 2.7.3)
  • Localized strings with a keyboard accelerator were not localized properly in the ‘Join Chat’ dialog (bug 655).
  • For Developers: