We’ve made some major improvements to the tab completion of nicknames
in IRC channels (and other chatrooms). The goal, as always, is to make it
“just work” (so you can think about more important things!).
Simply press TAB to complete the first couple of letters you have typed:
To undo the completion, just press Backspace as usual.
If there is no unique nick that fits the bill, Instantbird tries to
guess which nick you mean from the context. For example, if you have
recently been pinged by someone, that nick is preferred. Otherwise it
just completes as much as possible, and shows you a list of
You can then always press TAB again to cycle through these candidate
nicks until you get the right one:
(Shift+TAB will cycle through the list in the opposite direction.)
Notice how Instantbird automatically added a colon after the nick, as
we were addressing someone at the start of a message. And if you add
another nick, you get a comma-separated list:
Of course, sometimes that may not be what you intended. So if you
delete the trailing colon by pressing Backspace, the punctuation
Don’t forget you can also reply to any message by double-clicking it!
This will add the sender’s nick to the beginning of the message.
Sorry that we have been so awful at updating our blog again, but we have
been busy working on getting Instantbird 1.2 ready for release! We’re
hoping to get this release out the door in the next few weeks (there’s a
few final blockers we’re attempting to fix)!
A few weeks ago (in the beginning of July), Instantbird was string
frozen for 1.2. This means that no new patches will be accepted (for
1.2) which change any strings, this gives our localization (l10n) teams
time to translate Instantbird 1.2 into different languages.
Instantbird 1.1 was
released in 13
languages: Czech, German, English, Spanish, Estonian, French, Italian,
Dutch, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Swedish and Ukrainian! Hopefully we can
release Instantbird 1.2 in even more languages! Unfortunately not all
of these languages have been updated yet, so if you’re interested in
translating Instantbird to your language, check out the translation
and get in contact with
Additionally, our Google Summer of Code student, Will
Nayes, has been
doing excellent work and already has importers working for Colloquy,
Google Talk, mIRC, Pidgin, Windows Live Messenger and XChat! He’s
currently working on importing logs from each of these clients so you
can smoothly transition from other clients to Instantbird without any
data loss. We hope Will is enjoying working on Instantbird as he’s
doing a great job!
We’ve made quite a bit of improvements over the past few weeks. Although
a lot of the changes are behind the scenes or fixing regressions, there
are some exciting user facing changes, as detailed below! We’ve also
been working with our Google Summer of Code 2012 student,
wnayes, quite a bit to get him up to speed of how things work in
Instantbird. He’s made great progress on understanding the code and has
even fixed a bug (see the “top protocols” page, below)!
“Top Protocol” Page in the Account Wizard”
- The account wizard now has a “top protocols”
page to allow
users to quickly set up accounts that are most applicable to them. This
is localizable as different instant messaging networks are popular in
- Tab Completion improvements:
- IRC changes
Google Summer of Code Status:
The past few weeks were the “bonding” period for Google Summer of Code
students and their respective communities; actual work has started this
week. As part of the “bonding” period, we asked wnayes to check out bug
1391: adding the “top protocols” page to the account
above for a screenshot!). We thought this would be a great introduction
to our tools (mostly Bugzilla and Mercurial), our workflow (requesting
reviews and feedback, discussing why changes were made, etc.), some of
the account manager code that he will be working on this summer! wnayes
has done a great job and the changes are already in the nightly
To follow along with what wnayes will be working on this summer, you can
and check out his user
he’s posted some general
application, timeline and a series of links) that he’ll be updating as
the summer continues. (And of course you can stop by our IRC channel,
#instantbird on irc.mozilla.org, and say “Hi!”)
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.
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
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
We’ve again joined Mozilla as part of their application for Google
You can see some of our ideas on Mozilla’s
(We should find out soon whether Instantbird will be doing any projects
or not this year!)
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?
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
Earlybird builds. Feel free to give it a try and file any bugs in
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!
We’ve been awful at posting updates to our blog about what has been
going on! It’s too late now to even blame it on the holidays, but we owe
you all an update about what’s been happening and here it is! We do,
generally, still have status meetings on Monday’s at 6:00 PM Paris time
(that’s noon EST) in #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org. Feel free to stop
by and tell us what you love or what you hate or anything else!
- Tab completion is now smarter: “active” nicknames are now favored in
completions and your own nickname is avoided in completions unless
it’s the only match.
JAYASIRI for Google Summer of Code 2011 is now used for Facebook Chat
and Google Talk accounts. It can’t yet fully replace the libpurple
implementation until DNS SRV is supported.
- You can now scroll to the first unread message after opening a
conversation that was on hold by pressing Alt+Page Up (you can also
scroll to the top of the conversation by pressing Alt+Page Up again
- When opening a conversation on hold, the UI is now updated
asynchronously if there are a lot of messages to restore. You may
notice a progress bar has replaced the UI freeze we used to have in
- Conversations are now logged in a JSON format to allow more
information than the old plaintext logs.
- You can now delete Twitter messages.
- Passwords are now stored in the Mozilla password manager! Previous
saved passwords will be migrated to the password manager
automatically, but the old saved password in the preference system is
not yet deleted. This will be handled in a future update.
- Buddy authorization requests have been rewritten to remove the
(awful) modal dialogue!
- Mozilla was updated to 9.0.1 and libpurple was updated to 2.10.1.
- Various crashers have been fixed.
- Additionally, a lot of code reorganization has occurred for ongoing
work of sharing code with Thunderbird.
What’s Coming Soon / Being Worked On?
builds soon, which should have feature parity to the libpurple
implementation. Please test this out! You can find more information
- Integrate SIPE (bug
- Add a reading position marker to quickly find the last read message
in a conversation, bug
- Upgrade to Mozilla 10.
What’s up with Instantbird 1.2?
We were hoping to release Instantbird 1.2 near the end of January,
2012. Unfortunately there are a few blockers / regressions that have
been found, causing us to be unable to release. Everything slated as
wanted or blocking Instantbird 1.2 can be seen on our
- The l10n scripts need to be updated and translations need to be updated.
- Decide whether to drop QQ (we need to support showing captchas to
keep it): bug
be done for Instantbird 1.2):
- Handle setting a user’s icon.
- Allow adding/removing tags from a buddy.
- DNS SRV (not required for Facebook Chat or Google Talk): Mozilla
- Receiving formatted messages (bug
- Sending private messages to MUC participants.
- MUC topics need to be supported.
- Currently a contact will disappear and not reappear when their name
changes for some reason, bug
- Conversations should show the history in new windows, bug
- All message styles (not just Bubbles) should support context
Again, please accept our sincerest apologies for not providing any
updates in the past couple of months about the progress we’ve made with
Instantbird. We’re really excited about Instantbird 1.2 and can
hopefully get it out to everyone as soon as possible! As always,
Instantbird is made great by the community and we’d love to have more
help in working on it! If you have any ideas (or no ideas, but some
free time!) stop by #instantbird on irc.mozilla.org and we can have some
discussions or point you to ways to help you!
We’ve been a bit bad about posting summaries of our weekly meetings the
past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean nothings been going on! In fact,
we’ve had a lot of major changes coming down the pipeline: here’s a
summary of what’s new with Instantbird.
Weekly meetings are held every Monday at 4pm UTC (that’s 6pm for
people in France, and 9am for people in San Francisco) in
What’s Been Done?
- Dependency on libpurple has been eliminate: this included a big
rewrite of the core service and how accounts and statuses were handled.
- Florian attended MozCamp and gave a talk on
- Participants in chat rooms are now only colored once they’ve participated.
- Mozilla has been updated from 7.0.1 to 9.0 beta 2.
- Many small back logged patches have been checked-in.
What’s Been Happening?
There’s been lots of big changes landing, and more to come! Although
many of them are back end changes, they’ll pave the way for more visible
features in the future. We’ll try to do a better job of keeping our
blog up to date with what’s going on.
As always, full chat logs and the EtherPad is available for each
meeting; November 7 (chat
and November 21 (chat
Note that no real discussion occurred on November 14th, just a summary
of the week’s progress.