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!
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.
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
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!
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
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
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.
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!