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Probably the most requested feature for Wildfire and Spark is the ability to chat with users on the public proprietary IM networks: AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo (Google Talk already works great with Wildfire and Spark since it can federate through the open XMPP protocol).


I'm happy to announce that we've been working with Daniel Henninger on a new Open Source gateway plugin for Wildfire. Daniel has brought his experience working on the Python gateway components to create a very easy to use gateway system. At the moment, there's support for AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo, with IRC support coming soon. The code is still in the very early stages, but there's already some things that make these gateways different than what's been done before:

  • Installation and setup is trivial since it's a Wildfire plugin. Existing gateways for XMPP servers have to be installed as external components, which means installing dependencies, config file edits, etc. Also, working as a Wildfire plugin gives the gateways internal access to the server, which allows nice features like dynamic changes to users' rosters.

  • Web-based administration of the plugin allows each network to be enabled or disabled along with features and permissions, and to view and edit gateway registrations.

  • Tight integration with Spark: we're building extremely easy to use Gateway support into Spark. Of course, any other client with gateway support will work as well.

The current plan is to have beta releases available in the next several weeks. We'll also provide continued updates on development progress in the forums.


[forums|] [forums|]

We're knee-deep in conference preparations for OSCONnext week. Since it's in our backyard here in Portland, we want to make a good showing. If you'll be in attendance, come check us out at booth # 717 or shoot us an emailand let us know if you'll be there. We'll be showing some of the new Wildfirefeatures and handing out t-shirts.


This year's conference seems to have more buzz -- to be expected. Had I time, I would count up the number of investors per capita. Nonetheless, it seems to be a great list of attendees and some really good presentations.

A bit more than a month ago, we announced that our Spark instant messaging client was going Open Source. I'm pleased to announce that the code is now availabe in SVN. An official binary release of Spark 2.0.0 will follow in several weeks after we've had a chance to iron out bugs and add several additional minor features.


Converting a product to Open Source is no small task. The biggest time investment ended up being replacement of the commercial libraries we were using. For example, we had embedded the excellent JIDE library for UI features in the contact list and for managing tabs in chats. JIDE also has an Open Source version under the GPL, but because Spark is being released as LGPL there was a license mis-match. The best solution ended up being re-writing the components ourselves (Derek is particularly proud of how the tab component ended up). Because our components are more specialized than JIDE's, side benefits of the switch include faster UI rendering and shaving off more than a MB from the Spark download size. Despite the conversion work, there were a few commercial libraries there we just weren't ready to give up yet such as the spell checking.  Our solution was to move that code into Spark plugins -- that way the core of Spark can stay Open Source, while we'll ship a few free plugins that can't be Open Source.


There's been a ton of other activity from the IM team over the past couple of weeks. We launched an updated look for at the beginning of the week. It's the first step in a series of big improvements we'll be making to the site over the coming months. Today, we released minor updates for Wildfire 3.0 and Wildfire Enterprise 3.0 (the commercial edition of Wildfire). The reaction to both editions has been great so far. If you haven't already tried them, I'd encourage you to do so. Finally, we've started discussions about what's coming in the 3.1 release of the server. If you have ideas for what should be next with Wildfire and Spark, we'd love to hear from you.

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