Web Services in Gossip

I haven’t done much on Gossip in a while. Been rather preoccupied with Tracker recently.

Today I managed to add a feature which uses the text under the mouse pointer to search with Google, Wikipedia and Youtube. Right now those are just hard coded, but I had in mind, to make it configurable.

Web Services

Gossip without Telepathy

For a while now we have had Telepathy support in Gossip based on the work that Xavier Claessens, Eitan Isaacson, Raphael Slinckx and Sjoerd Simons submitted. Recently Xavier decided to start his own project called Empathy using the Gossip user interface and as a direct result, we now have no one maintaining the Telepathy backend in Gossip.

The OTHER problem we have with Gossip at the moment is that it is not fun to hack on. I don’t think it is directly the result of integrating Telepathy into Gossip and I am not saying that Telepathy is the reason it is not fun to hack on, I think the same problem would exist had libgaim materialised and we were able to use that instead.

To summarise, the problem is really insufficient man power and the complexity of supporting multiple protocols.

Recently, Micke, Richard and I decided to remove the Telepathy integration completely and become a Jabber ONLY client. By doing this, we can focus on smaller, nicer and more useful features than just supporting another protocol.

Gossip TELEPATHY branch merged to TRUNK

Finally, Gossip now has the TELEPATHY branch work available on trunk after Xavier Claessens merged the two tonight.

You can see the full announcement here:
http://lists.imendio.com/pipermail/gossip-dev/2007-January/009099.html

I would especially like to thank:

  • Xavier Claessens
  • Eitan Isaacson
  • Raphael Slinckx
  • Sjoerd Simons

They have all worked very hard to help make this happen and of course thank you to the Telepathy team for their support along the way.

Here is a glimpse of what is currently available (bear in mind the interface is generated and needs some love :)

Gossip Group Chat Hacking

I added browsing capability so you can view a list of chat rooms on the server of your choice:


I have also spent some time recently improving the whole group chat experience, well, mostly the joining part and overall management of it. Now for example, ALL status information is shown in the window not in some popup dialog or some window. This is a much nicer approach I think. I have also added the ability to reconnect in certain scenarios too:

This should all be available in the new release some time this week.

My Personal Hero

This week, the prize goes to Kris.

In Gossip we have been trying to get a flat look but with the expander enabled. This isn’t possible, even with GTK+ 2.10. So after speaking to Kris about it, he said the best way would be an Expander cell renderer. Kris also took the time today to actually write it for us.

So thanks Kris, great work, it looks superb!

Gossip Development

A lot has been happening recently in Gossip.

Telepathy

We added a new branch specifically for Telepathy work called ‘TELEPATHY’ recently and Eitan has been working on that when he can. Xavier Claessens has been working with him at times too which has been great. Now that you can install Telepathy on Edgy using apt because it has been packaged up finally it makes it much easier for others to test.

Release 0.16

I released 0.16 yesterday and it is the last release we will be doing with pre GTK+ 2.10 support. This release has some cool fixes, of which, mostly was done by Xavier Claessens who has had so much time on his hands, I have found it difficult to keep up with the patches he is sending me. This is good of course and I hope it continues with the Telepathy work he is doing too. Some of the other work Xavier has done for us includes retrieving the VCard name details so you can revert from your alias for a contact to the _their_ choosen name. There is more work here to be done here, (like adding a preference to choose if you want to use the vcard or your alias). I have included a screenshot of how it currently looks, good work, thanks Xavier!

Since we have released, I thought I would try some of the coolness that GTK+ 2.10 has to offer, more specifically, the “show-expanders” property in the GtkTreeView that Kris worked on. The end result is below.

Xavier has also written a patch to switch us over to use GtkStatusIcon instead of EggTrayIcon which should land in CVS soon.


Flower Power & Instant Messaging

Busy busy bee, that’s me :)

Chelsea Flower Show ’06

Recently I attended the Chelsea Flower Show for the second time and it didn’t disappoint, I took plenty of eye candy for all to enjoy and you can find it at the usual hot spot (http://www.curlybeast.net). One of my favourites has to be this aqualegia, most spectacular:

Gossip 0.11.1

Over the last 2 or 3 weeks Gossip has really had some work put into it and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Eitan Isaacson for the patches he sent in to get avatar support up and running – it r0cks! Looking good Jeff ;)


During this time we have also spent time fixing some of the little things and adding general polish to make it sparkle, this has meant that Richard has upgraded his status from party hacker to real hacker!

Thanks again to all that has helped with the latest release, it is appreciated and your patches most welcome!

Oh – and I am in the middle of moving house at the moment too, woohoo, busy busy busy!

Gossip 0.10

Gossip Roster

I managed to finally get Gossip 0.10 out!

I vowed to Kris I would do releases more often, for one thing, people kept telling my about bugs fixed over a month ago. So from now on, I will try to release monthly on average.

Everything was pretty smooth except for the first crash in a long time from Evolution (which is why I sent the mail announcement twice).

Update: The announcement with a list of changes can be found here: http://lists.imendio.com/pipermail/gossip-dev/2006-February/008508.html

Gossip 0.9 & Wedding

New Release – Today Mikael and I released Gossip 0.9. After a large refactor of the foundation code, further development has been made easier and overall we feel it is much more stable. It has been some time since the last release back in December last year.

There have been many changes, some of these include:
– A spell checker
– Updated contact information dialog
– Much better Drag & Drop usage

Generally just more polish everywhere :)

I have been working on getting multiple accounts working again in Gossip since the refactoring. Some of this work will be in CVS very shortly. I have taken things a bit further this time by actually allowing the user to select which account they do certain actions from:

Wedding – Things are heating up with only 3 weeks to go.

Sue had her Hen night lastnight. The girls really do know how to have fun, you just have to look at their costumes on the night and all the party things they bring back home with them.

My stag do is this weekend coming, should be a good fun, I tried to arrange it for the night before the wedding but Sue threatened to call it off :)

Hacking Gossip

Gossip Updates: I have spent some time scratching a few of those itches with regards to the Gossip user interfaces recently. Most notably the group chat join dialog and the status presets dialog:

I have been looking for an excuse to try out the new GtkCellRendererCombo and thought this might be a good exercise for the reader. This is not the final cut, still needs some work…

As for the “Join Group Chat” dialog, I have been thinking long and hard about the best way to do it and really am still not happy with what I came up with.

The result is not a much different from what Mikael originally had it is just a little cleaner and smarter. This is what I came up with:

So basically these are the things we might do in the future[*] and things that we currently support:

– Join a group chat favourite
– Join multiple group chat favourites *
– Add/Edit/Delete a favourite
– Browse chat rooms *

What would be really nice is if you could do all this on one dialog. Typically applications tend to have a list on one window somewhere and another dialog to add or edit entries on the list. While this might be OK, I can’t help but think it there must be a way to use the same entries (for Server, Room, etc) when joining a custom group chat too. If you use a GtkTreeView to show favourites or possibly a list of rooms on a server (when browsing) then how do you fit a set of entries to join into a custom group chat on the same window? Perhaps that is a separate dialog?

The whole point is, from a usability perspective, how do we best present this to the user?

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