First test of OneTeam Desktop for Windows
I have through the years spent quite some time on instant messaging clients. This year I have taken part in getting a XMPP service up and running at work, and found the protocol very interesting. But, and there is a big but! We only found well-working clients for the Linux platform. For MacOS X we are using iChat, but it lacks functionality when it comes to group chats. On the Windows platform we are using Pandion. A not to actively developed client, that lacks both support for audio and video. I was therefore extremely happy to hear that ProcessOne was developing XMPP desktop clients. Choosing Mozilla Gecko engine as their framework, has made it possible for them to develop a client with the same functionality for Windows, MacOS X and Linux. Another benefit for us is that the client is configured in the same way as Firefox and Thunderbird, applications that our users are familiar with.
Have in mind that the version that I am testing is the first public beta, and a lot of planned things are probably still not implemented and some things definatly change before the first release.
First thing out, if the client is supposed to be for enterprise use, then please release the installer as an msi file (you could perhaps use WiX). Please don’t use the Nullsoft installer! Examples on companies using msi-files for enterprise installations are Skype and Google. Second thing, is a wrong implementation of UAC. You have to right click on the installer and choose to run it as an administrator to install it. Shortcuts are not installed in the Start menu (or on the desktop).
Configuring the client is as easy as it should be. I only had to write my email@example.com and password to log in. I was not able to save my personal information (vcard) in Windows version, but had no problems doing this on my Mac.
The buddy list window lists friends and groups as configured on the server. I would have liked to be able to configure alternative listing of my friends and colleagues, not only see them with big pictures. I found the client to be working well with our LDAP service, and was able to find colleagues that I wanted to add as contacts. Administrating contacts in groups seemed not to have been implemented yet.
Your status is not implemented properly on the Windows client, the pop down menu only contains Available. But status worked fine on the Mac version. File transfers is working, but you see no progress bar. And I sent over a file to a Gajim user, she saw the file, but in the file transfer is still marked as Waiting for acceptance…
Joining group chats is problematic, as the client didn’t seem to support listing of already available chat rooms. I later discovered that you can double click on Conference server, and you will then get a list of all available chat rooms on the server. This function should be more available/visible. Leaving a conference and quiting a client, and then fast trying to rejoin the same conference (group chat) fails. You then have to change your nick.
The client also supports VoIP, and I was able to test it with one of my colleagues. Hopefully video will be implemented before the final version of 1.0.
Other Suggestions for improvements
I’m part of the group responsible for communication services at work, and after some initial testing we came up with a list of other changes we would like to see implemented on the clients:
- Alternative tab view: The various tabs should be placed on either side as well, so that a much larger number of tabs can be displayed simultaneously.
- Don’t steal focus: It should be possible to turn off that OneTeam steals focus when when new messages arrives. You can end up filling in parts of a web form or an email in a chat window.
- Time stamps on “meta-messages”: It would be nice to see when other types of messages ticks, like join/leave and topic changes.
- Sort out messages: Especially for join/leave messages.
- Better error handeling: We experienced that when you try to enter a room with a nick that is in use, it could take several minutes for OneTeam to come up with an error message.
- Clearer indication of activity: Tab title gets indicated in red when you get a direct message, but with other activity are marked very indistinct. More colors! Also at meta-messages.
- Contact list: It should be possible to show the contact list with names, as the icons/avatars are often not descriptive for the contact
- Bookmarking rooms: When you are bookmarking rooms, it’s not possible to set that you also want OneTeam to autojoin the room.
ProcessOne has done a lot of good things with this client, and I am looking forward to follow them on their way to the finale release of version 1.0. I am sure that many companies, organisations and universities will be using their clients.
This blog entry will most likely be updated as I discover more things with this public beta of OneTeam Desktop.