[JDEV] Jabber Client Design Tutorial

Jens Alfke jens at mac.com
Wed Sep 26 11:34:09 CDT 2001

On Wednesday, September 26, 2001, at 12:51 AM, Michael Brown wrote:

> Really really bad idea.  In an IM (or most things GUI related) anything
> flashing should be reserved for something that requires the users 
> attention.
> In this case an event (usually a message).

That is exactly the situation described in the original message: what to 
show if there's an incoming message from a user in a collapsed group. 
Obviously you don't just want something flashing for no reason.

> Since Jabber can only have "trees" one level deep, this is hardly an 
> issue
> (this is still true isn't it?)

The trees are part of the client's UI design, not part of Jabber. For 
some reason all the Jabber clients seem to have them; personally I'm not 
so fond of them. The only thing related to a tree in the protocol is 
that roster entries have a "group" attribute. This is optional, and all 
does is establish some kind of arbitrary grouping for roster entries. 
You can show this as a tree, you can show it as a page-flipping model 
where you show one group at a time, you can put each group in a separate 
window, you can simply use a linear list and annotate each member with a 
group name. Whatever. Also note that you could use a convention of 
naming groups something like "Group/Subgroup" so a multi-level tree 
would be easy to support.

While we're on the topic of UI design it might be interesting to have a 
discussion of what the best way is to organize / categorize buddies. As 
indicated above I really don't think a tree is the only or even best way 
to do this; it's just what AOL decided to do in 1996 and everyone's 
copied it. For example, my client has a pop-up menu that lets you choose 
which group (or all) to show, and you can also tear off individual 
groups as separate windows.

> Sorry, I was meaning *your* current resource, not the ones of your 
> contacts.

I agree, it's probably not important to show your resource name in the 
buddy list, just in the prefs.

> I so don't agree with that.  ICQ has so much more functionality than the
> others (in some case too much).

I used ICQ for a while and saw it as fairly interchangeable with AIM. 
I'd (sincerely) love to hear about what you think its particular 
strengths and exclusive features are. I'm not talking about tangential 
things like stock tickers, just real IM/presence functionality. We can 
do this offline if you think it's more appropriate...

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