Are You Shiny?

2007-01-19

Carlo Zottmann complains that "it's hard to find anyone who has a clue Jabber even exists" because "Jabber" lacks that one shiny client with all the fun features that end-users crave.

There are two things here. First, there are 40-50 million people using Jabber technologies these days, but most of them probably don't even know it since they think they're using Google Talk, Live Journal Talk, Chikka, IM services from NTT or BellSouth or Gizmo or whomever, presence services like Jaiku and Twitter, etc. Or they work for FedEx or HP or Adobe or EDS or just about any Wall Street bank and those companies all use Jabber for their in-house IM service. Or they're in the Marines or work for some other government agency that has deployed Jabber. Or they're using something that doesn't even look like IM because it's in fact a network monitoring service or workflow system or whiteboarding app that just happens to use the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol to send around some XML in real time. Or. Well, you get the picture. Jabber/XMPP is fundamentally infrastructure, not a shiny client. Think HTTP, not Firefox.

Now I grant you that it would be really really cool if someone came along and wrote a killer IM client that used XMPP to the fullest with all the doodads and gewgaws your average Internet user loves and some that they didn't even know were possible (which we can do in the Jabber community because we have this deeply extensible XML transport). IMHO building on top of Mozilla would be just the ticket (think Thunderbird or Songbird but for IM -- MynahBird perhaps?). But I'm not a coder so I'm not the one to make that happen. All we've done so far is build out the core infrastructure and standards, which has laid the groundwork for some enterprising open-source coder to make a real name for himself (or herself!) by building a kick-ass Jabber client for the ages. Will someone do it? I don't know, because that kind of thing can't be planned from the top down in a standards organization, it needs to bubble up from some mysterious wellspring of creativity inside some lone developer or small team. But if you're interested, drop me a line and I'll see how I can help.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal