Hi! I’m Valerio Pilo, one of the developers of KMess – a KDE alternative to Windows Live Messenger.
This is my first post syndicated on the Planet, and incidentally also the first after an entire year of inactivity in my kmess-related blog. Having a lot of readers is quite a good incentive to writing
This post will first show you the next upcoming version of our fav msn client (first beta will be out this week probably), then tell you about a new project we’re slowly starting, libISF, which will be a library to encode and decode Microsoft’s ISF format (the spec is open now).
1. KMess 2.0 beta
Since 1.5.1 has been released – a couple months short of a year ago – KMess has changed immensely. It is only barely recognizable! After the porting effort, we’ve rewritten practically everything, bringing it to a whole new level. It is now a lot more integrated in KDE 4, has undergone (multiple) reviews to improve its usability, and contains a whole lot of new stuff. But let’s directly see a bit of it
Here’s the Contact List window:
As you can see, it’s pretty different than the previous one! And, I hope, better too A lot of the stuff is customizable! The display pictures can be shown in various sizes or hidden; the contacts can be organized by groups, by online and offline, or mixed (that is, you see the groups with only online contacts, and the Offline group with all the rest, as you can do in WLM). And there’s more!
This is the new Chat window:
This one has received so much love that you would feel sick if you had read the list of commits First of all, the dreaded Sidebar is gone for good – but who wants can enable nice dock panels which do the same thing. For the rest of the crowd, there’s the nice Editors with the little buttons on the bottom:
Yes you can draw! At the moment it’s not completely compatible with WLM, it won’t work in 1-on-1 chats, but we’re working on it! (maybe before 2.0…also, see point 2 of this post!) The square box in the emoticon editor is a live preview of the emoticon
Apart from these obvious changes, a ton of stuff was changed under the hood. We now fully support offline messaging. KMess can properly show MSN Plus! color tags, like [b]bold[/b], everywhere (or strip them away, which is the default). You can send, receive and manage custom emoticons with real ease. File transfers are really fast as always (and you can now choose which router ports KMess will need to be open for file transfers!). Accounts management is pretty easier now, too! We use KDE4′s Solid to retrieve network status (but we can cope with its absence). We use KDE4′s pretty notifications for everything – including network errors. KMess now automatically reconnects after a network loss, and is able to save your passwords securely within your KDE Wallet (and of course, if you don’t use it, kmess won’t).
This was just a little starter – the main course will be a nifty visual guide with everything, and it’ll come soon, after the beta release!
To solve the problem of handwriting messages not working perfectly between us and WLM, we recently started working on a Qt-only library which will be able to encode and decode Microsoft’s once-proprietary format for storing brush strokes.
It will be released under the Lesser GPL license (LGPL) and will really be handy for whoever will need means of loading and saving input from touch-sensitive devices. And maybe also exchanging it with other devices, of course.
Its main features will be conversion from ISF to GIF format and better, to proper data structures (representing brush strokes) which can be used to interpret or show an image off them. It will also be able to transform strokes into ISF data blocks. Being development right at the start, we actually don’t know the direction it’ll take, so I can’t exclude that more features will come
It is already available on our SVN at https://kmess.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/kmess/trunk/libisf .