Friday, August 5, 2011

Coming: blabber for BlackBerry PlayBook

Today I'd like to introduce another project I just started: blabber for BlackBerry PlayBook. If you hear just the name you maybe won't know what it does, but once you know you won't forget ;)

The idea itself came up some weeks ago, when I chilled in bed and wanted to chat using my PlayBook. I realized that there is no instant messenger for the PlayBook except the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) when you own a BlackBerry smartphone and are connected through the BlackBerry Bridge – which I don't. So last week I decided to start this new project and my first thought was, how to name it (because I needed one for the project directory ;) and I came up with blabber. Because blabber means something like "talk without thinking" it's a good name for an instant messenger. In addition the most important messaging protocol for me is Jabber (XMPP) which sounds similar.

What's the current project status?
I already implemented a lot. It's possible to manage Jabber, Google Talk and Facebook Chat accounts (all three are based on XMPP) and connect to them. After connecting blabber will load and display your contact list with your contact's statuses and inform you about status updates (at least online, away, ...). The core component, sending and receiving messages, also works – with storing of all those messages. You can also change your online status, but for now only one global status.
I tested those features using my Google Talk account only, so even if I connected to Jabber and Facebook once, I didn't yet test all those other features.

Here's a first screenshot to give you a first impression!

Behind the scenes!
Just a little look behind the scenes, because I didn't implement all by my self, of course. Blabber uses two external frameworks:

  1. XIFF for interacting with XMPP-servers and
  2. FlexORM for easier access to the database.
Of course there's a wrapper around XIFF for an easy implementation of additional protocols. Unfortunately the object relational mapping framework FlexORM isn't perfect and not maintained any more. That's a small problem, but fortunately I'm a developer so I can fix bugs and add features myself ;)

What's next?
The next things I'm going to do, are improving the usability and design, implementing new features and of course testing.
I hope the project will reach a beta status soon because then I'm going to start a private beta test. I hope you're interested in that because I need every tester I can get! If you're interested you can show me your interest right now and contact me. I'll get back to you when blabber's ready.
Also, I'm looking for icons and sounds that were released under a creative commons license, because I don't know how to product beautiful images and I know that there are some people out there that do.

There's one thing that will be missing from the app: the possibility to switch to another PlayBook app and be notified about new messages. That's because the PlayBook doesn't allow it (yet?) to run background services – only if the user changes the multitasking mode to showcase blabber will be able to run in the background. I hope this will change, because background services are something very important and without those you can't implement many handy features (I don't want the user to be disconnected each time he switches between apps).

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At May 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM , Blogger Oscar said...

Hi could you post the code to see how it works is just what I need and I can not work...

At May 22, 2012 at 4:38 PM , Blogger Dustin Steiner said...

Sorry Oscar. The project is (or was, now that IM+ is available and other means of creating PlayBook apps are available) not intended to be an Open Source project.


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