Restoring chat functionality & collaboration with XMPP community

(Guus der Kinderen) #1

In various ways, shapes and forms, I’m a member of the XMPP community, which is the open standard for instant messaging.

Our community consists of many different groups of people, projects, and related initiatives - most of which suffer from a similar problem: a lack of knowledge of design and UX concepts. I feel that this is actively hurting us: although our technology is sound, many end-users are put off from a lack of usability. I’m looking for ways to improve in this area.

Given the open source / open standards nature of both of our communities, I’m hoping to find a way to mutually benefit from each-other. As I was browsing the opensourcedesign.net site, I noticed that the FAQ linked to a chatroom. Interested as I am in chat, I tried using it, but I found that the link was dead (pointing to a default Apache “it works” page). It struck me that this might offer an excellent opportunity to start collaboration between the OpenSourceDesign and XMPP communities.

My proposal would be for “us” (XMPP-world) to provide to “you” (OpenSourceDesign) a fully functional chat solution. My hope is that, from being used by design-oriented users (“you”), feedback and improvements on design and UX would flow back into our projects - we might even find a way to facilitate this.

To begin, I suggest we start small. We could restore the chat functionality on your site with one of our web-based chat solutions. If that becomes successful, I’m expecting that your users will naturally find their way deeper into the XMPP community (which, for example, also provides clients that allow them to join the same chat on their mobile phones, etc). It is a small step to world domination from there on. :wink:

What do you think?

8 Likes
(Paul Schaub) #2

It would be great to have more UX/UI specialists involved with XMPP products :slight_smile:.

#3

Yes, please! XMPP products could use some love from UI/UX specialis! I hope that you will consider Guus proposal. :slight_smile:

(Philip Durbin) #4

@guusdk hi! I used XMPP a couple jobs ago (Openfire server) and it worked quite well for us. I was sad when Gtalk stopped supporting XMPP.

With regard to the broken chat link, please see https://github.com/opensourcedesign/opensourcedesign.github.io/issues/170 for some of the history behind how chat was used by Open Source Design. In short, we had a IRC channel on freenode logged by BotBot and we had a goal of improving the usability of IRC but I hear that these days Matrix is used. (I find Matrix confusing, myself.) I think that once the pull requests are deployed, the link will no longer be broken but please feel free to open a new issue if you think it’s still unresolved.

I don’t use XMPP anymore and I’m not sure why. I’ve gravitated toward chat systems like Gitter where the conversation is saved. Anyway, just a few thoughts for you. Thanks for reaching out!

(Jan-Christoph Borchardt) #5

As @pdurbin already said, the link in the FAQ page should point to this forum now as we use this as our main channel. We did use Github initially but now only do for work on the website, and we did use the #opensourcedesign IRC channel – some time ago via self-hosted The Lounge (which was the now defunct chat.-subdomain) and most recently via Riot.im.

To concentrate on one platform, and also to prevent things getting lost over time (which all of IRC, Slack, XMPP etc have the tendency to) we are now using this Discourse forum.


Regarding the other topic of XMPP usability, I think you were at our FOSDEM booth (right? :slight_smile: ) and I mentioned that @rra is working on improving the different aspects of that. You should talk! Also if you need help in more areas or have jobs to offer, there’s always the Open Source Design job board where you can submit.

(Philip Durbin) #6

@jan hmm, actually, the FAQ still says this:

Also you can just chill in our [chat room](http://chat.opensourcedesign.net)

I guess I’m a little confused if Open Source Design is still using Riot/Matrix or not. I do like this new Discourse forum! Like you said, messages tend to get lost over time with IRC, Slack, XMPP, etc.

(Jan-Christoph Borchardt) #7

As was said in the issue, likely that’s just due to Github Pages not deploying correctly. Should be fixed with a future update. The point is that we’re not using the IRC/Riot channel anymore since some time in favor of this forum. :slight_smile:

1 Like
(Guus der Kinderen) #8

As a developer of that project, that makes me happy. :slight_smile:

Although I’m sorry to not have an extra opportunity to show off the things that XMPP has to offer, I think concentrating communication on one platform makes sense. I’d be happy to point out how XMPP could help out there, but you seem to have found a solution that’s working for you, so I’ll tune down the evangelism :wink:

Right! Well, I think several of our community members were at your booth! I don’t remember being told about @rra’s work (you might have talked to someone else), but I’m very, very interested in finding ways to have your community help ours.

I’ll start helping our individual projects to post in the job board. Are there other ways that we can tap into your knowledge / resources? Can you, for instance, help us get in contact with design-oriented people with an affection with instant messaging?

1 Like
#9

Hi Guus, I organized the sprint in Bruxelles: https://wiki.xmpp.org/web/Sprints/2019_January_Brussels
I don’t believe we have met before!

(Guus der Kinderen) #10

I missed you at both the Summit as well as FOSDEM then! :slight_smile: To bad! We’ll have to catch up soon though!

So - how do you propose that the XMPP community benefits best from what the Open Source Design community has to offer?

(Elio Qoshi) #11

Hey Guus, sorry we failed to have a timely response here.

I’d suggest that XMPP asks for help on UX, Usability or general Design issues they want to address and we could come in and help in whatever capacity. We had these talks at 35c3 and FOSDEM a bit with some XMPP folks and think that’s best.

@bumbleblue was also part of these discussions (especially UX regarding encryption in XMPP)

It could start with a Job posting regarding helping in some area of XMPP and we could mobilize afterwards eventually :slight_smile:

#12

This sounds fun. I’d love to help in any way I can.
I would second @elioqoshi’s suggestion so whoever wants to can start looking into it based on the Job posting, while the chat is set up.

#13

I’m very new to the OSD community so I am not sure. I think however one possible avenue would be for the XMPP community to use grants like GSOC or Mozilla Research to set out focused and paid research/design questions to the OSD community? XSF has the necessary ‘weight’ to apply for these kinds of grants!

greetings!

(Philip Durbin) #14

This thread is on my mind again because the latest episode of Libre Lounge covered chat and included a lot of praise for XMPP as a protocol: https://librelounge.org/episodes/episode-18-the-rise-and-fall-of-instant-messengers.html

In that episode, Conversations.im on Android was pointed out to have a good user experience. I’ve been playing around with it using my FSF XMPP account which is a benefit of being a member.

Unfortunately, one’s user experience seems to be highly tied to the particular client and server software features that are enabled. I’ve become accustomed to being able to log in to Slack from various clients and always being able to see recent messages I’ve written, my message history. With my FSF XMPP account, I wasn’t able to see message history from a second client (Adium or Monal on Mac). From asking at http://logs.xmpp.org/xsf/2019-04-30 it sounds I don’t get message history because XEP-0313: MAM (Message Archive Management) support isn’t available on the FSF XMPP server. I’m now playing with an XMPP server at https://dismail.de and it turns out I have to explicitly enable MAM. (I don’t know yet if message history works but I will once I try a second client.) I’m also thinking that encryption (OMEMO) enabled by default from Conversations.im on Android will prevent me from seeing message history from a second client. I’ll find out.

I’m getting a bit in the details of a particular user experience (message history, or lack of it) but again the point is that the user experience seems to be highly dependent on the software being used. This is very different than Slack where it works the same for everyone. But we want open solutions, right? And now we have @guusdk asking if some collaboration can happen. I think it would be great to at least try. Where would visual design and user experience discussions about XMPP clients take place?

(Guus der Kinderen) #15

Hi, thanks for this!

I think this challenge is two-fold: Unlike “silo’d” solutions like Slack, XMPP has the challenge of having to coordinate with many different implementation parties. From that, it follows that discussions take place on different levels:

Firstly, within the development community of each individual project, in which many project-specific issues can be tackled.

Secondly, on a more overarching level - for instance in context of the XSF (which maintains the protocol, but not any implementations) or another independent project like modernxmpp.org.