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Author Topic: Announcing aMSN2!!!!  (Read 231844 times)
kakaroto
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« on: June 12, 2008, 01:11:17 am »

Hi All and welcome to a whole new world!

In this email, I will be announcing our current plans for aMSN2, finally, the veil is coming off and you will all get to look at the new path we're taking!
I know some of you already know of all this, and some of you were eagerly waiting for it for a long time. No more rumors.. no more maybes... here's the deal!

aMSN2 is a total rewrite of aMSN 0.x. It will not be in tcl/tk. For the greatest pleasure of many of you, we decided that the best suited programming language for such a project is python!!
So, all python lovers rejoice, and all python haters, sorry, too bad, live with it!
We didn't want to say anything publicly about aMSN2 to avoid any kind of flame war or anything like that, we're used to all those flame wars happening whenever the choice of the language is being discussed, now, the choice is made, the code is written (partially) so it is useless to start debating this, so please, refrain from any useless debate.
Another big issue was the choice of the toolkit.. some people might prefer gtk, others would like qt... mac users will want a native cocoa application, and the same goes for windows or whatever toolkit you can think of... We researched that a lot and trying to choose wisely which toolkit to use...
We had a list of requirements and were trying to find which toolkit would answer those requirements the best...
- GTK did not fit the requirement of being able to have a background image on a text widget (unless doing a lot of hacking and reimplementing the text widget)...
- QT did not fit the requirement about the performance....
Which one to choose... well, we decided to go with something completely different : EFL
For those who do not know what it is, the EFL is the Enlightenement Foundation Libraries. It's a set of libraries that makes building UIs such a beauty! It only has one.. euhh.. two... humm.. a few problems :
1 - there are still no releases of the EFL.. so anyone willing to test this needs to compile the huge set of libraries from CVS
2 - the APIs might change until the libraries are released...
3 - we cannot embed an image inside a text widget.. so no smileys support...

The first two issues are easily dealt with : we don't care.. anyways, it should be released by the time amsn2 gets finished... the last one (embeded images/smileys) is resolved with another solution : use webkit (html engine) for drawing the contact list and chat window text widgets....

But most importantly, we wanted to create a 3 level design that would help us have a 'pluggable' front end... allowing the user to choose which toolkit he wants...
So I am pleased to announce that aMSN2 will be a multi-front-end application!!!

We currently have an EFL front end, a native cocoa front end for Mac users, a ncurses front end, and.... a gtk front end!
There might also be someone working on a QT and/or a XUL front end soon...

We obviously do not want to be maintaining all of those front ends, so there will be development teams who take care of their own front ends.. for now, whether the aMSN team will give support for only one officially chosen front end or to none is still unclear... but I am proud to announce that :
The GTK front end will be maintained by the emesene developers team!
We had a few discussions with the emesene developers and they were interested in joining forces with aMSN. We now have 4 new members who will be joining us in the development of aMSN2 :
Mariano : developer of emesene who wants to work on aMSN2 in general.
Dx : also developer of emesene who wants to work on the gtk front end and maybe the core/protocol of aMSN2
Jandem : another developer of emsene who is working on the gtk front end.
Alen : former emesene developer and currently lead developer of the elloquence messenger client. He wants to work on the gtk front end, the protocol layer and maybe the EFL front end too.

So this is great news, as you know, emesene is really a beautiful client that is emerging so fast in the scene, and has become a growing "competitor" to aMSN in the last months, and having the emesene team on board is a great honor!

I am also pleased to announce our collaboration with the pymsn developers (Ali Sabil, Johann Prieur and Ole Andre Vadla Ravnas). aMSN2 will be using the pymsn library for all the protocol related work. Pymsn is a greatly designed library that was the first to implement the MSNP15 protocol and already has the necessary changes (in a branch) for an MSNP16 implementation. I will join them into improving the pymsn library so we can have a growing protocol library that follows aMSN2's features.

Finally, here is a link to a screencast showcasing both the GTK and the EFL front ends of aMSN2.. Note that for now only the login screen and contact list are implemented (partially) :
http://www.amsn-project.net/~kakaroto/edje/amsn2-v4.mpeg
I hope you enjoy this video!

You can also have a look at this screencast of Elloquence, the client being built by Alen, as well as screenshots/screencasts of it in the following link :
http://kakaroto.homelinux.net/~kakaroto/elloquence/
Or you can run emesene/elloquence to see what aMSN2 might look like when you choose the gtk front end, once the work is completed.

Thank you!  
KaKaRoTo
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KaKaRoTo
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 05:47:15 am »

This is great news!! The EFL looks great!, Hopefully it looks and feels as good on Windows. I am hoping for a XUL (and Gecko instead of Webkit...no need to discuss the merits of either one though) front end also though.
I wish I could say I can't wait, but thanks to the amazing work of the aMSN dev team SVN is making the wait quite easy, which is a very good thing!!
Keep up the great work and continue leading the way in IM apps!

And to the emesene guys, welcome to the aMSN community!!
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Daniel15
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 06:25:11 am »

Awesome, glad to see a public announcement finally Cheesy
Hehe Tongue
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Ubuntu 8.04, Tcl/Tk 8.5, aMSN SVN
My sites: [DanSoft Australia] [Daniel15's Forum and Blog and more...
Giskard
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 11:38:35 am »

Wow! Sounds awesome. Good luck and thanks for your hard work to all amsn devs (specially kakaroto).
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BigMadWolf
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 02:12:19 pm »

Yipee, you're leaving tcl/tk Tongue Anyway, thank you for all your work, it's great.

I think collaboration is the key if we really want an alternative client close the official one in term of provided features. As it is supported by freedesktop.org and the Telepathy framework, using pymsn as the base library is IMHO the best choice ever.

Now that some emesene devs are joining and that a GTK UI will be developped for AMSN2, what's next for emesene? Project abandonned (especially libemesene), or just a fork of the UI?

I would be glad to follow amsn2's dev., so I'm registering to the mailing-list Smiley
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profoX
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 05:34:59 pm »

Hi everyone! I am a new aMSN developer.
I will do my best to create a Qt 4 front-end.

In the beginning I will keep the GUI simple,
but I'm planning to implement skinning, animations and
I'm planning to make use of the Graphics View framework of Qt.

If you want to help me with the Qt GUI, give me a yell!

PS: I won't be actively working on the GUI this month because I have to finish exams and my GSOC project first
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Kreuger
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 06:52:52 pm »

I can't wait to try this out.
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dx
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 08:53:29 pm »

Quote from: "BigMadWolf"
Now that some emesene devs are joining and that a GTK UI will be developped for AMSN2, what's next for emesene? Project abandonned (especially libemesene), or just a fork of the UI?


I won't abandon it. We'd like to do some experiments with the emesenelib design, so it will stay alive for sure. BTW, amsn2 will be designed to allow different "protocol" implementations, so we may make emesenelib better than pymsn and use it instead :twisted:

About "fork of the UI", I think we'll copy some of the most complex modules, and rewrite the simpler ones.
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Hi, i'm an emesene developer. And amsn2/gtk too.
kakaroto
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 09:20:34 pm »

@H@t Trick : thx! the EFL should look the same on windows since it's just a canvas! The XUL/Gecko thing.. you're welcome to create one if you'd like!
@Daniel15, @Giskard, @Kreuger : thanks!
@BigMadWolf, welcome to the forums and thanks! I didn't want to say anything about the future of emesene, I'll leave that task to them! But it seems like there are different views on that.
@profoX: welcome to the team! Smiley thanks for doing this, the first implementation looks nice in QT4 Wink

@everyone : btw, dx is an emesene developer if you didn't understand it...

@dx : yeah, it could be possible to change to emesenelib.. but I don't know if it will be possible for emesenelib to become better than pymsn (bwahahaha:p). Anyways, I suppose you guys should discuss the future of emesene because it seems you're not agreeing on everything.
Thanks for joining the team and welcome!
p.s.: send me your SF username so I can add you to the team members so you get access to the pubilc amsn svn.
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KaKaRoTo
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 10:11:08 pm »

Wow. Cheesy
Been waiting for this for a long time.

I think with Tcl/Tk 8.5 aMSN actually looks quite decent but its nothing compared to that EFL demo!

Just wait, you'll have MS wanting to buy you out cos its that good Wink

Anyway, welcome to all the new devs Smiley
And good luck with aMSN2 Smiley
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lucianolev
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2008, 05:34:19 am »

You know... this is just like a dream!  Cheesy

As a user of both projects I've always dreamed about both joining. And today I decided to check the forums and I found this: Not only emesene + aMsn but also a possible Qt frontend   Cheesy   Cool

I'm just learning Qt programming but I will help with the project as soon as I can  Smiley

Thanks and kudos to all developers for your huge effort. Let's make aMsn2 the best MSN Messenger client  of all Cool
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panda84
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2008, 09:28:17 am »

I would like to thank all the developers! I hope to see aMSN 2 and the Qt 4 front-end growing rapidly!

I'll do the best that I can to help testing / reporting bugs / writing documentation!

Bye,
Diego
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profoX
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2008, 09:55:37 am »

Quote from: "lucianolev"
You know... this is just like a dream!  Cheesy

As a user of both projects I've always dreamed about both joining. And today I decided to check the forums and I found this: Not only emesene + aMsn but also a possible Qt frontend   Cheesy   Cool

I'm just learning Qt programming but I will help with the project as soon as I can  Smiley

Thanks and kudos to all developers for your huge effort. Let's make aMsn2 the best MSN Messenger client  of all Cool

Contact me [wesley_at_ubuntu_dot_com] if you want to try to help on the Qt 4 front-end.
I could use some help because I have a lot of work to do on other things as well.
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drf
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2008, 10:46:26 am »

Quote from: "profoX"

Contact me [wesley_at_ubuntu_dot_com] if you want to try to help on the Qt 4 front-end.
I could use some help because I have a lot of work to do on other things as well.


You got mail
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Lobotomik
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« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2008, 11:57:43 am »

EFL is a very, very bad idea, and your justification for using it does not hold water. You say:
Quote
GTK did not fit the requirement of being able to have a background image on a text widget (unless doing a lot of hacking and reimplementing the text widget)...

Which is the reason that supposedly leads you to EFL. Then you say:
Quote
For those who do not know what it is, the EFL is the Enlightenement Foundation Libraries. It's a set of libraries that makes building UIs such a beauty! It only has one.. euhh.. two... humm.. a few problems :
...
3 - we cannot embed an image inside a text widget.. so no smileys support...

Hey! It seems that EFL has exactly the same problem as GTK! Fortunately you seem to have found a solution:
Quote
the last one (embeded images/smileys) is resolved with another solution : use webkit (html engine) for drawing the contact list and chat window text widgets....
I think, however, you will add these problems:
    * Hardly anybody knows, or remotely cares about, EFL.

    * An EFL application will look martian in any popular desktop. Just look at how nice Emesene looks in Gnome, compared with the clunky feeling of the (more powerful) aMSN.

    * There's very nice things in GTK and Qt like gstreamer, phonon, cairo, arthur, clutter etc. which you will probably miss.

    * The world is moving to smaller computing formats: MIDS, netbooks, cellphones. Your choice of EFL would force the porting and addition of a rather sizeable library to anybody interested on running aMSN2.

As for curing problem (3) by embedding Webkit, you might do exactly the same with GTK (and possibly more easily with KDE, who are the original writers of the Webkit).

Reimplementing in Python is a good idea, which brings you the opportunity to kick an aging, clunky language into the trashcan, and finally let aMSN blend in nicely with the desktop.  But that is not what you will achieve with your choice of toolkit. With EFL, I predict slow progress and an ugly, clunky app. I hope Emesene developers carry on with their work in producing an excellent MSN client and add the missing bits soon, because I believe that is the way to go. Why they should drop their goal and jump into this project that has nothing done yet, but is already painting itself into a corner, I just cannot fathom.
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