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2008

As of December 2007, we have jumped onto the release train process and have been releasing a new version of Openfire every 3 weeks. Many important features have been added and several issues were fixed. Here are some relevant new features that were added:

 

  • Certificates created and signed by CA can be imported from the admin console

  • Added support for XEP-0115: Entity Capabilities

  • Avatars may now be updated when using LDAP

  • Improved connection pool recovery logic by switching to proxool

  • Created Email Listener plugin

 

For the first and second quarters of 2008 we decided to focus on features that are going to be useful for enterprises, but not restricted to the enterprise product.  Example of these features are:

 

Use TLS and SASL when connecting external components

A new extension named XEP-0225: Component Connections was created for this feature that we think it's going to be useful for companies with very strong security requirements. This feature will not only require some changes to Openfire but also to our Whack library. Whack is our external components open source library that we never pushed publicly in the community but we do support and use internally.

 

Let external components connect to the same Openfire instance and register for the same domain

In order to provide redundancy in external components we should let them connect to the same Openfire instance. Openfire will then use round robin to distribute the requests to the connected external components. Therefore, only external components that are stateless can use this feature unless they are stateful and communicate amongst themselves, perhaps in a cluster environment. Similar to the previous feature this feature will imply a change on Openfire and also to the Whack library.

 

Add auditing support to the admin console

Many people have requested this feature and it was decided to implement it for Openfire 3.5.0. When running standalone the auditing information will be stored in the database of Openfire but when running integrated with Clearspace then the auditing information will be stored in Clearspace which acts as the main repository.

 

Database optimizations

In the past we focused on optimizing the Java code when under heavy load and now it's time to focus on the database specially when dealing with large sets of data. This work should help users log in faster, retrieve their rosters and perform any frequent operation quicker. Overall we know that Openfire has great performance but doing an in-depth review is never a bad idea. 

 

Release a new version of XIFF

While working on SparkWeb, our web version of the popular Spark client, we ended up doing lots of nice improvements to the XIFF library. Having tested those changes for a while we now feel confident to push out there a new release of XIFF. Meanwhile, every week we have been updating our SparkWeb instance that is publicly available. Feel free to use it and give us your feedback.

 

Other things that have been brewing in our heads but are still not planned for the immediate future are:

 

 

If you are interested in seeing some other feature that has not been planned please speak up and leave us a comment. We will create a Jira issue, if one does not exist, so people can vote. Highly voted issues are taken in consideration when building the roadmap of the products. The current roadmap can be found here.

 

Enjoy,

 

  -- Gato

David recently blogged about how XMPP is Taking Over the World  starting with the recent AOL tests and his hopes that Microsoft, Yahoo, and QQ would follow AOL's lead.

 

Well, this must have got Matt thinking about how XMPP really could take over the world.  His vision of XMPP is moving way past IM with a grand vision for how XMPP could be the future of cloud services.

 

I'll let you read his entire post over on Jive Talks, but here is a little snippet:

There's a new firestorm brewing in web services architectures. Cloud services are being talked up as a fundamental shift in web architecture that promises to move us from interconnected silos to a collaborative network of services whose sum is greater than its parts. The problem is that the protocols powering current cloud services; SOAP and a few other assorted HTTP-based protocols are all one way information exchanges. Therefore cloud services aren't real-time, won't scale, and often can't clear the firewall. So, it's time we blow up those barriers and come to Jesus about the protocol that will fuel the SaaS models of tomorrow--that solution is XMPP (also called Jabber).

 

Matt's post is also on Digg.

Yesterday I ran across an extremely exciting fact: AOL is now running an XMPP server at xmpp.oscar.aol.com that accepts logins from AIM/ICQ accounts and can talk with AIM/ICQ contacts. This means that there's suddenly 53,000,000 more people (according to 2006 numbers from Neilsen/Netratings) that are accessible from XMPP. I've made a brief timeline of important events in XMPP's growth.

 

1999: Creation of XMPP

2003: Jive Software releases the first version of Jive Messenger

2003: XMPP passes ICQ in number of users

2004: IETF approves XMPP as an official standard

2004: Google Talk released, dramatically increasing XMPP's market reach

2005: Apple announces XMPP support in iChat and Mac OS X server

2006: LiveJournal adds XMPP support, creating 14 million XMPP accounts in the process

2008: AOL creates an XMPP-OSCAR bridging server, adding another 50 million or so users accessible via XMPP

 

As you can see, over the last four years XMPP has gone from a relatively tiny force to a huge player in the IM world. Now all we need is for Microsoft, Yahoo, and QQ to follow suit and most IM users will be able to talk to each other without the hassle of creating accounts on each service and using lots of different programs (or multi-protocol programs) to connect to them.

 

I'm extremely excited about the possibilities of this, although a little worried about the lack of public acknowledgement from AOL. Hopefully they will continue to move forward with this, and make an announcement in the near future.

One of the things you may have noticed that appeared in the 3.4.3 release of Openfire is a couple of new installers, and some improvements to existing installers.  Oddly enough, building installers can be one of the more difficult tasks a developer has.  Simply putting out a tarball or zip file is easy, but it's not exactly the most pleasant thing to deal with from an administrator perspective.  In the process of creating installers, you often find yourself fighting with differing standards between OS distributions, or different architectures altogether.  That said, typically once you have created the installer, there's not much to do with it after, so it's generally a one time cost, so to speak, and the benefits far outweigh the time spent!

 

In an effort to make Openfire as easy to install as possible, we added official Debian and Solaris packages.  Yes, I am aware the Solaris package is listed under Linux right now, but please ignore that for now.    Are we stopping there?  Not really.  I'm not yet sure what other OS's we might be providing packages for at this point.  FreeBSD is about the only other one I've seen a request for and there's a well maintained port (net-im/openfire) of Openfire already.

 

What we are investigating now is providing hosted repositories for the packages.  Specifically, I'm looking at a Yum and APT repository at the moment.  This would allow system administrators to point their repository configs at our repositories and be able to easily keep up to date.  We are still working out the logistics of this, so stay tuned!

 

We're also investigating getting Openfire into more distributions.  In other words, instead of having to come to our site to get Openfire, perhaps you could install it from a central Debian repository, or an extras cd, or something of that nature.  There are a couple of possibilities in the works on that front, and a couple more I'd like to pursue.

 

So hopefully in the near future, it will be as easy as ever to get rolling with Openfire!

Matt Tucker

Happy New Year!

Posted by Matt Tucker Champion Jan 3, 2008

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and had a great New Year. Welcome to 2008! Believe it or not, it was just about one year ago that we launched igniterealtime.org. There's been an amazing amount of growth in the community since then and a huge number of product releases and accomplishments. To list out a few:

 

  • The super popular gateway plugin was released

  • First Sparkweb released and much progress since then

  • Clustering support in Openfire Enterprise

  • Smack 3.0

  • Numerous Spark releases

  • Many, many improvements to Openfire including huge scalability gains and leading support for XMPP secure certificates

 

Those of you that track Jive Software know that 2007 was our first year of Clearspace. Clearspace has been hugely successful and has let us grow rapidly.

 

What's in store this year? There's lots more exciting product work, including a big focus around bringing Openfire and Clearspace closer together. Many thanks to everyone that's been a part of igniterealtime.org community. We're looking forward to working with you throughout the year.

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