With a more configurable user interface and hooks that more easily customize the application, the new Jabber 3.0 client makes Jabber Inc.s Jabber platform more suitable for enterprise use. Updated last month, the Jabber Messenger client has been given a new component-oriented architecture that will allow companies to more readily integrate IM (instant messaging) with their installed applicationsprovided they have Java development expertise.In addition, in eWEEK Labs tests, we found that the changes in the Jabber Messenger clients UI make it much easier to complete common chores. Companies will also find Jabber makes it simpler to use rooms for real-time IM group collaboration. The Jabber Messenger client has been rewritten in Java, with features separated from the communications object and UI. This new, modular architecture should allow developers to more readily add features to the client, although the tool kit for these additions wont be available until the first quarter of next year. Right now, companies can customize the messenger UI, which is defined in three files that we found relatively easy to edit. Jabber plans to make a Web page available that will allow companies to test changes online rather than by reinstalling the client with the new configuration. In general, we found the messenger client has good remote administration features for managing branding changes over the network. Administrators can configure the clients user preferences and determine if they should be controlled on the client or the server. We could also configure the client to automatically look for updates on the server. We liked the way messenger client elements have been consolidated into a single, tabbed application. Now tabs organize conversations and rooms in the center pane of the messenger client. We could undock the tabs, which reverted the client to the basic UI of previous versions. Also new in this release is the way in which users manage rooms and configure the messenger client, with a greater reliance on wizards for many tasks. This simplified several tasks in our tests, such as entering rooms on startup and setting alerts for rooms. Although these wizards are helpful for setting up rooms and connections, we found they could be greatly simplified by hiding less frequently used options. We would like the ability to create and manage profiles to further simplify tasks such as creating temporary rooms. In general, we found it easier to perform most basic tasks, such as creating content filters for rooms. The client now lets users view message history based on dates. There is a grab bag of other changes, including better offline and broadcast message support. This release has also improved security, with support for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)-encrypted IM sessions. However, server-to-server communication is still encrypted using SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer). The file transfer feature has been removed from this version of the client. Wed like to see that capability move from client-to-client connections to a room-based approach. The only platform supported by the client is Windows, although there are open-source clients available for Mac OS X and Linux. Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Jabber is priced at $20 per seat for Jabber IM and $30 per seat for Jabber XCP, which offers more administrative and developer capabilities.