Quick post for those looking for a capable Android client for Openfire. IM+ and IM+ Pro don’t support direct connections to an XMPP server such as Openfire: connections are made first to Shape’s servers then passed on to Openfire (see here for example). Of course, if you are wishing to connect to a private Openfire server, then IM+ Pro is effectively useless. It’s especially disappointing to find this out after shelling out for the “Pro” version, and Shape don’t exactly put a clear warning up or anything.
Xabber on the other hand does permit direct connections to an XMPP server, is free, ad-free, and comes with a nice UI to boot. So, for my purposes there is no competition to speak of 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the Spark Java IM client – after Jive Software officially withdraw support and development resources for it I’ve tended to use other clients such as Pidgin, as Spark development had all but seemed to have ceased.
It was a nice surprise then to see that in the year or so since I last looked Spark has had at least a couple of community-developed releases, most recently version 2.6.3. There are a substantial amount of new features available, from OTR support, to a cute built-in language translator and an array of skins – my fave being the MS Office 2K7 lookalike:
Also neat is that the previous IM Gateway plugin for Openfire now lives on in a community-developed variant called Kraken:
Once installed in Openfire via the easy web admin BUI, one can control client connections to an array of consumer IM networks. I’ve been trying the v1.1.3 beta 3 release with Google Talk and Facebook users, and it works very well.
There is no Spark release available for OpenIndiana, but that is something I hope to address in the near future.