twhirl 0.8.4 adds identi.ca support


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There has been a lot of change in the microblogging world lately, with quite a few new services showing up. One of those that gained a lot of attention is identi.ca, created by Evan Prodromou from Montreal. Although it lacks some of the core functionalities we are used to from other platforms, there’s something unique about it: it’s open in a lot of ways. We received quite a few requests to add support for identi.ca to twhirl, and since they released a twitter-compatible API just a few days ago, we gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy, and worked out of the box. Plus, we were able to use the XMPP support we originally added for twitter to get real-time updates of messages from your followings. And of course we will make it available for other services as well once they support it.

identi.ca in twhirl

You can add identi.ca accounts to twhirl like you add twitter or friendfeed accounts. Just open the accounts manager by clicking the top left twhirl, select “identi.ca” from the drop-down list, enter your username, and hit return. Then select the new account from the list and click on “Connect”. When the window opens for the first time, enter your password, and twhirl will connect to your identi.ca account.

Running like this, twhirl will poll identi.ca’s API every few minutes (you can configure that from 1 to 10 minutes) for new “dents” and replies. But as both the server and twhirl support XMPP, a messaging protocol to deliver updates in (near) real-time, you can set it up to receive incoming dents from your followings immediately. Enabling it requires to execute some steps, so please read the following instructions on how to configure your identi.ca account and twhirl.

Setting up XMPP for twhirl and identi.ca, step by step

As a prerequisite, you need to have a Jabber/XMPP account that you can use for this. GTalk accounts work well and have been extensively tested in twhirl, but in general all Jabber accounts should work.

  1. The first thing to do is set up your account at identi.ca’s website to send you notices through IM. Click on “Settings” at the top, open the “IM” tab, and add your IM address. Also add “update@identi.ca” to your buddy list using your preferred IM client. Then follow the link identi.ca sends to your IM address to confirm it.
    identica-im-add.jpg

  2. In IM settings, enable whatever you want identi.ca to send to you: notices and/or replies from people you don’t follow.
    identica-im-prefs.jpg

  3. After setting up your IM address in identi.ca, open the configuration for your identi.ca account in twhirl. Go to the “Network” tab, and enter your full IM address (like “exampleUser@gmail.com”) in the JID field, your IM password in the password field, and the Jabber server to use for your account in the server field. If you are using a GTalk address, put in “talk.google.com”, otherwise consult your Jabber provider’s documentation for which server to use.
    twhirl-identica-network.jpg

  4. Click “Save”. The little light bulb at the bottom right of your identi.ca window will light up if twhirl connected to your IM account. Move your mouse over it to see the current status.

  5. If everything is set up properly, you’ll receive dents from your followings immediately after they have been posted. You might also notice a little light bulb as a “new” marker at the top right corner of dents that were received via IM.

We are working with the identi.ca crew to make the XMPP setup easier in the future. Please contact @twhirl on identi.ca if you have problem with your setup for now.

A note about OpenID: currently, identi.ca does not support logging in to the API by OpenID only. To use twhirl, please add a password in your identi.ca settings and use that when asked.

identi.ca isn’t twitter

identi.ca is a very young service, just a few weeks old. So please keep in mind that it does not support all functionality you are used to from twitter. For example, it does not allow to send private, direct messages, so everything you post is visible to everyone. There’s already a growing developer community around the software that powers identi.ca, adding new features all the time. We will try to update twhirl regularely to keep up with new features that are introduced.

Watch your seesmic feeds in twhirl

While we already released preview versions of twhirl that had support for viewing videos from seesmic, this is the first official release that enables adding seesmic accounts. We are planning to add recording very soon, too, in twhirl version 0.9.

Get twhirl

We are pushing this update through the automatic update mechanism in twhirl, so it should prompt you for an update to the new version the next time you start it. To do a manually install, please visit twhirl’s website.


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