Some feedback from a new-ish user

This is intended to be feedback for the developers to point out some opportunities to improve the user experience.

Background: I’ve been using Spark for about six months at work (new job). As an IM client it’s fine. I can chat and transfer files. Other users aren’t very demanding so if there are more advanced features (like conferences) I haven’t had a chance to use them. I have noticed a few items that definitely not helping my opinion of the software.

  • Frequent updates coupled with an intrusive upgrade process.
    • Frequent updates are fine and it’s good that Spark handles the download rather than just dumping me on the web page like some software does. Unfortunately the upgrade is basically a fresh install and I have to close the existing instance and click next through the install. Spark started the upgrade process so it should close the original instance at the appropriate time without intervention. It’s also been installed before so it really just needs to keep track of the options from last time and just handle it. Maybe it could pop one dialog to verbiage asking if I want to run through the install again.
  • Spark handles a network disconnect very poorly.
    • I have Spark installed on a laptop and everytime I disconnect Spark pops up windows to tell me it disconnected and that it’s going to autologin in 10…9…8… etc. You know what? I don’t care. I know I disconnected and this dialog is really annoying. Here’s my suggestion. If you lose the network connection then show a disconnect icon and reconnect button on active windows. If there are no open windows then put a little red circle & crossbar (the international NO symbol) over the icon but no other indications. In the background, try to reconnect periodically and if it works, yay! If it doesn’t, wait x seconds and try again. Laptop are mobile so this noise over undocking it really unnecessary.

I apologize if the above, especially the second one which really, really annoys me, was a bit beligerent. I working on four hours sleep and it just made me go through the restart after a network disconnect (because I took it home) and then it wanted to upgrade.

Additional note on the network disconnect: Eventually Spark will hang and never come back even though I’m connected again and has to be restarted.

Hoping you can ignore my attitude and improve my user experience,


As of 2.6.3 you can disable update notifications

  • if you want to improve the update mechanism you should provide patches

Go to Preference -> Appearance -> select a different reconnection type

  1. It’s not the notification that I mind, it’s the manual update process. Oddly I checked it says that notification is off but I just got notified and upgraded as a result. Hmmm.

1a. Providing patches would mean I’d have to know how write code and while I’m might be able to fake it for simple things you probably don’t want any of my code in your product.

  1. Done. We’ll see what happens when I undock later.

Thanks for the prompt response.

  1. The Preference Text regarding updates is off in versions prior to 2.6.3

if you toggle the checkbox it will only disable beta updates

this was fixed in 2.6.3

calling spark a “product” is a litte off since spark is not commercial anymore

and any patches are highly welcome due to the restricted number of active developers

Hi Dave

the reconnection issue is really a difficult topic. It annoys a lot of users for a long time. Unfortunately, it is not trivial. At least two developers have spend a significant amount of time to fix it with some progress but not completely. Sorry, you will have to spend significant development effort to fix this.