First of all, I’d like to preface with a grand KUDOS to the team of openfire. I did thorough research before selecting an XMPP server and openfire definitely came out on top by a long stretch. GREAT WORK TEAM!
We recently migrated from skype to our own openfire server, but find the group/conference chat to be very difficult to effectively use. It almost seems like it wants to be an IRC instead of an effective team communication tool. Is this something thats known and being worked on, or is it just the life of XMPP?
Some points to describe what I mean
- We use group chats in our company to keep communications between all our remote people fast and efficient. We have upwards of 20-30 group chats, many of which containing the same people, but in different configurations. Essentially there’s a group chat for every aspect of our work. Yes, we do have a project manager, and we use that as well, but it is inefficient as a quick form of communication. Configuring all these group chats in Openfire/xmpp is a nightmare. And getting all the people to actually stay connected in each one of the group chats is challenging to say the least.
- So once everyone figured out how to rejoin lost group chats (spark makes it easy, but we dont like spark for many other reasons, so we use other xmpp clients), and some figured out how to “autojoin” and keep it there, we still have the problem of the chat getting flooded with ridiculous “xxxx has joined the chat.” “xxxx has left the chat.” messages! This is completely unnecessary and redundant and I can’t figure out how to stop openfire from sending these messages. I presume its openfire doing it, since it seems to happen in all the xmpp clients we’ve used. (please someone tell me how to stop these messages )
- We have people that use xmpp clients on mobile + desktop devices. With a lot of digging I did finally end up figuring out how to get openfire to send the messages of a chat to all clients connected with priority 0 - works about halfway decent - but you lose context of the chats since your own chats do not come through to your other devices.
- On that note, dare you have more than one client connected to a group chat, thats when rapid “has joined / has left” messages happen as the clients fight for the right to be THE ONE in the chat. Why in the world can’t more than one client of the same user be in a group chat?
- Why is it so inconsistent how it displays people’s nicknames in the group chat? From the same exact chat, half the people see some awkward user@conference nickname while others see the proper nickname. Another day, its another set of results. Yes, the server is configured to allow the end users to set their nicknames.
- Why can’t people just be IN the group chat indefinitely, and their status simply show online/offline? Why do they always have to leave / rejoin these group chats? again, seems like an IRC mentality. An effective internal communication tool would simply allow people to be in the group chat, whether they are online or not. Maybe some people like the IRC style for their needs, and if so, then I’d highly suggest a separation of the logic, build IRC Conference Rooms and then Group Chats. Let them function differently. As it stands, it seems to be a feature somewhere lost in the middle between these two functionalities.
- Offline messages held on server and delivered when recipient comes online. OK - great, nice to see that this checkbox existed in openfire. However, in practice it is quite uesless. The reason being is that when the person does come online, it doesn’t show the message as pending/unread, so they have to click through all of their chats to read back on anything that might’ve been said while they were offline.
- Display xxx chats to new users joining the conference. OK - again, same problem. It would be actually useful if the person knew they had 20 unread chats in that group. Not to mention all the joined/leave messages spamming the chat makes it that much more ineffective.
- Why does the spark client display chats like its the 1990s? The modern world uses a little bit of spacing and graphics to display chats making it easier to see what chat is from who. Spark also always shows people’s usernames instead of their nicknames (natural names). Making it even more useless since we have numbered users.
I’ll stop now while I’m ahead. And certainly hope I’m not offending anyone. I appreciate that this project even exists, so please take my comments as constructivly as I intend them to be. I wouldn’t have bothered registering and writing if I didn’t appreciate so many other aspects to this project. These are just the gripe points, the issues we have faced while trying to implement this as an effective (and secure) communication tool.
I will be glad to hear if we are simply misconfigured or misusing things, if there’s anything we should be doing different to improve our experience, thats great news to me!