Saturday, April 04, 2009

XMPP software documentation

In an attempt to dust off my neglected blog, I bring you the following post about something that has been nagging at me for the past couple of days.

Since the recent changes at I've been thinking a lot about Jabber from a new user's perspective.

The new web-based registration form may help clear up a lot of confusion that resulted from in-band registration (many users were looking for somewhere on the website to register), but after registration what do they do next?

They no longer need a client to register, and it is now quite likely that after registration they won't yet have one, so obviously most importanly we need to guide them to find a client.

We could simply direct them to the XMPP client list on, however that isn't particularly friendly for someone who might not even be familiar with the term "client".

What we need is a shortlist of some user-friendly clients, with good documentation.

And this set me thinking that perhaps there ought to be a concerted effort to document the basics of XMPP clients (in fact any and all XMPP software) in a unified way.

For each client I would like to see a set of simple single-page tutorials, complete with screenshots, on issues such as:

  • How to register an account

  • How to add an existing account

  • How to add a contact

  • How to join a MUC

  • How to send/receive files

Where the pages would be hosted (in one place, or on the respective client sites) as well as some other things still need thinking about, but I'd like to know what other people think about the basic idea before setting anything in stone. Thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Maybe lead them into a JWChat session? With a set of links at the bottom to download a native client?

Lukáš 'Spike' Polívka said...

Interesting idea with the JWChat session.

Anyway, we have had user-generated wiki with some walkthroughs (in Czech language) for several years and it has served us very well:

Sure, not everything is always up to date and the site looks ugly, but it's a huge time saver.

Merwok said...

Have you seen the series of beginner-oriented resources made by the French-speaking community? lists “Jabber in ten minutes with …” pages and installation guides.

Best regards, Merwok

Paul-Sebastian said...

Since there are so many clients out there, perhaps it is better how Matthew said it: link to some clients' websites and their HowTo page. Having a general Q&A type of section, like an introduction to XMPP/clients on j.o would be great too.