KDE-Telepathy – A Vision for Integration
Posted by grundleborg on April 26, 2011
The first preview release for KDE-Telepathy is getting closer. Our release-tracker bug now only has 9 bugs blocking it and many of these already have patches on reviewboard. Our first release will be made separately from the KDE Software Compilation, and should be compatible with installs of 4.6.x or trunk. It will be suitable only for people who like to try out new technologies before they are ready for the mainstream. It will not be feature complete (although we hope many of the basic features will be implemented). It will not be polished (although we do want to know about any bugs or issues you find – that’s why we’re making this release). It will also not be especially deeply integrated with the rest of the KDE S.C. or the Plasma workspaces. There will be a plasma applet for bringing accounts on and offline, but the rest of it is much like a traditional Instant Messaging application.
With expectation management out of the way, let’s take a look at how KDE-Telepathy is going to be in a few releases time. The biggest change from traditional IM clients is that Telepathy is all about Integration. Why should you have a standalone IM client? Real-time Communication and Collaboration features should be available where you want them regardless of the artificial boundaries between applications. Telepathy’s modular architecture of components communicating over DBus enables this to an extent never before possible.
Let’s take a look at the typical uses of Telepathy’s features and how they will work with KDE-Telepathy (not all of what you see below is being implemented presently):
- Bringing Accounts on/offline, setting presence and status messages: this will by default be handled by a Plasma applet, although integration with other parts of the workspace could be carried out as appropriate (I’m thinking of that “me menu” concept from Ubuntu as an example).
- “Currently Listening To: Foo” in the status message: this would be set by a plugin for the music player being used which updates the Telepathy presence message.
- Configuring your Jabber/MSN/SIP/etc accounts: handled centrally in some kind of “My Identity” SystemSettings KCM.
- Starting a chat/call: can be done anywhere that knows about people – plasma applets/KAddressBook/Tradtional “Buddy List” app/etc. There is a Summer of Code project to do some work on this stuff in Plasma and another one to make it possible in KAddressBook.
- Collaborating on a Text Document: inside Calligra, or any other document editing software.
The key point of all this is that there will be no KDE-Telepathy Application as a single point of interaction for users. In reality, the features of KDE-Telepathy will be integrated with the rest of the KDE experience. The end result – features in more natural and useful places and a more seemless experience for our users.
Once our users stop knowing the name of KDE-Telepathy and start to see it as simply some communication/collaboration features that are always there, that’s when I’ll consider the KDE-Telepathy project to be a success.