At work, we use an IM server from Microsoft that uses the Windows Messenger app as a client, and only works for internal communications. Since last week and for reasons unknown, the server is not responding (the person in charge didn’t reply to my emails). As a group of developers separated by geography, IM tools are a must-have. That got me thinkning, isn’t there an easy alternative that we can use? what about a XMPP (Jabber) server installed on a linux development environment, and some jabber-compatible client?
Well, after a quick search I found a very good XMPP Server, which by chance is made in Java (OK, not by chance. I chose it precisely because of this reason). Wildfire IM Server (Formerly Jive Messenger) is an ideal solution for us, since its small, free, and most of all, has support for LDAP-based accounts, which means we can use it with our LDAP-enabled development server (I’ll post later how I set up the server to use LDAP for things like unix shell, svn access, etc.).
In less than 15 minutes I got Wildfire set up to use MySQL as the Database for storing data, and LDAP for authentication. Instantly every developer that has access to the development environment is now able to connect to the IM server, and it even shows the LDAP groups for the different projects.
I just saw how Wildfire was profiled to improve performance, and I’m sure it will get faster (not to mention better) as they move forward. Now I only need to pitch it to upper management in hopes of replacing the old IM server.