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SparkWeb: Next Generation

Posted by DavidSmith Champion Oct 31, 2007

One of the new things other than clustering in Openfire Enterprise 3.4 is a new release of SparkWeb. This marks a number of major transitions for it:


Simplified Installation


First, it's now built into Openfire Enterprise. No more downloading a separate plugin, and no configuration required. You'll find it in a new sidebar item in the "enterprise" tab of the admin console.


Moving to Flash

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Second is that it's entirely new code. As we worked on the original SparkWeb, we ran into many limitations of the "ajax" (html + CSS + javascript + xmlhttprequest) platform, including browser compatibility issues, difficulty with localization, and the inability to support any sort of richer collaboration experience like voice or video. As a result, Derek DeMoro wrote a prototype of a web based XMPP client in Flash, using XIFF and Adobe's new Flex API. The new SparkWeb is descended from that, rather than from the previous version.




Work In Progress


There's good and (temporary) bad with this transition. The new code supports vcards and avatars, and is significantly smaller, resulting in quicker page loading. There's also a revamped UI, including contact list filtering much like Spark has. On the other hand, group chat support and secure connections are not quite ready in the new code, and are planned for the next minor Openfire Enterprise release.


If you have any questions or problems, feel free to post them in the Openfire Enterprise Support forum

During the last few years we have been listening to the community and our Openfire Enterprise customers. You all had the same question: "When will Openfire support clustering"?


I'm happy to report that Openfire 3.4.0 Beta now has support for clustering. Clustering will let you run several machines serving the same domain thus allowing you to scale your services and at the same time providing continuous service even if one machine goes down. Today we are officially starting the beta process that will last until October 31st.


Unlike other Ignite beta programs, this beta comes with benefits and important discounts for those of you that help us test the server. We had to rewrite big portions of the server, and we would like to get many people testing the server to ensure a better product. We thought these incentives might help us recruit more beta testers.


You should know that we have initially tested the server internally and even deployed it to our public servers, so this beta may be more stable than some other beta products.


People interested in participating in the beta program can read this welcome document to learn more about the benefits and discounts you can get by participating.  You can find all of the information (download links, documentation, instructions, and more) in the new Openfire 3.4.0 Beta space in the Ignite Community.


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