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Jabber: Instant Messaging at Its Best : Page 4

Why developers should care that Jabber offers a powerful open-source alternative to proprietary instant messaging systems.


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Anyone Can Set It Up
Jabber clients, servers, and transports communicate via XML (Extensible Markup Language). Jabber doesn't rely on a centralized server to keep the system running. Anyone can set up their own Jabber server and transport servers. And new Jabber clients don't need to deal with the headaches of communicating with various other messaging systems. They simply encode the message, send it along to a server, and it is translated to the other messaging system via a transport server.

By standardizing on XML, Jabber has become the most highly flexible and easily customizable messaging system around. And since new messaging systems can be added to Jabber by simply bringing up another transport, the development costs for Jabber clients and servers is minimized.

Of course, everyone who connects to the system needs a unique user ID. With Jabber, this ID looks very similar to an e-mail address. The Jabber ID is composed of a username and the hostname of the Jabber server, looking like "johnqpublic@jabber.com" or something similar. In many cases, this can be identical to a user's e-mail address, greatly simplifying things for those who want to give their Jabber info to friends and business contacts.



Lots of Subprojects
There are quite a number of Jabber subprojects, ranging from clients and servers to custom-built transport server applications and various Jabber development tools. The Jabber movement seems to be quickly picking up speed, with more than 50 active subprojects currently in the works and an increasing number of Jabber client and server downloads.



Kevin Railsback is the West Coast Technical Director for the InfoWorld Test Center.
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