Saturday, April 27, 2013

I just purchased Trillian Pro for life...

Unfortunately, I'm probably never ever going to use it. Do I regret it? A little, but I wanted to give it a fair shot.

Introduction

I really wanted an IM app that would do all the services I use. Pidgin and Miranda both support Skype through the SkypeAPI, but that integration is iffy at best.

I admit that my needs are very different from most people but here is why Trillian is basically unusable to me :

UI and customization

This is my miranda setup. Here are the highlights of this UI setup.

  • Lack of whitespace and window dressing and borders. Keyboard navigation lets me do everything.
  • Names are indented in groups. 
  • No status messages. I show only the data I need and I want to know.
  • The smaller bottom chat window is set to always on top
  • The larger chat window houses my IRC channels, and that is set to NOT always on top
  • Every window remembers what tab container it belongs to.



In contrast with Trillian.

  • Lots of wasted space
  • No indents on names under groups
  • In tiny vs simple UI, names are indented but status messages show up. There needs to be an in between setting.
  • Tabbed Chat Windows are always on top or not, I cannot specify per window.
  • Tabs do not remember which group they are in. Once I close the application, IRC boots up and opens the large chat window first, every chat window I open from then on goes to the big chat window, and not a smaller one below.



Insufficient keyboard navigation


In Miranda, keyboard navigation alone is enough for me to do everything. I almost never have to touch a mouse

CTRL+SHIFT+R = go to next waiting message ( event:next event does not seem to work the way it used  to in trillian Pro 1.0, if it does, then I have no clue how to get it working correctly )
CTRL+SHIFT+A = pull up the contact list ( this still works )
CTRL+W = close a window ( this works )
CTRL+PGUP/PGDOWN =  go to the next tab (also still works )

Incomplete Skype group chat support

The main reason I wanted to use Trillian was because of its SkypeKit support, and not have to have Skype running in the background. Unfortunately, this feature is not 100% complete. It lets you receive messages from a group conversation, but there is no way to send to that group if you don't already have it open. The poor UI I could kind of deal with, but this feature is the most important of all.

Slow

Everything in Skype animates in and out with a fade. Give an option to turn this off. I don't need fades, I want quick response time. Opening a chat window to a contact takes half a second, and closing it takes half a second as well.

Why does it take such a long time for it to shut down? I can see it sit in task manager for a good 15 seconds before the process finally goes away.

Conclusion

I really wanted to switch back to Trillian since I have fond memories of my Trillian Pro 1.0 days. You guys were the best around back then. Unfortunately, with the way Trillian works right now, the user experience does not fit my needs.

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