As many of you know we have been working heavily for the last months integrating Openfire with Clearspace. This is the first of a series of blog posts that will cover the things that you are already able to do in Clearspace 2.0 when using Openfire 3.5 and new things that you will be able to do in Clearspace 2.1.


I will start first describing what is Openfire. Openfire is the award-winning, open alternative to proprietary instant messaging. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber). Since XMPP is a standard protocol, it means that clients that understand the protocol can connect to the server. Example of clients are: Pidgin (ex Gaim), Adium, Trillian, Psi, Spark and many others. Moreover, you can also use web clients like meebo or our own SparkWeb client to connect to Openfire.


Openfire can be configured to read the list of users, groups and user authentication from different backends. As of Openfire 3.5 we added the option to instruct Openfire to obtain that information from Clearspace. That means that if you have an account in Clearspace then you can use the same credentials to connect to Openfire and chat with other Clearspace users. If server-2-server is enabled on the Openfire server then you can also chat with GTalk users or other users of other Clearspace instances that installed Openfire. Moreover, you can also chat with AOL, MSN, Yahoo or ICQ users by just installing the gateway plugin in Openfire.


One popular feature in Openfire is called shared groups. Shared groups are groups that are pre-populated in the contact list of your chat client from the server. Clearspace 2.1 will use the shared group functionality to automatically expose your social groups in your roster. That means that if you are part of a social group then all the members of that group will appear in your roster. Next in the list is to expose project team mates and lastly in the list is your friending network.


Next week we are going to cover how to use groupchat from Clearspace.