For me to really fall in love with an application, it's all about the little things. Not the major features that you might find in the product feature list, but all of the polish that makes an application a joy to use from day to day. We think a lot about this for Spark, so I wanted to highlight a few such polish items that have arrived with the 2.0.2 release.

 

The Ctrl-F Feature

 

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/50884898@N00/255206715/|Photo Sharing]If you have a huge contact list like I do, it can be a major pain to find someone that you want to chat with. Navigate to the right group, scan through the list of who's online, click. Instead, you can now type Ctrl-F in either the contact list or chat window. That will popup a "Find Users" widget with auto-complete. Start typing the name of the person you want to chat with and it presents you with choices. I find it to be a huge time saver, especially now that I have so many contacts with the gateways feature turned on.

 

Stale Chats

 

This one is technically not new for the 2.0.2 release (it's been around since 2.0.0). Still, it fits the "polish" theme and it's a feature that a lot of people probably aren't familiar with. If you're a typical IM user, you leave lots of chat tabs open. That can get unwieldy once there are too many. Worse, closing each chat tab can be a slow process since it takes time to figure out whether each conversation needs your continued attention or not. For Spark 2.0, we made this whole process a lot easier. Now, when a chat tab is inactive for a period of time (no messages sent or received), it will fade out slightly. That makes it easy to see which chats are "stale" and which are still active. Further, you can right click on any tab and close all stale chats. It's a quick way to clean up all your windows. Click the images below to get a better sense of how the feature works.

 

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/50884898@N00/255202871/|Photo Sharing] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/50884898@N00/255202872/|Photo Sharing]

 

Sorting in the Group Chat Browser

 

Some group chat servers such as conference.jabber.org host an enormous number of group chat rooms. That can make finding the right one a big pain. It's a simple change, but now you can sort the list of group chat rooms.

 

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/50884898@N00/255202870/|Photo Sharing]

 

Stay tuned -- we'll be adding lots more tweaks like these for future Spark releases.