Main Roster, 1-to-1 chat, and presence

Show me overview

The default BuddySpace configuration comprises five parts: (a) the outer window border, showing your user name and (in the upper left corner) a coloured icon indicating your current online/away/offline presence status; (b) the main set of menus across the top; (c) the iconic ToolBar just below it; (d) the prominent tab labelled 'Roster' which itself contains the buddy list or contact list indicating everyone's presence status; (e) the 'BuddyBar' of optional 'presence status lights' at the very bottom of the window.

Figure 6. Main screen showing window border with status, menus at the top, iconic toolbar, Roster tab with contact list groupings showing presence status, and bottom BuddyBar status lights.

The most important element of the main screen by far is the 'Roster', sometimes known as a 'Contact list' or 'Buddy list' in other systems, showing you which of your friends/colleagues is online according to groupings you can set yourself. Double-clicking on a group name (e.g. 'Family' in Figure 6) opens up the contents of that group, whereas right-mouse-click on that group name displayes special options, such as ability to rename the entire group, or broadcast messages to the entire group.

Double-click on an invidual to open up a chat window. While chatting, you have the option to send a number of 'emoticons' by typing the appropriate character sequence or selecting from the ':-)' popup menu at the bottom of the chat window, as the before and after pictures below illustrate:

Before: About to press 'Send'

After: Text has become 'emoticons'

Sending 'clickable' URLs: You can also select a button at the bottom of your chat window labelled 'URL', which allows you to type in any URL (Uniform Resource Locator, also commonly known as a 'web address'), and when you press the OK button it will be sent via the chat window along with a ready-made button (small red triangle) so that your recipient can just click on that button to bring up the relevant web page directly in a web browser.]

Multi-user chat is descibed in the Groupchat section.

The default 'Enter = Send' check-box that you see in a chat window means that pressing the Enter or Return key will automatically trigger a sending of the message (you can disable this for multi-line messages by un-checking the box). Right-click on an individual provides other options such as 'send message', 'delete contact', etc.

The explanation for the different symbols that appears next to different users is also given by the menu labels that are found on the main Presence menu, as shown in Figure 7. When you select these items from the menu, you are telling other Jabber users that you are (say) 'Free for chat' or 'Away'. 'Online but elsewhere' is used to indicate a kind of 'forwarding', i.e. you are connected but you are not at the place where others might think you normally are (e.g. you're using your laptop at the airport), so we provide this choice purely as a matter of etiquette.

Figure 7. Presence menu, also providing icon labels.

Multiple presence states ['PRO' versions only]

Right-clicking on a group 'triangle' symbol in the roster brings up several options, including Message to whole group, Message to those online, and Presence for this group. This last option allows you to set presence states separately for different groups, e.g. so that the whole world may believe you are 'Do not disturb' (if you set that to be your main presence state), yet your key work colleagues see you as 'Free for chat'. To do that, just select the specific presence state for the group in this pop-up menu, as shown below:

The choice 'Clear' makes the presence for this group revert to whatever you have chosen as your main presence state, and 'Clear all' does that for all groups that you may have set separately.

The bottom option, 'Offline > away > online', is more complicated: that option is used to resolve conflicting presence states for those individuals who may appear in several of your groups! For example, if Joe Bloggs appears in two groups of yours called, say, 'Friends', and 'Colleagues', you may want to be 'Do not disturb' for Friends, yet 'Free for chat' for Colleagues. This is fine, but what will Joe Bloggs, who appears in both groups, see? If you set the conflict order to be [X] Offline > away > online then the 'negative' cases have precedence, so Joe Bloggs would see you as 'Do not disturb'. Conversely, if you un-check that option, then the 'positive' cases have precedence, so Joe Bloggs would see you as 'Free for chat'.