In what shall be the first of hopefully many quick-interviews, we have some brief words with Raffi, the creator of jIRCii, the lightweigt, multi-platform, java based IRC client. So without further ado...
1. When did you first start using IRC ?

Around 1994.

2. What was the first client that you used ?

My first experience was with ircii through a bbs interface. I dialed up to local bulletin boards with the terminal in Microsoft Works.

3. What inspired you to write your own client ?

I originally set out to write a client as a kind of starter project to learn Java with. This was when Java 1.1 was new and Swing didn't exist.

For a long time jIRCii was merely my private development playground where I played and experimented with Java. Eventually my own needs for a decent cross platform client pushed me to turn jIRCii into something useable.

4. Is it a solo effort, or is there a small/large team behind the scenes ?

Most of the jIRCii development in the past was a solo effort. Currently there are 3 of us picking away at the client. To be honest though jIRCii would be absolutely nothing without its community of users and scripters, especially the more vocal ones who think they own my time. Thanks to consistent complaints and tweaking jIRCii has become the client it is today.

5. What makes your client stand out from the crowd ?

On the Mac side many use jIRCii since it is the closest thing to mIRC on OS X.

I think the real strength of jIRCii is how flexible it is. Users can have any IRC experience they want. jIRCii is flexible enough to allow users to chat with one window and no UI ala ircii while also allowing users to have a near perfect emulation of mIRC if that is what they want.

If the built-in features and options are not enough jIRCii is also very extensible through the sleep scripting language. There are over 50 scripts available for download off of the jIRCii homepage providing everything from channel management dialogs, userlists, to file serving scripts.

It is also possible to launch jIRCii to a specific server/channel directly from a web browser.

Oh and there is my favorite feature (stolen from OpenChat): users can shift+click any where in the text display to edit the colormap of jIRCii in place. This really makes it easy for users to customize the look of the client to their preferences.

6. In which (programming) language is your client written ?

jIRCii is about 35,000 lines of Java code, 135 lines of straight C (for the Windows front end), and 2,000 lines of Sleep code. Sleep, the scripting language embedded within jIRCii, is about 15,000 lines of Java code.

7. Why was this language chosen ?

I chose to stick with Java because of the cross platform aspect of it.

8. What unreleased features are you presently working on ?

At the moment jIRCii is pretty stable and feature complete. This is not to say it is perfect (it does have its quirks) however there won't be any drastic changes in the future. jIRCii has met and exceeded my original vision and I am very happy with it now.

9. What are your plans for the future ? Do you see your client in active development ten years from now ?

There is only so much you can do to an IRC client :) especially a client like jIRCii which aims to provide a specific type of experience. My hope is that jIRCii will continue to be actively mantained so it can at least be used on these new fangled broken ircds that are being produced now.

10. Is there anything else you'd like to add ?

Regardless of the Windows screenshots presented above, I do all of my jIRCii development on a Mac. I just wanted everyone to know that. :)
That's all folks, all that remains is to say thank you to Raffi for participating, both with the site, and in the Mac OS X software scene.
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