Friday, July 20, 2007

Talk with GoogleTalk inside of Eclipse

ECF is a diverse collection of communication and collaboration tools. One of these is support for talking to any XMPPS (Jabber) server. Given that the popular Google Talk system uses XMPPS, we can easily configure Google Talk to run inside an Eclipse view.

Firstly, this assumes you're using Eclipse Europa. Although ECF existed prior to Europa, the update sites weren't built in and the UIs might be slightly different.

Secondly, it assumes that you have ECF installed. If not, go to Help -> Software Updates -> Find and Install, and then drill into the 'Search for new features to install'. The Europa Discovery Site ( should be selected, and after hitting Finish, the Eclipse Communication Framework will be shown in the Communications category. You only need the Core feature, although you can download the examples to play around with as well if you want. I suggest that you restart Eclipse once you've installed it.

So, having got an Eclipse Europa install, how do we get it ready to use GoogleTalk? Well, there's a 'Communications' perspective which you can switch to, but very little idea of how you'd create a new account. It turns out that there's a little button in the action bar ( ) which will let you add new accounts. If you click on the arrow to the right of it, a drop-down menu will appear with IRC, MSN, XMPP, XMPPS and BitTorrent.

Select the XMPPS one (the encrypted version of XMPP) and you'll get window asking for your username and password. This is the same one that you sign in to Google Talk; it's usually something like Joe dot Bloggs at gmail dot com. If you find you have problems, sometimes you can also sign in with Joe dot Bloggs at talk dot google dot com, but you generally won't need to do this.

Once you click on 'Finish', you'll get a Contacts view, and from there, all of your Google contacts will be displayed. You can even set your status using the drop-down menu item at the top of the view, for example, to note that you're away or fixing a particularly vexing problem and that you'll be back soon.

As I'm sure Scott will point out, ECF doesn't just handle Google Talk. There are a number of other supported protocols, including an IRC chat on irc:// if your firewalls will allow it. But there's lots more to ECF; that's a subject for another day.

Happy talking!