Pidgin-FacebookChat v1.50

So I’ve just put out an update for Pidgin-FacebookChat, the Facebook chat plugin for Pidgin and thought I should do a bit more of a writeup than what’s in the changelog.

One of the more important features is that there should be a much lower bandwidth usage for some people.  Unfortunately, the plugin was getting into a rapid loop in the fetch-message routine which would cause the page to be downloaded lots and lots (and lots) of times in quick succession.  I’m not 100% sure of the reason behind this, but it seemed to be worse the closer you are to the Facebook servers.

To try and work around this, I’ve added in a 1 second delay to the re-request of messages, as well as instead of grabbing the data that was needed from the /home.php page, grabbing it from the smaller “pop-out chat” window.  So there’s now less stuff to download, and download less frequently.  I hope that fixes it 🙁  I’m genuinely sorry to those people who ended up having to pay for extra bandwidth charges 🙁

On a more positive note, there’s another minor feature in the plugin that wasn’t in the changelog: the plugin now sends the “Accept-Language” HTTP header.  Thats the techy way of saying that you should now be receiving error messages from the Facebook servers in the same language that you look at Pidgin in.   While most of the pidgin-facebookchat plugin hasn’t been translated (unlike the Skype plugin), the error messages from the Facebook servers would appear to be in your language.  From the looks of it, Facebook were doing an IP address detection to work out what country you were in, and giving error messages in the language of that country.  Great 99% of the time, but really hard to use when you’re, say, on a trip overseas in a country that you can’t read the language of.

The other feature in this version of the plugin is to be able to force yourself to be in the ‘idle’ state on Facebook chat.  Previously, you had to configure your Pidgin to report your idle status after 5 minutes but now there’s an “idle” status type in the selection.  This should help with people who set their status to something other than “online” in Pidgin, no more messages from people who think you’re ignoring them.  To be honest, I didn’t actually get much of a chance to test this feature, so let me know you’re success stories with it.

So go download the plugin, and let me know what you think 🙂

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