|The internet communications client for RISC OS computers|
Now with file transfer facilities
|Supporting various methods of communicating...|
R-Comp are pleased to announce Grapevine, a brand new application for RISC OS users which has been under development for some time. It will be available at the Wakefield show this weekend!
Communication is an essential part of our daily lives, be it talking to friends, family or business colleagues. The more in-depth letter has its electronic counterpart in the form of email, but what about the immediacy of phone or informal conversation? The answer is Instant Messaging, and that's where Grapevine comes in. It allows you to communicate in real-time with friends, family and colleagues directly from your computer.
It's amazing just how useful this is - you go online to check email, or browse the web, and can see any of your friends or contacts who are also online. You can then have a conversation, whilst also doing the browsing or emailing you started out to do. These people can be anywhere in the world, not just local people, allowing you to keep up with old acquaintances many miles away.
In the PC world, instant communication tends to be split into lots of different programs, making it laborious to use if you have friends on different services. Grapevine's aim is to provide a single application, initially supporting Microsoft's "MSN" service and the more chat-room orientated "IRC".
Why is Grapevine significant?
Instant communication is one of those things that may seem pointless until you have used it. Now that the Internet has become commonplace, the ability to see friends and family online, and converse with them when you are browsing the web, or checking email, becomes an essential part of internet usage. And you thought that the internet was about passively browsing the web!!!
By bringing everything under one actively developed roof, RISC OS users can communicate with people without needing lots of disparate applications, and enjoy a consistant user interface. And of course, although you are using RISC OS, your friends can be on Windows, or Mac, or Linux etc...
From a personal perspective, I now have the choice of Grapevine under RISC OS, or Microsoft's versions under Windows. And I can tell you, for the last few weeks (or more!) it has been Grapevine that has been my weapon-of-choice (it's running a conversation as I'm typing this!)
So, Grapevine's just another IRC/MSN client, right? Nope. Grapevine is designed to allow you to have a single program for all your instant communication, and has been designed to be expandable for more protocols and additional functionality.
The existing components have been designed to be as friendly as possible, to make getting going easy, yet each has many "best of breed" features to make the application stand out. For example, it features full support for emoticons (pictures representing actions or emotions), varying display fonts, mapping of Windows fonts to RISC OS equivalents, multi-way conversations, attractive graphical user interface and so on.
Whilst Grapevine has been designed with first-time users in mind, it also has much for more technical users, such as configurable macros, and control over many of the minutiae should you want it.
The IRC side of the application has all the features you would expect, and the "friends" system allows you to use IRC as an Instant Messaging system just like MSN. Full support for separate Whisper session windows, DDC chat and file transfer, operator controls, lists of channel members and so on.
If you want buzz-words, Grapevine can compete with the best, but it is designed first and foremost to provide a professional, easy to use, yet fully-featured system for keeping in touch with people.
The version of Grapevine available at the show this weekend is but a stepping stone in the project - GV is being developed full time (or not far off!) which is a rarity in RISC OS software these days, and this means that we can continue to expand and extend the software, adding additional functionality and protocols such as AOL and Yahoo messaging. Of course, this is dependant upon demand to a degree!
Because of the amount of development time going into Grapevine, it is necessary to make it a commercial application, and we feel that users will appreciate the support, documentation and future that commercial RISC OS software offers.
As such, Grapevine2 costs 29ukp inc VAT and UK delivery.