Swift 4.0 (Beta): What’s new

Those of you keeping an eye on the Swift or Isode Twitter accounts will have noticed that a beta release of the new Swift 4.0 is now available for download from the Swift website .

Swift 4.0 includes a number of important functional changes compared to Swift 3.0 as well as a significant change to the look and feel of the product.

The main changes are listed in the changelog but there are two big changes that you’ll notice immediately on launching this Swift beta.

Better Chat Monitoring

Swift already makes it very easy to monitor events in multiple chat rooms through the use of keyword highlighting rules. In response to requests from a number of users we’ve supplemented this with the addition of a “trellis” layout option, allowing multiple chats and rooms to be tiled instead of being exclusively displayed as tabs within a single window.

Swift in A 2x2 tiled view showing 1 MUC room and 3 1:1 chats with security labels and delivery receipts
Swift in A 2x2 tiled view showing 1 MUC room and 3 1:1 chats with security labels and delivery receipts

This new option (Change Layout from the View menu) allows the user to define the number and arrangement of tiles to be displayed simultaneously and then move chats or rooms into an appropriate position. The trellis layout option and the existing tabbed layout option can be flexibly combined.

New Chat Design

We’ve introduced a new, cleaner chat design which we believe will enable users (especially in MUC rooms) to keep better track of their own contributions to conversations allows for better display of message receipts and better indication of unread messages.

The Swift 4.0 beta is available for Windows, MAC OS X, Ubuntu & Debian Linux. Please email (swift@swift.im) or tweet @swift_im any feedback you have to help us further improve Swift.

Adding a Security Policy to M-Link

We have two small changes to our evaluation guide series to announce (with many more coming soon).

Our core XMPP Messaging Evaluation Guide, using our M-Link XMPP server and M-Vault LDAP directory, now includes a section on adding a Security Policy to your XMPP service. In this new section we show you how to add a the policy to your service and clearances to your users. You can additionally apply label based controls to multi-user chat, domains and peer services (all of which and more is covered in the M-Link Admin Guide).

The Security Policy we use in the evaluation guide is one of the demonstration policies we ship with M-Link but, if you want to create your own, contact us about evaluating our SPIF Editor. SPIF (Security Policy Information File) is a file representation of a Security Policy, in other words the definition of which labels are valid and how to check them against clearances.

R16.3: Multi-Master Directory, XMPP Archive/Search & ACP127 support

We’re pleased to announce the availability of Isode’s latest release, R16.3, which can be downloaded now from our website. R16.3 is a major Isode release which adds new capabilities across the entire Isode product range, including:

M-Vault

We’ve introduced a multi-master capability to M-Vault, complementing the single-master approach to replication defined in the X.500 protocols around which M-Vault was developed. M-Vault is the first directory to offer both multi-master and X.500.

M-Link

M-Link gains a new Archive Server for archive of all messages (including 1:1 chat, MUC and PubSub). XMPP clients can access archives using Message Archive Management (MAM) as defined in XEP-0313. M-Link also gains three new web applications:

  1. Message Archive Management, allowing browser-based access to information in the archive.
  2. Statistics, a lightweight monitoring alternative to the M-Link Console GUI.
  3. Forms Discovery and Publishing, for end-user publishing and display of FDP forms.
M-Link Statistics Web App
M-Link Statistics Web App

M-Switch

We’ve added gateway support for text based organisational message protocols, which we’re collectively describing as ACP127. The first release of this capability supports ACP127 and DOI 103S, a popular US variant, and enables conversion with STANAG 4406 (compliant to STANAG 4406 Annex D) and SMTP (following the MMHS over SMTP extensions).

In addition we’ve made extensive improvements to MConsole and M-Link Console to support the new M-Switch and M-Link family capabilities. For a full run-down of new capabilities in R16.3, please see the Product Release page. We’ll be publishing further blog posts over the coming weeks focusing on some of the new R16.3 capabilities.

M-Link XMPP/IRC Gateway

A new whitepaper on the Isode website (Interconnecting XMPP and IRC) shows how Isode’s M-Link XMPP Server can be connected to and used in conjunction with chat services using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) in a range of deployment scenarios.

In order to help our customers and evaluators establish connections between XMPP Multi-User Chat (MUC) rooms and IRC channels, without downgrading security for XMPP users with XMPP traffic we’ve published a new evaluation guide.

Isode at the HFIA #1: Proposed Extensions to STANAG 5066

The High Frequency Industry Association (HFIA) provides an “industry driven forum for the interactive exchange of technical and information in the area of High Frequency Communications.” Physical meetings of the group usually take place twice a year and in September 2014 Portsmouth was the location for the latest of these meetings. This is the first of two blog posts covering our attendance at this meeting.

As Isode has an interest in applications for constrained bandwidth communications, we often attend and occasionally present at these meetings. This year we had two presentations to share with the attendees.

Steve Kille at the HFIA
Steve Kille at the HFIA

Isode CEO, Steve Kille, gave a talk focusing on Isode’s proposed extensions to STANAG 5066 to improve performance of applications running over wideband HF links. The first was an update to a talk Isode gave at the February HFIA meeting, this time including hard measurements showing that Isode’s extensions (known as LFSN, Long Frame Sequence Number) result in significant performance gains.

This was followed by a live demonstration of the extensions in action, enabling co-existence of bulk and time critical applications over narrow-band and wide-band HF. The applications used were Multi-User Chat and Real-Time Military Forms (both using the XMPP protocol) and military email messaging.