Digsby is a messaging client which has become popular with many of the Make Use Of writers in the short time it’s been around. In fact ever since the private beta release in January followed by a public beta a few months later it’s been making quite a splash across the blogosphere. It even managed to grab 3’rd spot in MakeUseOf’s favorite instant messenger poll.
To recap, Digsby is a messaging application which lets you talk to people on all of the major instant messaging networks such as MSN, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, Gtalk and even Facebook Chat. More than that it also lets you connect up email accounts and social networks accounts including Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It also supports customization, skinning and even synchronizes your account details and Digsby skins between computers.
Steve Shapiro is the project manager for Digsby and he took the time to answer a few questions concerning this project:
Tell us about the ‘Digsby’ logo/mascot…
We wanted something that was a mascot and not just a logo so that it would “be Digsby” – we felt this would be a good way to brand it as a consumer friendly product. Another important aspect of it was that it needed to look good as a 16×16 or 32×32 icon since it is used on the desktop and in the tray.
How many people do you have working on this project? Is this purely a hobby project or do you hope eventually Digsby will provide some kind of revenue stream?
Digsby is developed by a company so we do need to pay the rent and keep the lights on. :)
What about this project aren’t you currently happy with? Is any part of the application frustrating you feature-wise?
We would love to finish stabilizing the Windows build so we can release for Mac and Linux! We’ve had tons of requests.
What Instant Messaging application did you use before Digsby?
I used AIM 5.9 + Gtalk.
What is your personal favourite feature?
The email integration. It’s nice not to have to keep checking my inbox through out the day. If I get an email that’s important I can open it right from there. If it’s spam, I can mark it appropriately without ever going to my inbox.
I’m interested to hear your comments on the whole ‘perpetual beta’ a lot of companies have going on these days. Are you working towards an actual version 1.0 release, or is Digsby going to do a Google for the next few years?
It’s a little more complex than that. There will never really be a 1.0 or a 2.0 but it will also not stay in beta for years. We adopted a development cycle that is more typical of a website than a software product. A software product typically releases version 1.0 and then there is a massive effort to release 2.0. You need to then convince people to start using 2.0 because it is better while also providing support for 1.0.
With a website, every time you visit the site you see the newest version. Digsby auto-updates each time you run it so you are always running the latest release. We release new versions almost every week. Check out http://changelog.digsby.com. Once it is a bit more stable we will remove the alpha or beta tag that we put at the end of each release but the fast release cycle will remain unchanged so there won’t be a version 1.0 and version 2.0…..just constant builds that keep making Digsby better and better.
Any hints you’d like to share about something big which is yet to come?
Mac + Linux releases!
What do you think of Digsby becoming the ‘Firefox’ of instant-messaging applications?
We have seen that tag line in many reviews and are honored by it. Firefox is a great browser and being put on the same level makes us smile and encourages us to push even harder to improve Digsby.
Do you have any opinions you would care to share on the latest Windows Live Messenger?
It’s a great IM client in my opinion.
So thanks to Steve.
If you haven’t tried Digsby out yet then I would very much recommend it!