yet another XMPP instant messenger

Happy Birthday, yaxim! 10 Years of Android XMPP

A decade ago, today, the first yaxim commit was created, making it now officially half as old as XMPP. Since then, much has happened both in the XMPP ecosystem and on the Android side of things.

2009: The Beginning

Back in 2009, the Android platform was still brand new, and it was lacking a Free IM client. There were rumors and announcements, but nobody had posted working code yet.

The first specific hint was a German slide deck by Sven and Chris, presenting their semester project, YAXIM - Yet Another XMPP Instant Messenger.

Some friendly emails later, a GitHub project got created, and the coding went on. At the end of the year, a lightning talk was given at the 26C3, showing how yaxim looked back then:

26C3 slide: state of affairs

26C3 slide: screenshots

In the early days, it was a huge challenge to reliably deliver messages, and things were improving only slowly.

Significant Steps

In 2010, YAXIM got renamed into yaxim, to look more like a name and less like a yelling acronym.

In 2013, Bruno was launched as yaxim’s cute little sibling, to appeal to children and everybody who loves animals. It has attained almost 2000 active fans by now.

Also in 2013, the yax.im XMPP service was launched, mainly to make on-boarding from yaxim and Bruno easier, but also to have a stable and reliable service usable for mobile clients.

Finally, in 2016, yaxim got its current yak-oriented logo.

yaxim feature graphic

A Review In Numbers

From day 1, yaxim was more or less a hobby project, with no commercial backing and no full time developers. Over the years, the code base has grown slowly, with 2015 being an especially slow year.

yaxim commit history

Some contributors were more active than others… 😉

yaxim Lines of Code history

Even though yaxim still has more total installs on Google Play than Conversations, the latter is said to be the go-to client on Android, and very popular among federation nerds. Still, at least in the last three years, there was no decline in the number of devices that yaxim is installed on (Google doesn’t provide stats before 2016):

3 years of devices

Current Challenges

The technical foundation of yaxim (Smack 3.x, ActionBarSherlock) became rather dated, and currently much effort is going into making yaxim look great on modern (Material design) Android devices, and to support modern features like interactive permission dialogs and battery saving, as well as the Matrix (with the support being currently dormant.

Please check out the Google Play beta channel to stay up-to-date with the most recent developments, and let’s see how the next decade will develop!