The next update of Twhirl will get support for yet another nanoblogging service, Identi.ca, and on that platform Twhirl will feature a communication method that Twitter users have been asking for: push updates.
Read to end of story for the download link and instructions.
In other words, the Twhirl client won't have to ping the Identi.ca servers to get updates; instead, updates will be sent directly to the Twhirl client. This makes nanoblog conversations more live--you can have a back-and-forth without hovering over the "update" button. It also means that your Twhirl client doesn't have to be hitting the Identi.ca servers every few minutes for updates, which reduces the load profile on the service, theoretically at least.
In practice, the push capability of Identi.ca is more complex. Identi.ca doesn't do the pushing itself. Instead, Identi.ca sends its updates to Google Talk, a Jabber-based IM platform that supports the open XMPP standard for instant messaging; and it's those XMPP messages that get pushed out to the Twhirl desktop clients installed on users' computers.
The two-step requires users have two logins: One for Identi.ca, and one for Gtalk, and that they enter them into both Identi.ca and Twhirl.
It's unknown when (or even if) Twitter will open up a push interface or unlock its XMPP support, or how Twitter and Twhirl will work together to make setup easier than it is for Identi.ca.
Twitter does support the XMPP standard for sending out the "fire hose" of its content, but it's not open. Only four sites right now get the feed: Summize, which Twitter bought, Twittervision, FriendFeed, and Zappos (yes, the shoe company).
Identi.ca, by the way, is cool because it's open-source. But other than that I find little reason to use the service: it doesn't have Twitter's user network nor newbie Plurk's user interface innovation. Seeing Identi.ca updates pushed to Twhirl just raises the obvious question: When will we get this feature on Twitter?
The new version of Twhirl will probably be announced Monday, Seesmic CEO Loic LeMeur told me.
To get the version of Twhirl that supports Identi.ca, grab this download. Log in to the Identi.ca site, go to the IM tab and enter in your Gtalk ID. Also check the "Send me notices through Jabber/Gtalk..." box in Preferences. In Twhirl, go to the configuration panel for Identi.ca, go to the Network tab, and in the "XMPP Settings" box, enter your Gtalk ID and password, and "talk.google.com" in the server field. You'll know it's working if you see a little lightbulb icon in the lower-right of the Identi.ca panel light up.
Which way will Twitter go? by Dave Winer.