Even though services like Skype, Gtalk, Yahoo, AOL, Twitter and Facebook make it possible to instant or direct message just about anyone online these days, some folks still swear by Internet Relay Chat (IRC). In fact, for many die-hard geeks and software development teams, IRC is the only way to fly.
There are plenty of Web-based and standalone apps that let you join IRC chat rooms (or, channels, as they’re typically called) from your desktop computer, but once you go mobile, your options dwindle. Colloquy, one of the most popular open-source IRC clients for the Mac, now has a spiffy new version for the iPhone that lets you stay connected in-channel while you’re on the road.
Once installed, Colloquy sets up easily in minutes. To add an IRC network to your preferred list, simply supply its address and your identity information. You can choose to automatically connect to the server and even individual rooms at launch.
It’s easy to remove networks from your list if you decide you no longer want to visit them.
Colloquy runs in the background to track conversations and tells you at a glance where the action is. It also alerts you when someone in the channels you’ve joined uses your nickname or keywords you’ve pre-designated.
Channel conversations are streamlined thanks to nickname and emoticon completion popups and support for all the common IRC commands you’re used to using with computer-based IRC clients.
Colloquy for the iPhone has a number of other useful features including support for landscape mode, a searchable room member list, and secure connections over SSL. Clicked links open with the built-in browser, and Colloquy even stays connected when you lock your phone.
If you use IRC for online communication, then Colloquy for the iPhone’s $1.99 price tag is well worth it. The app is easy to use, even for a novice, and has a great user-community that can help you get started or answer any questions that arise. Once you have the app up and running, be sure to come by TheAppleBlog’s IRC channel and say hi.