Transition from TeamTalk Classic to Qt TeamTalk
TeamTalk is a conferencing system that for many years has taken an important place in the visually impaired community, in particular due to its exemplary accessibility.
A Brief History
Historically, TeamTalk has for a long time been provided to Windows users in two distinct versions: TeamTalk Classic for Accessibility (often shorten to TeamTalk Classic) and TeamTalk (otherwise named Qt Client, due to the technical platform on which it is being developed).
The reason TeamTalk Classic is still available is that the Qt platform has always had accessibility shortcomings. Some of these shortcomings can be resolved directly in Qt based applications, but others need to be addressed in the Qt project itself.
Another reason for continuing to use TeamTalk Classic has been the Qt client’s absence of automatic announcements for TeamTalk’s events (messages, users log in/out), but this has now been available in the Qt client since version 5.7.1.
Although the Qt client has some shortcomings when it comes to accessibility it is also the case for the Classic client. One example is the navigation with Shift+Tab shortcut in the main window which is the biggest problem of client. Previously other problems like missing labeled area to screen readers was also present.
Future of TeamTalk Classic
At the time of writing the most recent stable version of TeamTalk is the version 5.8. Since TeamTalk version 5.7.1 many accessibility improvements were made to the TeamTalk Qt client and users of TeamTalk Classic were encouraged to move to the Qt client.
Starting from TeamTalk version 5.8.1 the accessibility client will enter “phase out mode” which means that only important bug fixes will be implemented in TeamTalk Classic for Accessibility. Therefore users are once again encouraged to move to the Qt client in order to try new TeamTalk features.
Once the remaining accessibility issues have been fixed in the Qt client then the TeamTalk Classic client will no longer be included in the TeamTalk installer. However, since since these issues are depending on a third-party, the Qt project, then it’s hard to set a deadline on when this will happen.
Reason for the Transition and Abandonment of TeamTalk Classic
The reason for the TeamTalk developers’ decision to progressively stop continued development on the TeamTalk Classic client is due to the additional time it takes to support two clients on one platform. Other platforms, Android, iOS, macOS and Linux, only have one client application and these as well takes a lot of time to maintain.
At the moment there’s only few developers contributing to TeamTalk project so it’s simply a matter of using the limited resources we have to give the maximum output, in terms of features.
From a user standpoint the two Windows clients are very similar so one should think it doesn’t take much time to port a feature from one client to the other. But since the two clients are using different development framework, i.e. different components, then none of the components can be reused in either clients and everything has to be developed from scratch. In addition the TeamTalk Classic client is using components that are gradually becoming obsolete.
If you’re using the TeamTalk Classic client then please take the time to try out the Qt client. The switch to the Qt client will at some point be inevitable. The most important bugs that cannot be corrected in TeamTalk have been reported to the Qt project and corrections are followed closely.
The Transition From a User Standpoint
Now that all the explanations have been given, it is time to talk about you, the users, and what you have to do for this transition.
First of all the the configuration files between the two TeamTalk clients are not identical, and a bit work is required to switch from one to the other.
To begin with you’ll have to save your servers from the Classic for Accessibility client:
- Once your client is open, press F2 to enter in the servers list. In the list choose the server to save, then click on the “Generate .tt File” button
- The default settings in the dialog box should now match the server, so click on the “Save .tt File” button
- In the saving dialog box which display, give a name to your file and choose a save location
- Repeat the operation for all servers you want to save, this can be an opportunity to sort your servers if old unused servers are still present
Installation of the Qt Client
Your servers saved, it’s now the time for you to install the Qt client.
- Download the most recent TeamTalk installer and run it
- When installing, at the moment to choose components to install, select “TeamTalk 5 Client”
If you prefer, a portable version also exists
This part expects that you have installed the Qt Client for the first time:
- At its first startup, the client will ask you some questions:
- “Do you wish to add TeamTalk to the Windows Firewall exception list?”: reply “Yes” to allow TeamTalk to communicate out of your network
- “TeamTalk5 has detected usage of a screenreader on your computer. Do you wish to enable accessibility options offered by TeamTalk5 with recommended settings?”: reply “Yes” again to find the same behavior of voice announcements of events that you knew in the Classic client, of course reply “No” if you don’t want to activate this feature
- Once this two question are completed, you are now in the main TeamTalk interface
At this point, the client may appear a bit difficult to use but here is the solution:
- Press F4 to open settings as you used to
- If necessary, go first to the “Display” tab to configure your language, click on the “OK” button and now press F4 again to reopen settings
- Now you just have to configure everything as you see fit, do not hesitate to compare with your parameters of the Classic for Accessibility client, all the parameters of this one are present in the Qt client, and some additional parameters are also available.
Re-import the servers
You have previously backed up your servers from the Classic for Accessibility client, it’s the time to re-import them in the Qt client:
- From the main window, press F2 to display the servers list
- Click on “Import .tt File” or alternatively use the Alt+I shortcut
- Select the file to import
- Repeat the operation for all of your servers and they will then appear in the server list
You have now completed the transition between the two TeamTalk clients, all you have to do now is enjoy.
Interface and features differences
The Qt client offers an almost identical interface to what you knew in the Classic client, for example, all shortcuts are the same. The most significant difference is that the main window is composed of four tabs instead of two, also, the “Files” tab contains some buttons that the Classic client didn’t have. Another difference in the main window is the presence of a “Send” button when the message area contains text.
Among other minor differences, we can note the support of multiline messages in the public chat. Finally, the Qt client having additional features compared to the Classic client, the appearance of some windows may change slightly, especially with regard to preferences.