Fate of TeamTalk Classic

TeamTalk Accessibility

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.

Servers Backup

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.

If you prefer, a portable version also exists

First startup

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:
    1. “Do you wish to add TeamTalk to the Windows Firewall exception list?”: reply “Yes” to allow TeamTalk to communicate out of your network
    2. “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

Client configuration

At this point, the client may appear a bit difficult to use but here is the solution:

  1. Press F4 to open settings as you used to
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. From the main window, press F2 to display the servers list
  2. Click on “Import .tt File” or alternatively use the Alt+I shortcut
  3. Select the file to import
  4. 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.

6 Comments

  1. After testing latest 5.8.1 beta version, I think there is still much to do before saying goodbye to the classic client. The treeview is not consistent. Right arrow expands a tree item when it has sub-items, otherwise moves between several cells in a permissions table which isn’t always visible. Left arrow tends to collapse the item instead of moving back through these cells. The “collapsed/expanded” status is not properly reported to screen readers (I’m using NVDA). The treeview itself is not reported when focus lands on it, but only when using arrow keys. Control+alt+r removes the permission to stream media files, but doesn’t restore it. Finally, I miss some shortcuts and menu options to manage classroom channels, similar to those available on the classic client (control+alt+shift+q to toggle voice for everyone, etc).
    In the other hand, I have perceived the accessibility enhancements. It’s the first time I find a text field in a QT application which is completely accessible! Events are successfully reported via the Tolk library. Congratulations, hope the transition can be completed soon!

    • The issue of CTRL+Alt+R to restore stream permission and also the behavior of left key in channels tree has been fixed in the BETA2.
      For missing shortcuts, we’ll probably add it in a future version. And the others issues you have reported here are related to Qt, I’ve add a workaround to “colapsed” and “expanded” state announcements, but it’s not correctly reported as in all other apps.

  2. In case it helps, I’ve put up a few resources. All are available from my website. I would include specific URLs for this here, but WordPress blocked me from doing that. http://www.dlee.org/teamtalk/ is the best I can get through apparently.

    Items found there:

    JAWS scripts for the Qt client. I am still updating these but they do a lot already. (I don’t have an NVDA add-on yet but might also manage that.)

    A migration guide for those moving from Classic to Qt. This includes a process for migrating settings and servers, a tool that can move all server entries from Classic to Qt automatically so you don’t have to make TT files for each server one at a time, and a detailed and routinely updated list of differences between the clients, sometimes with tips on how to do things in the new one when the process is different than in the old one. There is also a section on how to configure the Qt client for accessibility, for reference in case things get messed up in your configuration for some reason.

  3. Wonderful as stated earlier. One accessibility feature I really would like implemented is: A switch to disable all sound events at once. Now it’s not accessible to see, if an event is selected or not. Again thanks for an amazing tool for voice chatting and much more. 🙂

  4. Hello. In the list of accounts, the NVDA program makes various settings, and because of this, it is not possible to find out information about the user. I select a user, and my screen reader program is interrupted by phrases of various settings.

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  1. TeamTalk v5.8.1 BETA2 ready for download – BearWare.dk
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