IRC is not dead. While its popularity has waned with the advent of the instant messenger and social site's chat apps like Facebook and MySpace, IRC remains an easy way to join groups of people and chat. And tons of news happens in IRC! There's hundred of thousands of chat rooms ranging from hunting to hacking, and yet a VERY few iPhone apps to get to these rooms. Enter FlowChat
The guys at Brancipater (yah, you know these guys... mbranes, francis, and pater) have put together a real nice looking app for reaching all your IRC friends and enemies. And yes, it does landscape.
Functionally, its smooth and makes sense. Once you open the app, it automatically logs you into their IRC room, and you can easily add whichever servers you'd like by hitting the familiar plus sign in the top right corner. Adding a server has a LOT of info (more than I ever seem to need), but good stuff for you real IRC addicts I suppose.
The app is separated into 4 main screens - Servers (which shows you the servers you have set up and whether you're connected or not to them), Chats (the actual rooms/PM's you are in), Logs (yup, every chat is logged automatically, although you could turn it off if you wanted), and Settings (obvious, and packed with features).
Chats brings up a list at the top of the screen of all the rooms/PM's you are in at the moment, and has a nice badging system for number of messages in that chat you haven't seen. To navigate between the chats you simply tap them, and for multiple rooms/PM's FlowChat displays a bar at top which you can slide back and forth to see the various chats. It works well, and one cool feature is that PM's actually pop up in a notification bubble when you're in a room.
Logs are easy to browse - organized by server, then date, then room. They display in the same view an actual chat would, and are easily searchable.
Settings are also full featured, including a much-needed and appreciated "Lock in Portrait Mode" (why doesn't the iPhone have this stock?!?!??!?!!?), and a variety of IRC related settings. Themes are even included for the app look and feel.
This is a great app, worth the $4.99 if you are an IRC fan... I use it often when I'm out and about and need to get ahold of folks, or am just bored. And guess what? We got ahold of francis, one of the FlowChat developers, who agreed to give out 5 freebies on this one - all you've got to do is comment on the app here in this thread. Winners will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday evening (my time... GMT-5).
FlowChat.me iTunes Direct Link