Little over two months ago, Khaled Mardam-Bey announced in the mIRC forums that there’ll soon be a public Beta-test of a new version of mIRC.
And just yesterday the Beta of mIRC 7.0 has been made available for download and testing for users that are willing to put up with it being “buggy and crashing often”.
The new version finally has Unicode support which required “tens of thousands of changes to 150,000+ lines of source code” and is the “most complex and time-consuming update to mIRC since it was created in 1995″.
Due to the rewrites the client “should now be faster, more stable, and more compatible with the latest versions of Windows” – hopefully there haven’t any new bugs been introduced that manage to stay hidden until the Beta goes final and is publicly released.
Aside from now being an Unicode application there have been a number of other feature-additions and bugfixes – including a now persistent channel history, some SSL-related optimizations and improved Windows 7 compatibility; the full changelog comes bundled with mIRC in the download.
Speaking of Windows compatibility – the new version drops the support for dated variants of the OS such as Windows 95, 98 and ME since they can’t natively run Unicode applications and the little Unicode support they have is limited.
The downside of the Unicode implementation is that “likely that some [existing scripts] will not work correctly” and the only way to know is “to test it out to see whether it behaves as you expect”.
If you decide to test the mIRC 7.0 Beta you’re asked to report any bugs you encounter on their forums – you however should update to the latest Beta and try to reproduce the bug with a clean install of the Beta first.
[Update 2] mIRC Beta Version 7.02 has been released, now checks if it runs in a WINE environment - 15 WINE-specific changes have been made, features known not to work are disabled under WINE. Other miscellaneous fixes include DCC and DDE message handling.
[Update 3] mIRC Beta 7.03 was released, adds miscellaneous fixes regarding DCC send/get dialogues, some .ini handling errors have been resolved and riched20.dll is now used for the richedit editbox again as it seems to be “faster and more reliable overall”. The /fseek command has had some line-matching bugs fixed as well as optimizations for BOM-checking in file routines which should only have minimal impact on read & write performance now. mIRC also gained a feature that prevents long lines from being cut off which are now sent as multiple lines instead if the feature is turned on.
[Update 4] mIRC Beta 7.04 is out and besides a small set of bugfixes and optimizations it adds UPnP support which enables simple and automated port forwardings on compatible routers – the feature works for DCC, identd and retrieval of your external IP address.
[Update 5] mIRC 7.05 Beta is available for download and extends the editbox history and the /sockread function to 100 lines and 4096 bytes respectively. Changes to the INI routines include quoting for non-printable characters, comments in topics are now saved properly and a bug that resulted in “random crashes” has been eradicated. For the rest of the fixes see the file versions.txt that comes with the download.
[Update 6] mIRC Beta 7.06 is out and updates OpenSSL to 0.9.8o, fixes a generic protection fault and comes with full screen support whose state is remembered across client restarts. CAP event handling has been changed to prevent scripts from suppressing CAP replies and the “Find Text” dialog now returns results from wrapped lines too.
[Update 8] In a neverending stream of updates, mIRC 7.08 Beta has just been released. A bug that could corrupt logfiles was fixed as well as a bug concerning unicode surrogates. The small number of bugfixes in this update (5, compared to 12 each in the last 2 updates) could be an indicator that mIRC 7 is getting closer to a final state.