NICKLEN would guarantee spacing but what would you do on the many IRC networks with NICKLEN=25 or NICKLEN=50 (etc)? They would all either render mIRC pretty ugly, or the feature completely useless (whichever one you want).
The problem is still with line wrapping though:
NICK1: blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Nick23456: blah blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah
That makes the alignment rather pointless, no? The only reason the specific xchat ui works is because nicknames are in the "margin" and don't take up part of the actual page body.
I do want to followup on MeSinkBAD's post though:
You state that it's not philosophical and then claim that you personally think mIRC is in need of a "UI overhaul". Well, the problem is this: I can't list numbers but there are probably a huge number of mIRC users who use the client specifically because
the UI is the way it is. I can at least say I'm one of those people, and that not everybody
agrees the UI needs changing. You can at least admit that your statement is subjective. Now, if you admit the question "Why change the UI?" has a subjective answer, then the issue is no longer based strictly in fact, but rather a philosophy
of each opinionated group, that mIRC is "outdated", for example, or that mIRC "should be more like xchat"-- none of these statements can be qualified, and the answer can only be found by agreeing to one of the philosophies of a group. Alternatively, you can try to make every group happy by implementing all features in question, but only if each feature-set can be completely isolated (compact mode vs normal, for instance).
But while options
are good, the point of my original post was that I don't think there's any real way of making both sides of this kind of philosophical issue happy. I don't think in this specific case that Khaled could maintain two separate UI's where the script engine would still function in an expected manner. For instance, there are still all of my unanswered & serious script related issues to solve relating to how mIRC would handle both window formats in one unified manner. For that reason, I made the claim that this is more of a "you'll never be fully satisfied, so just choose the client you're most comfortable using" issue. I mean, it really does beg the question why the OP can't, say, go to XChat and request they implement features he likes from mIRC instead of the other way around.