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jdavidb (1361)

jdavidb
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http://voiceofjohn.blogspot.com/

J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Tuesday August 20, 2002
08:26 AM

Open Source HTML chat application

[ #7192 ]

I've been spending time in an HTML chatroom recently. I'm no stranger to HTML chat, though I'm almost a stranger to IRC. I can name three different HTML chatroom systems I've used. None were free software that I know.

This current one is written in VBscript. It works mostly okay, with plenty of minor difficulties. First of all, I know it's written in VBscript because when the chat window reloads we often get "VBScript error ###############" messages. Sometimes it kicks people out of the room. Sometimes it tells people they are already in the room and won't let them log in. Sometimes it says somebody left but they are still there (and then you can't send them private messages). Sometimes some kind of security check goes out of whack and accuses you of being up to something when you're not. Speaking of security, I've seen some holes, and don't trust it at all. Oh, and the instructions for private messages and special actions don't line up with reality.

I've been sort of hunting for an open source HTML-only (no Java) chatroom implementation. I'd like to soup it up and donate it to the folks who run the site. Thinking about this problem has reminded me of one of the reasons I like open source software so much -- for many purposes, it's usually better than the alternatives.

So, anyone know of a good HTML chatroom implementation under an FSF or OSI palatable license?

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  • In his Web Techniques column, Randal did one [stonehenge.com] in less than 100 lines of Perl.

    Haven't tried it myself yet, but it should be a good starting point.

      --- Joe M.
  • We use http://sourceforge.net/projects/phpmychat. I too have been thinking about the subject as I really need something that I can hook Jabber into.

    These things all seem to use some sort of database in the background.

    The overall issue is the refresh mechanism. I see lots of use of the META tag to refresh. And now I've experienced how different browsers implement that. Some do it fast and clean. Some slow and awkward. The slow and awkward ones are bad enough that users won't use it.
    • Just in case you're still interested, I found a CGI chat program that works optionally with either flat files or a DBI-accessible database today, called ralfchat, on sourceforge. I need to go home to check it out, but it sounds pretty good. Apparently it has good internationalization support and is in use in several countries besides mine. :)

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers