In my previous blog posts I talked about Connecting a chat client to Clearspace and Scheduling chats in Clearspace. Today we are going to explain another usage of Chat inside of Clearspace.


Lets say that we create a new social group that can be seen by anyone and anyone can join the group. As described in Connecting a chat client to Clearspace, I can use my XMPP client to log into Openfire using my Clearspace credentials. I will then see in my roster (aka contacts list) the newly created social group and its members. From there I can easily tell if they are available, away, unavailable, etc. If I want I can start a one-to-one conversation or even send messages to offline users knowing that they will get them when they come back online.


A room in Openfire was created when we created the social group in Clearspace. Rooms are also created when you create new spaces or projects. So what are these rooms? These rooms are defined by XEP-0045: Multi-User Chat and will exist as long as the social group, space or project exists. When someone tries to join the room, Openfire will ask Clearspace if that user is allowed to join the room. Clearspace will check the user permissions on the social group, space or project to answer that question.


Most XMPP clients allow you to browse rooms on the server. This is a very convenient way for users to discover rooms and join them. As we said, Clearspace has the ultimate control on who can join which room. Once in the room, everything that is said and information about users that join and left the room is stored in Clearspace. The chat transcript and presence information is updated every minute in Clearspace. It is also immediately available for searches.


Besides being able to join from your XMPP client of choice you will also have the choice to join the room from the Clearspace site. When you go to the page of the social group, project or space you can customize it to have a widget that will show the room activity (without actually joining the room). Users can then click the join button to actually join the room and participate from the widget. Beside the widget option we also provide other ways to join the room from your site.


Moreover, just like you can do in it is also possible to copy some HTML instructions to embed the chat widget in your site outside of Clearspace. You can even pass the user/password from your site to the embedded widget so that the user does not need to log in again. However, if no user/password was passed then the widget will ask the user for his credentials before joining the room.