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3 Posts authored by: dombiak_gaston

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 youtube.com 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.

This is the second blog post about real time communication support in Clearspace that started with Connecting a chat client to Clearspace. Today we are going to cover chat events that are going to be available in Clearspace 2.1. Lets start giving some personal examples to illustrate real usages for chat events.

 

  1. Every Wednesday at 10:00 AM PST developers of igniterealtime.org projects join the chat service to answer development questions. Members of the community can join the chat service using their XMPP client of choice or using the web client. Moreover, users of other XMPP servers can also join the chat service as long as server-to-server is enabled.

  2. Every Monday morning developers of the Real Time Communication team, that includes local and remote developers, join a chat room to discuss status updates and goals for the week.

  3. Last week I was invited to a meeting to discuss some technical problem about clustering.

 

In the above examples we see different usages for chat events. The first example is showing a repetitive chat event that is not associated to any space, project or social group but to the entire site. In the second example we have a project, but it could be a space or social group, whose members meet every week to discuss their work. As you would expect, permissions of the container are applied to determine who can join the group chat. And finally, we see that scheduled chats could be a one time only activity.

 

A chat transcript is created for each occurrence of the chat event. When the event is over the transcript is "closed" and moderators can moderate/edit it. As any content in Clearspace, transcripts are indexed on real time and can be searched just like you search for a document or a blog.

 

A persistent room in Openfire is created for each chat event. A new groupchat service was added to Openfire that interacts with Clearspace to control who can create, join, configure and delete rooms. As I said in my previous blog, it is possible to use your own XMPP client to join a chat event or you can just chat from the Clearspace site. File transfers in rooms was also added to Openfire but the Clearspace side is not ready yet so the feature will be ready for the next release of Clearspace. However, since you can use your own XMPP client it is still possible to make use of the new functionality to share files in a room. The file transfer feature is based on WebDAV File Transfers

 

Next week we will cover other type of conversations that are going to be part of Clearspace 2.1.

 

 

 

As many of you know we have been working heavily for the last months integrating Openfire with Clearspace. This is the first of a series of blog posts that will cover the things that you are already able to do in Clearspace 2.0 when using Openfire 3.5 and new things that you will be able to do in Clearspace 2.1.

 

I will start first describing what is Openfire. Openfire is the award-winning, open alternative to proprietary instant messaging. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber). Since XMPP is a standard protocol, it means that clients that understand the protocol can connect to the server. Example of clients are: Pidgin (ex Gaim), Adium, Trillian, Psi, Spark and many others. Moreover, you can also use web clients like meebo or our own SparkWeb client to connect to Openfire.

 

Openfire can be configured to read the list of users, groups and user authentication from different backends. As of Openfire 3.5 we added the option to instruct Openfire to obtain that information from Clearspace. That means that if you have an account in Clearspace then you can use the same credentials to connect to Openfire and chat with other Clearspace users. If server-2-server is enabled on the Openfire server then you can also chat with GTalk users or other users of other Clearspace instances that installed Openfire. Moreover, you can also chat with AOL, MSN, Yahoo or ICQ users by just installing the gateway plugin in Openfire.

 

One popular feature in Openfire is called shared groups. Shared groups are groups that are pre-populated in the contact list of your chat client from the server. Clearspace 2.1 will use the shared group functionality to automatically expose your social groups in your roster. That means that if you are part of a social group then all the members of that group will appear in your roster. Next in the list is to expose project team mates and lastly in the list is your friending network.

 

Next week we are going to cover how to use groupchat from Clearspace.

 

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