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Author Topic: Need a simple chat system for small website prefer to host internally no frills  (Read 3332 times)

questorfla

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I am trying to find something that could be used to allow up to 5 or 6 people to carry on simple conversations while they are all logged into the same site.  I have seen and tried so many only to find that in the end, they all are too complicated to be used for what is needed. 
No smileys no nothing but text.  Best example I can think of is 5 people looking at a group of photos on a webpage and discussing the merits of each. 
I could give up a strip of space at the side which would allow for simple conversations but that is all I need.  nothing more. 

The biggest problem is that this is a very minor need but one which was requested.  It may not get used much but when it is used, it will be appreciated by those who use it.  I have considered linking to an outside service to provide the chat-function if necessary but would rather keep it all in house if possible.  In the long ago days of BBS systems this was not such an uncommon thing to have but now most chat setups are anything BUT simple. two people typing on the same sheet of paper is about as complicated as I need. :)
 
This is a project I started on about this time last year, made some progress, got sidetracked on other issues, and never finished. Now it is a topic of interest again.  It seems that the best I was able to find back then was some kind of "Community BBS" or .. The name is something I just do not remember but it was a donation supported program of some kind.  Thanks for any suggestions  And someone Please!  Tell me if I put this in the wrong place :) I have a feeling maybe it should be posted elsewhere.

app103

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Sounds like Microchat might just do the trick.

wraith808

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That's actually pretty cool... and a pretty cool site, to boot!  Thanks app!

questorfla

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Well I have to say this, if Microchat works as shown, it should be perfect for what I need.  Their example is exactly what I wanted.  The group of people logged in just need a simple way to communicate with each other while they are looking at each item.  That script I downloaded was So small that it looks impossible to perform the task.
If this does solve my problem I will definitely have to send a few credits your way APP103.

I am always in need of something unusual it seems and hard to find.  I sure hope this is one of those Gems!

Many Thanks for a speedy solution!  I hope I can embed it in the webpage without too much wrangling.

app103

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That was the simplest one that I found. If it doesn't work to your liking, let me know and I'll look for another.

questorfla

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I am very sure it will work.  I am trying to figure out how to incorporate it into the Shell.html for that part of the site.  The way it was designed (and there is too much that would have to be redone) I have a LOT of space on either side of a totally filled center area.  If I can get the chat into either or even both of the two side panels it would have more than enough room.  The width of the center panel is about 700 as best as I can figure on every page.  The headers and footers cover 650px in width which means I should have approx. 300px split half left half right.
I could also center the chat in the same format 650x??  whatever height.  but there is so much wasted space on the left and right it would be far better if I could some how use that  either one or both sides.  maybe starting halfway down the page so as to not be too cluttered.
I don't think I can attach a link or jpg of the design  not sure if it is allowed. 
 
I would hate to split the chat with half running on left ad then transferring to the  if it got too long but I guess I have actually set it up to see what it looks like.
The people who are on the site just asked for a way to make comments to each other.  Not write a novel :)  So.. ..I just need to get it working and see what happens.  I have the module uploaded to the site and I am trying to figure out how to merge the two.  The login part is not really necessary as the users are already logged in.  I wish  I wish I was better at programming PHP but I can barely maintain much less modify.

If you are knowledgeable with PHP, I would gladly issue even more credits or ..I don't know what the procedure is for asking for help to get this incorporated.  I don't want to break any rules.  This has been a GREAT site for all the knowledge I have gained from it.   Thanks again so much for just the referral to the site
I agree with the other poster.  I need to look at all the tools they offer here as there is a wealth of useful information

questorfla

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It works great.  To well to want to modify it, actually.  This leaves me with only one problem left.  I can use a link written into the shell.html which appears on every webpage as a "click here" to get into the chat which lives in its own folder inside the website.  But I cannot figure out how to return to the point from which I left when I went there.  Need to use something other than <a href I guess.  or find a way to store the point where they left so they can <a href to a variable and end up where they started from,  Either that or I have to merge the two index.php files into a single page.  I have plenty of room for it and that was my first thought but leaving it intact inside its own folder worked so well I hated to change it.

app103

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I can use a link written into the shell.html which appears on every webpage as a "click here" to get into the chat which lives in its own folder inside the website.

try target="_blank" to open that in a new window/tab so they can continue to browse around the site and chat at the same time.

Or alternatively, add a button on the chat page to go back, like this: http://www.w3schools...ref/met_his_back.asp

Both of these are probably better in the long run, than loading the chat whether someone wants to chat or not, on every page of the site.

Also keep in mind that if the site is on shared hosting, that most hosting company's TOS forbid the hosting of live chat on their servers (some dedicated and VPS, too). Make sure the TOS doesn't say this before you go live with this, or you'll be giving them a reason to suspend the site's account. If it does, you'll need a chat hosted by a 3rd party, which are usually not as simple in design and usually come with some sort of advertising, if they are free.

questorfla

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Thanks again app.  I tried to give you credits already and found I gave them all to the board.  Have to load some more :-\

The suggestions you gave this time may be over my head.  The site is hosted on MY server.  So no problem with breaking any rules :).  But using "target=blank" seems odd although I believe you 100%. I just have to figure out how to use it.  As is, when they click the "click here to chat" it completely closes the page they were on and moves into the microchat folder.  If it instead MINIMIZED the page they were on, that Would Be extremely helpful.  Maybe that is what you are pointing me toward?  That would be a terrific solution as long as I can guard against anyone "backing into" the site as it is password protected to start with

but they cannot see the items they will be discussing without leaving the MicroChat page and returning to whence they came in.  there is an icon.gif image that seems to be unused in microchat and I figured I would just make that a "return" button but so far .. "return to where" seems to be the problem.
The whole thing is a little more complicated than a simple website.  I cannot allow the users to simply exit and then come back,.  that was where your Microchat was a lifesaver.  It let me keep everyone inside the site .  once they log into the MAIN site they stay until completed which until now I had no way to allow them a means of discussion.  I just need to be able to drop out of the microchat folder and back to the shell.html they were in. the "click here to chat" is easy to access, the chat itself is beautiful, I just need to get them home afterward.  And very likely they will be back and forth as there are multiple items they have to give an opinion on and probably discuss.  I wonder if I can force a 2 way split vertical screen with the chat as a separate window as you suggest?
I will give it a try and see what happens .  Thanks for the help.  As soon as I get this done I will reload my account and pass along some credits:)

app103

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target="_blank" would be added to the link leading to the chat page, like so:

<a href="path-to-chat-script-folder/index.php" target="_blank">Click here to chat </a>

And the link I gave you gives an example of how to use some really simple javascript to create a button that sends the visitor one page back in their browsing history, back to the page they were on when they clicked the chat link.

questorfla

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Many thanks again.  I am an old school hardware Tech.  I'm good at what I do but only passable at the rest.  COBOL was my last serious attempt at programming and as soon as I start seeing the end ahead on HTML4 they change to HTML5.  I am already about to go nuts trying to figure out why Firefox can no longer draw a straight line.  The same coding that aligned the site modules before still works on IE10 or even Chrome.  But Firefox looks like a drunk driver at the wheel
One thing that I may not be making clear is that this IS a site where they would probably want the chat on every page.  that is the whole purpose of it is to discuss the merits of specific documents and it is a committee of people who will be there and Only them.  The ability to discuss the merits or lack thereof on any plan is going to either get done right then or done from notes taken and whatever they remember about it later.  I just need to read a bit and try your suggestions  I think this is going to work this time

questorfla

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Oh well.  I know what I think is wrong I just do not know how to fix it.
<a href="path-to-chat-script-folder/index.php" target="_blank">Click here to chat </a> I put in the exact spot where you click to go to chat,
click it and the transfer works flawlessly,  Always does.  But the Go back to the regular page tro keep reading part just does npt have a corresponding outlet from the chat.  The only way ut that I can find (unless I add one) is to close the page. (ie; close the browser,)
shame  I cannot simply minimize it that would solve everything,  the program itself simply opens a file called chat.html.  it seems that here should be  a way to open to minimized or any thing but full screen.
Anyway, my typos are no exceeding y correct text :(  got to catch a few winks.  maybe I can see clearer in the am.

app103

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If you are opening the chat in a new tab/window with target="_blank", you don't need an extra button to "go back". The visitor would just close the chat tab/window when they are finished, and the original page they were on should still be there, open.

As far as minimizing the original page, that would most likely be something in the visitor's control, through their browser settings (maybe with plugins). I know my Firefox gives me the option to open new tabs from links in either the foreground or background (I usually prefer the background, though). Different browsers handle this kind of stuff differently, but it's usually up to the user how they want to configure it in their settings, and even if you have a choice on how to do it on your site, these user settings would over-ride that.

For example, this bit of javascript code added to your link could set the size, position, and other parameters of a new window, but in my browser, it would never be a new window (only a new tab) and never be the size you set (just a full page), and never open in the foreground (always in the background) because my browser is configured to always do that instead of what the web designer may have intended.

Does this make any sense to you?


One thing that I may not be making clear is that this IS a site where they would probably want the chat on every page.  that is the whole purpose of it is to discuss the merits of specific documents and it is a committee of people who will be there and Only them.

I guess the misunderstanding is my fault, because I didn't explain why, from a webmaster's point of view, you wouldn't want it on every page.

Unlike the designer's point of view where this might be a good thing for users, from a webmaster's point of view it's bad because it hammers the server whenever a page gets loaded. Get a bunch of people on the site at the same time, who have no intention of chatting, and if the chat loads on every page you are hammering the server for no reason. There comes a point where you cross a threshold where the number of users on the site is capable of bringing the whole site down, if they are all loading a live chat room for no reason, at the same time (this is why most web hosts don't allow live chat rooms and suspend the accounts of any webmaster that breaks this rule, as it can affect other sites hosted on the same server.). Putting the chat on its own page, to be used only if the user wants to chat, lessens the risk of bringing down the whole site.


But if you still want it on every page, I probably will have time this weekend to help you do it, one-on-one (privately), hands-on, even just doing it for you, if it wouldn't compromise any sort of confidentiality agreement you have with the site owners. Send me a PM by Friday night if you are interested in that kind of help.

questorfla

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sure but you will have to excuse my ignorance  I know what a PM is but I don't know how to send you one :(.  Basically, the number of users at any given time on this server COULD be up to 200  But never much more than that as it is a private server, private site used for specific people who have to log in with a name and password.  the single server hosts anywhere from 70 to 100 sites at the same time.  but the type of use makes the drain on the system extremely low.  the chat portion might only be requested on 10 sites out of the 80 or even less.  It was just a frill that was requested once, and I put it on the list of thing to try when I got the time.  Without Microchat, I would not even be looking now but I am intrigued by the methods used to create the document that it hosts. 
Anyway, if you can let me know how to PM you I would be glad to try.

app103

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Anyway, if you can let me know how to PM you I would be glad to try.

Right here:

http://www.donationc...n=pm;sa=send;u=19278