View Poll Results: Would you be interested in a live chat system on PGD?

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  • No

    3 14.29%
  • Yes

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Thread: AJAX Chatbox for Pascal developers?

  1. #1
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Question AJAX Chatbox for Pascal developers?

    phibermon has reached out to me and proposed the idea of starting a means of a live chat system designed just for our little community that will allow PGD and non-PGD members who use Pascal to chat live among each other.

    I believe his key point was best said...

    "I'm hungry for realtime chat but find a lot of game programming rooms often shun pascal developers and find the pascal related rooms devoid of game coders."

    Obviously referring to the existing #FPC and #Lazarus-IDE rooms over on the Freenode IRC servers.

    IRC was mentioned, but we tried this a while back and I don't think that it lasted too long. Besides this seems a little bit old of a concept in this day and age of digital communication. We later discussed another idea that I liked.

    One of the ideas he presented to me was something that caught my eye the most and that was a seemingly simply, yet sleek looking web script called AJAX Chat. Use of Flash and Ruby is optional, but I doubt that we'll make use of Flash so that it can be run on all your iPads and iPhones. Also there can be multiple rooms where a different category of topics can be discussed to prevent congestion if traffic picks up among a group already in discussion. It'll be up to you guys how you want to organize the rooms.

    Does this idea seem to interest you? Would you stop in for a chat and like to discuss issues with others live? Would integration with the PGD website make this more attractive than old and dull IRC clients?

    Who would be interested in having a live Chatbox on PGD that people can talk with each other live kind of like IRC, but a bit more modern and in more of a Web 2.0 way of chatting?
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  2. #2
    This is an interesting idea. I'd prefer an integrated chat (against IRC). I'd avoid flash. For me probably the forum based discussions are still more interesting just because they aren't live.

    Nevertheless it's worth a try.

  3. #3
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    Naturally I'd like to see it but I lack the history to state if I believe it would be extensively used or not. I'd certainly be keeping a session open, chatting or answering questions but with that said, I shall have to play devils advocate with my opinion :

    A real-time chat, if utialized by people to answer questions; may potentially rob the forum of the discussion.

    Chat logs would be inherently more difficult to browse for answers, being only partly mitigated by having topic specific rooms (which would in turn divide up the locality of chatters)

    If 'chat happens', it would most likely be better, in terms of the PGD forums as a resource; to encourage on-topic questions to be asked in the forum.

    ---

    Fighting the other side of the coin, I believe that real-time communication can paint a stronger picture of community and it may serve to turn more guests into members or to strengthen the participation of existing members by making PGD feel more 'alive'.

    ---

    Hopefully the poll will collect enough data to provide a statistically signifigant result. I've taken to pretending to be a C coder on IRC just to avoid being flamed "You're writing a game? in Pascal?!? hahahahah" etc etc
    Last edited by phibermon; 09-08-2011 at 05:30 PM.
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  4. #4
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Did I mention that there is a Demo that you can try? Check it out if you are interested: https://blueimp.net/ajax/
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  5. #5
    PGD Staff code_glitch's Avatar
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    I was looking for a 'Maybe... Depends on implementation' option but then I realized the only two where 'yes' and 'no'. I said yes, simply because the IRC during the Ludum Dare compo has a great feel (any LD competitors, you know what I mean, sleep deprived coding and helping each other out on there - a real sense of community) so during compos or other events based on a fast(er) timescale, a live chat would be great - but while IRC is great, pretty much anyone can log on including spammers etc, flash is just, well, horrendous but AJAX sounds good or a regulated IRC would be perfect IMHO.

    Just my two cents.
    I once tried to change the world. But they wouldn't give me the source code. Damned evil cunning.

  6. #6
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    I've experimented with the demo (https://blueimp.net/ajax/) and it looks good! Perhaps there are alternatives but should an implementation be pursued, this looks perfectly suitable (their statement of VBulletin intergration is promising)

    code_glitch : I've been a fond user of IRC in the past but yes I agree, spamming is rife. Regulated IRC unless supported by some custom bot would add a layer of complexity to site admin tasks.

    Such a solution as the proposed, given it could be configured to use VBulletin authentication; would provide an uncommon spam-vector and would have minimal impact on the sites administrative tasks (a ban in VBulletin is a ban in AJAX Chat). I'd wager that the uncommon combination of VBulletin + AJAX Chat is unlikely to be targetted by existing spamming scripts but then perhaps I under-estimate the persistance of spammers!
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  7. #7
    +1 for IRC.

    Some kind of chatting facility would be really great to have. I didn't know about any IRC channels for pascal (game) developers and if there are any, they are not well promoted IMHO. It should be a piece of cake to create a new channel for PGD on some server.

    Yes IRC is old, but it has earned it's place in cyberspace a long time ago. It's simple and effective! All kinds of clients have emerged during the years, including webbased ones. At Delgine they use a java applet to connect with DeleD's IRC channel. The community has been really quite over the last year but still I had some interesting conversations over there.
    I don't see why we should use a web-only client. It forces you to go to a single place and chat, while on IRC you can use the client you are allready comfortable with. I'm pretty sure that there are good IRC clients that can be embedded into our community website. There even are IRC chat plugins for vBulletin, so this should be really easy to do. (http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=246787)

    Finally, I personally prefer IRC because I have my own linux server which would allow me to stay logged in into any IRC channel (24/7) so I can read through any interesting discussions that passed by, join any if I'm behind my desk and possible act as a moderator in the channel.

    Just my $0.02

    code_glitch : I've been a fond user of IRC in the past but yes I agree, spamming is rife. Regulated IRC unless supported by some custom bot would add a layer of complexity to site admin tasks.
    I could play a role there. If the 10 most active PGD members all get sufficient privileges to kick spammers, I don't see the problem. It's just a small group of people chatting anyway.
    Last edited by chronozphere; 14-08-2011 at 08:11 PM.
    Coders rule nr 1: Face ur bugz.. dont cage them with code, kill'em with ur cursor.

  8. #8
    +1 for IRC

    Why try to reinvent the wheel when the end result would be nothing as good?

  9. #9
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    Why try to reinvent the wheel when the end result would be nothing as good?
    Right, I've been waiting for this Please excuse the length of this post as I want to make sure I cover a majority of factors :

    IRC is getting old in the tooth. No uniform way of displaying colours, no uniform ways of playing sound, no font control, no HTML formatting , no easy way to tie in user administration to an existing authentication mechanism (like VBulletins).

    An AJAX chat system would be far easier to extend/modify with PGD specific features (link to peoples profiles, profile-images etc)

    An IRC room would require an extensive and complex bot written just to do barely any of these things plus It's not good relying on external dependencies that you can't control. The bot crashes on an empty room? you could potentially loose the room.

    ---

    Check out AJAX chat, as a system for people to chat with its far more attractive than an IRC session, it fits very well with VBulletin, you can post images, use BBCode, it's easily extended to support embedding YouTube videos, special formatting for code-snippets etc

    As a user experience it's far superior and as an admin experience (from the perspective of current administrative duties) doubley so.

    IRC is instantly an issue for people that don't know how to use it, is filled with spam bots and script-kiddies of the worst kind (they think they're in some way 'L337' because they've downloaded some script that writes their name in big ASCII Art fonts)

    AJAX Chat is instantly usable with no previous experience and is also very familiar to anyone that's used a forum (like all of the PGD members).

    It will require pretty much zero admin because it's already covered in existing VBulletin processes and in turn will be restricted to members without having to write a custom bot to take care of the room.

    IRC only trumps Ajax chat in two areas : Vast numbers of rooms/users and File Transfer. Neither of which are needed in this scenario and certainly not worth abandoning all the modern benefits for.

    My apologies for attacking anyones beloved IRC but I just don't see it as the best potential solution to the above proposition. Peoples love of IRC stems from it's long history and it's status as the domain of warez and HAXORZ. lulz.

    It's got nothing to do with it actually being the best chat solution.

    Just look up any 'Talker' or 'MUD', they're all far better than IRC with far more features, better commands etc while still being used by telnet clients or IRC-like MUD clients.

    ---

    But wait! there's more!

    An IRC client requires a direct TCP connection so instantly will not work on any network that does not allow this. That includes most peoples work places, libraries, internet cafes and many public WIFI networks. AJAX Chat works over standard HTTP and will function quite happily through any proxy server.

    Anywhere you can browse the web, AJAX Chat will work.

    And finally, the number of devices that have web-browsers is far greater than the number that you can install an IRC client on plus there are *many* devices that do not support Java in a webpage (for a Java IRC Client).

    Some examples include Web enabled TVs, numerous phones (Including the IPhone), Nintendo Wii and the Playstation 3.

    Although granted, you can get IRC clients for the IPhone/IPad you'd still be throwing out many devices by using IRC.

    Why restrict anyone at all just to use an old 90s chat system when you can choose to restrict nobody and get a bunch of modern features as well?

    +1 For AJAX Chat.
    Last edited by phibermon; 15-08-2011 at 08:31 PM.
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  10. #10
    PGD Staff code_glitch's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to say this, but that it, to some extent 'reinventing the wheel'. If you intend to do so, at least please do it properly and thoroughly (my $0.02 of wisdom) and if you are one of those believing IRC is old (I agree) then find a solution: A new protocol. And before anyone goes and says WTF are you smoking, why do something so big for something so mundane etc... And that there'd be no client apps and whatnot then let me demonstrate a simple approach to this:

    1.) A stream based on Meta tags (html style type things) that way its just as versatile as your AJAX toy - and is extendable.
    2.) By all means, come up with a web client (I'm all for it, cross platform, quick, open source goodness)
    3.) Publish the protocol standards for GTK, QT and console developers. I'm working on a similar data transmission system over TCP/IP and UDP for a Prometheus experiment and networking in my programs (I want to get into data management and databases from scratch) - I'll write you an (or more than one) app thats cross platform and looks nice - console or GTK or whatever you like: we have a few delphi and lazarus developpers if I recall - both support networking do they not?
    4.) Publicise it to the IRC communities with open source clients and whatever - it proposes all the benefits of IRC and all the things we love from that system plus the versatility of AJAX and yada without being a gizmo. Effectively, let the pascal community overhaul an international standard on its own - plain and simple.

    I'll put it in a quote often overused (once more now 'No pain no gain' - this bit of effort could really help the greater community if anyone here has some ambition. Doesn't anyone ever get the feeling Pascal and related technologies is often dismissed as not fit for the real world by the C/C++ world and should stay educational only. Its a little 'unnerving' if you ask me.
    I once tried to change the world. But they wouldn't give me the source code. Damned evil cunning.

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