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Tag: gItter

Connecting Skype to Gitter

By @abs

The acquisition of Skype by Microsoft triggered a messaging supernova of sorts.

Fleep, Wire, and Gitter have all been founded by ex-Skype employees.

Fleep focuses on workspace collaboration, Wire is a consumer product competing with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and Gitter primarily serves open source communities.

Despite Gitter's superiority over Skype in handling technical communication—it even comes with LaTeX math environment support!

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—Skype has managed to retain its position as the de facto real-time communication service for companies and projects around the world.

For many teams, the need to choose between Gitter and Skype is cause for friction and organizational unrest. Instead of focusing on work, people expend energy on convincing others to replace tool X with tool Y.

Instead, we propose a different solution: connect Skype to Gitter and let their adherents work in comfort and peace.

Instructions

Setting up a real-time connection between a conversation on Skype and a room on Gitter is fairly straightforward. First, make sure you've got a Skype group ready, as well as the Gitter room—create, if necessary. Then, follow these steps:

Once that's done, you can fine-tune the way your messages appear on either end of the Tube by configuring posting options.

Keep in mind that both platforms have certain limitations—see our Limitations page for details.

This is the History of Chat

Click for timeline

When our colleague Mikl Kurkov suggested we make a timeline of chat services and their protocols, we all thought it was a great idea. (Little did we know how many services we’d find!) Today, we’re releasing the timeline, and it’s fucking scary. The number of chat services in the market is staggering.

(If you know someone who's thinking about starting a chat service, have them look over this timeline first—doing so might save him/her some substantial pain.)

Perhaps most interesting is how, for the most part, the current state of things has nothing to do with the infamous chat wars of the ‘90s. These days, everything’s largely peaceful and folks are playing nice. Most groups have their own vision for what features are best—and want to build the best chat service they can. Many start by looking around for a protocol, realize that few support the features they want to offer, and just roll out their own.

These organizations rarely realize the challenges they produce in doing so—and that they’ll lose users, because their service doesn’t speak to other chat providers. They do what they have to—and, in turn, add to the many dozens of protocols that are in no way interoperable. Until, they plug-in Sameroom (the universal translator for chat protocols), and suddenly their little island is connected to all the other chat services, out there.

Click to download the PDF


The source code for the timeline is freely available on GitHub. If you see any inaccuracies or omissions, feel free to file an issue or send a pull request: https://github.com/sameroom/history-of-chat.


The artwork for this project was expertly executed by (Eric Karjaluoto from smashLAB.

Connecting a Room in HipChat to a Room in Gitter

By @abs

Problem

Gitter is used by many open source projects on GitHub for real-time chat. It’s kind of like Freenode IRC for the XXI century. If you’re offended by the previous sentence, don’t be: you can access Gitter rooms from your favorite IRC client.

HipChat, on the other hand, is almost never used by communities, since its pricing prohibits open source projects from retaining chat history. Instead, HipChat is largely used at for-profit companies.

What happens when a team from a for-profit company that uses HipChat decides to engage with an open source project that uses Gitter? Basically, split brain: the HipChat team will now have to maintain two chat clients: HipChat and Gitter.

Solution

Sameroom offers an elegant solution: create a Tube between a room in HipChat and a room in Gitter, and keep using HipChat. This approach comes with the additional possibility to involve HipChat team members who otherwise wouldn’t go out of their way to keep track of Gitter discussions.

Instructions

Make sure have a HipChat room ready for mirroring everything from a room in Gitter; create one if necessary. Then:

  • Step 1: Add you HipChat and Gitter accounts to Sameroom;
  • Step 2: Open a Tube between your room in HipChat (Side A) and Gitter (Side B).

Once you do this, you can configure posting options, to fine-tune the way you messages look on either side of the Tube.

If you have any questions, holler!

When Team Chat Goes Down, Are You Ready?

When teams—or entire companies—adopt team chat, they quickly forget how any other form of communication is even possible. It’s like trying to figure how to operate a covered wagon instead of getting on a jet plane.

Dependence on team chat is a wonderful thing—you want it to happen. For distributed teams, it’s not even an option: it’s the only way to get stuff done. The more workflows, notifications, and processes you’ve got tied up in team chat, the merrier.

However, the more dependent you are on team chat, the more painful it is to deal with service malfunctions. When chat goes down, your company’s main circuit breaker is tripped. It’s a Category 4 digital disaster! And, as luck tends to have it, chat goes down when your own stuff is down, too (that’s Category 5).

What do you do? Skype? Email? Did you know that millenials don’t know how to use email?

Have a Contingency Plan

What you should do is have a contingency plan—a reserve parachute.

When your main chat service goes down, everyone on your team should know to transition to a secondary chat system. It should be on hot standby—preconfigured and ready to go.

Your company calendar should also have a monthly reserve chat training exercise, in which everyone logs into the secondary system. (They should do so from both desktop and mobile.) Any new team members can be added to the reserve system at that time, or—even better—during initial onboarding.

And, to cover all bases, if your main service runs on AWS, your reserve one really shouldn’t.

Shameless Plug

For additional synchronization, you can also set up a Sameroom Tube between War Rooms in primary and secondary chat systems. This way you can orchestrate a switchover without losing context—IP addresses, usernames, lines of SQL.

One More Thing

If you found this post useful, please tell your friends!

Connecting a Channel in Slack to a Room in Gitter

By @abs

Motivation

Bridging Gitter and Slack makes a lot of sense for Slack teams involved in open source projects that use Gitter for community chat. For example, if you’re working with VoltDB at work, wouldn’t it be nice to at least keep an eye on what’s going in the corresponding Gitter room, without leaving Slack?

Sameroom provides the necessary glue to help you connect a channel in your Slack team to a room on Gitter. Once connected, all messages and files will be replicated between the rooms, in real-time. In other words, you can be a member of the VoltDB open source community... from Slack.

This functionality has also proven useful for larger organizations, where chat platforms get adopted organically by independent teams. When such teams need to collaborate, they run into chat interoperability issues: at least one of the teams is faced with the prospect of either migrating to the other teams’s platform, or running multiple apps at the same time. Sameroom can be used to make life easier in both situations: bridge two teams for the duration of a project, or ease migration from one platform to another.

Instructions

First, make sure you've got a Slack channel ready (create one, if not).

  • Step 1: Add you Slack and Gitter accounts to Sameroom (click Slack, Gitter logos)
  • Step 2: On the Open-a-Tube page, select you Slack channel for Side A and Gitter room for Side B.

You can configure how your messages look in Gitter when posting from Slack—take a look at posting options for more info.