Hello World; Meet Speeqe

27Jun08

My team and I have been working on a new project. When we started Chesspark, we had no visions for a Web version, but that changed quickly after my wife showed me a JavaScript demo she wrote of a chess board with drag and drop pieces.  We took that little demo and added AJAX and BOSH. We built Strophe, Punjab, and Palaver.  Here we are a few years later with a robust Web messaging platform that is locked inside of our chess site.  It’s time to give this technology a life on its own.

We call it Speeqe, and it is group chat, simplified.

Group Chat Rocks

For years every company I’ve started or worked for has lived and breathed inside chat rooms.  We communicate; we work; we play.  Group chat is an indispensable medium for virtual or distributed companies, but it is also extremely useful for companies where everyone is in the same building.

Conversations can happen fast, or they can happen over the course of a day.  If someone comes in late, they can scroll back and read all the previous chatter.  If someone asks you a question when you’re not paying attention, the client can beep and let you know.  Using multiple rooms can segment conversations by topics. These features make group chat a powerful tool.

Group Chat Sucks

Group chat has longed been ruled by Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a decades-old, simple protocol with mounds of veneer added to it over time.  People have written better clients for IRC.  People have created Web based group chat tools.  Few have made any real progress to improve the state of the art.

With the exception of IRC and a small number of other services, group chat tends to be a walled garden.  AIM has group chat, but you have to use AIM clients and everyone needs AIM accounts.  Yahoo and MSN are carbon copies of this same model.  Web based services like Campfire (and countless others) are proprietary as well.

Speeqe Openly

It’s time to build a Web based group chat on top of open standards and modern technology, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Speeqe is a hosted group chat solution where you can create as many rooms as you like.  It is also a Web based interface to any XMPP Multi-User Chat room.  Because public rooms are logged and these logs are searchable, Speeqe is a repository of knowledge similar to Google Groups or any of the blog search engines.

Speeqe has a simple AJAX powered, Web based interface that is easy for anyone to use.  You can use Speeqe from any XMPP/Jabber account (for example, any GMail account will work), there is no need or requirement to create one.  Even anonymous users with no account can create rooms and participate in them (assuming room permissions allow this).  Any XMPP/Jabber client can connect to Speeqe rooms as well.

Check Out The Demo

Go to the Speeqe Web site to see a small demo of what is to come.  We’re already using Speeqe internally to host all our company communication, and using the Speeqe Web interface to access the rooms.    We plan to release early and often, and you should expect to see more in a few weeks.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for Speeqe or for group chat in general.  Leave a comment here, or feel free to email me.

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4 Responses to “Hello World; Meet Speeqe”

  1. 1 Stefan Sarzio

    Can’t wait to use it. Popular (populated) chat rooms have always been the “feature” I’ve missed most with Jabber/XMPP.

  2. Sounds fantastic and looks good. It would be great to have a technical writeup of how you set up the server, all the components you used etc…

    I’m keen to set up a similar thing for internal company use

  3. 3 metajack

    @stefan and @david: I’m glad you guys like it so far.

    @david: I’ll work on a tech writeup, but in the meantime you can read a little bit about it at the following URLs:

    * client side: http://metajack.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/strophe-preview-xmpp-in-javascript/

    * server side: http://thetofu.livejournal.com/71339.html

  4. Oh i can’t wait for this, i am very excited about it – and will implement it on my site the instant it’s out :)



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