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My complete requirement is development of a chat engine - including server, clients etc. Currently I am working on things at my desktop only but once done, I have to host it; basically incorporate it with in a site for chatting purpose. So, now my problem is:

I am not clear about how the actual data flow is? I have googled and read about xmpp (a book by Peter Andre) also but I am not clear about the flow and what are the actual requirements to do the above mentioned task. What I currently know is:

  1. I need a server - so selected ejabberd

  2. I need client - still not sure which one to use and one other doubt is how this client thing will work when deployed on some website for chatting purpose.

  3. Some library - don't know which one and what is the purpose?

Can anyone guide me?

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3 Answers

This concerns points 2 and 3:

You can communicate through Protocol Buffers or MessagePack. They can be used with a variety of languages as they have bindings for many languages. Data can be transferred in a platform/device independent manner through them.

Now-a-days, chat clients can be pure javascript based, so that they can interact asynchronously with the chat server (or maybe in an event driven manner).

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Your server should be an XMPP server, and indeed ejabberd is an option. One which we use here as well.

Secondly you say you need a client but at 3 you ask which library you need, so the question is if you need to write a client yourself or use an external client.

In the case of an external client you only need to configure the server and then connect the client to it. (Pidgin is a client in which you can connect to a XMPP server)

If you need a library it is probably to write the client itself. For this you have many options. One for Javascript is Strophe. For PHP you have XMPPHP.

Since you need to "write" a chat I'm guessing you have to write the client yourself. So you need to do the following: Set the domain and server. Then make sure the client can log in with his data. Set a connection to a set client. If this is a 'room' you can make the room a client that receives messages from all the others and then send a message to all other users saying: 'user:message'.

I hope this gives you a clear answer?

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We have used the Openfire xmpp server to build a custom solution, for in-house chat, in java.

The server is very stable. Actually we have restarted the server only once and it is working 9 months now. The Openfire website provides all additional libraries like "smack" to build your own client.

You will find also a ready to use IM client named "Spark".

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