Setting up an online chat system

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I have been asked by my manager to look into the possiblily of setting
up an online chat system for the external website. We run an Apache
server with PHP (hence the reason Im posting here) so it would need to
run on that.

Basically, it will run on the website and its purpose will allow
members of the public to access the chat room and discuss current
topics with experts. Similar to a doctors interactive website where
patients can speak and get advice from their GP.

Anyway, Ive never set up anything like this before so dont really know
where to begin. The chat system may be something that we would need to
pay for but ideally it will have a professioanl appearance and be easy
to implement (please).

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks


Re: Setting up an online chat system


I guess if you post here, it is because you want to implement a PHP

I did something similar, simple (even with a web-cam image) BUT the
usage is not convenient.
In fact you must tell the browser to refresh the web page (or the
iframe) let's say every 3 seconds in order to refresh the chat lines.
And that's fine for fun, but not for professional.

Maybe I am wrong, and there is a better solution, so I would not
recommend such a solution.


Re: Setting up an online chat system

bizt wrote:
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Google is your friend.,GGGL:2005-09,GGGL:en&q=chat+programs

You won't find a good PHP solution; HTML, being stateless, doesn't lend  
itself well to things like chat.  There are workarounds (i.e.  
auto-refresh the page every few seconds) - but not good ones.

Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.

Re: Setting up an online chat system

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If you have any experience with client side Java and / or Flash applications  
you might wanna look into the use of PHP socket connections; in other words  
let PHP run a socket server.

I've run some small tests on my home box with flash, seems to work alright.  
But I have no idea what payload a PHP socket script is able to cope with. I  
didn't get into it very deep.

Google around for PHP sockets, there are a few good examples.

Here's a starter:  

Re: Setting up an online chat system

I would take a look at some of the new online instant messaging
applications like Meebo for examples. If iw ere implementing this i
would do a PHP backend with a javascript / ajax front-end to refresh
the content. The javascript would call out to the php script (which
would keep the chat record) and would also send in new text from users.

Re: Setting up an online chat system

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You could try HCL or realchat, not sure which (if either) is php based, not  
gotten the chance to do anything with them yet.


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