Friday, 14 March 2008

Lighting your campfire with fluid

Note: The RichText blog has moved to www.ricroberts.com



Inspired by blog posts from Robby Russell, and thoughtbot, we've recently started using Campfire for
text-chat between our distributed Swirrl team members.

As we all use macs, we were previously using Apple's iChat, with aim/.mac accounts. However, we often had connectivity problems with this, and so I went on the lookout for something new.

Although Campfire doesn't let you display a 'status', we use the idea that if you're in the chat room then you're available for chatting, and if you're not, then you're either away or don't want to be disturbed. This works fine for us. One major benefit of Campfire is that the transcripts of all chats are stored on the server for easy searching.
fluid logo
As is usual for a 37 signals application, The user interface is clean and intuitive. If you're on a mac, the user experience can be further enhanced by using fluid. Fluid lets you create what it calls "Site Specific Browsers". These are bascially uber-bookmarks that you can put in your dock, and let you launch a site in its own little browser as if it was a standalone app.

When using fluid, if you have any unread messages in a chat it handily shows up the dock icon (the image for which can be downloaded here).

If a conversation gets too complicated for text-chat, we still resort to an iChat voice chat, for the reasons described in this old post. iChat also offers the benefit of screen-sharing if you're on Leopard.



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2 comments:

Jake C. said...

You should check out Tim Harper's script for growl notifications. We love it at Alliance Health. Tim is a fellow Utah Ruby Group member and one dang prolific coder.

http://tim.theenchanter.com/2008/03/growl-notifications-for-campfire.html

Richard Roberts said...

Jake - I've already checked it out, as Robby Russell's post mentioned Tim's great scripts. Thanks anyway - your comment will at least mean that other people are more likely to find them. :-)