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A multi-room chat site in Rails using Faye and PrivatePub
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Chatterbox is a small multi-room chat website built with Ruby on Rails and Faye (using the PrivatePub gem by Ryan Bates).

Getting it Running

Chatterbox has three major parts:

  1. The Rails application
  2. The Faye server
  3. The MongoDB chat log

The Rails Application

The Rails app is a standard Rails 3 application. Once you've set up your config/database.yml file, a bundle install, rake db:schema:laod, and rails server and you should be up and running.

The Faye Server

Faye handles pub/sub for the app, along with the PrivatePub extension. is already set up to create a server for you; start it with

rackup -s thin -E production

Note: Faye currently requires thin, and its environment must be set to production (this is the RACK_ENV variable internally, not the RAILS_ENV).

You can configure Faye/PrivatePub using config/private_pub.yml. There is a sample for you to work off at config/private_pub.yml.example. Be sure to choose a good secret token!

If config/private_pub.yml does not exist, will use the values in ENV["PP_SERVER"] and ENV["PP_TOKEN"] for the server and token to use, respectively.

The MongoDB Chat Log

Chats and events are collected into a MongoDB collection. The app uses the values in the following environment variables to connect to a MongoDB database:

ENV["MONGO_PORT"] = "12345"
ENV["MONGO_DB"]   = "database_name"

Additionally, if your connection requies a username and password, you may set these environment variables as well:

ENV["MONGO_USER"] = "mongo_user"
ENV["MONGO_PASS"] = "mongo_password"

You need to create a collection called chatlogs in your database (using a capped collection works great for Chatterbox's purposes).

The Future

Expect some improvements as time permits. Specifically:

  • A list of users currently in a room, along with active/idle status
  • Rooms get deleted after they are empty for a certain amount of time
  • Able to change room settings after creation
  • Third-party auth that doesn't crash MRI
  • Maybe even an API!?
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