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Mad Chatter is a fun, easy to customize chat server written in Ruby utilizing HTML 5 Web Sockets
JavaScript Ruby
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Mad Chatter

Mad Chatter is a fun, easy to customize chat server. It's written in Ruby and utilizes HTML 5 Web Sockets for fast communication.

The goal of Mad Chatter is to basically become an open-source version of Campfire, HipChat, or FlowDock. Or at least use those as inspiration.

Getting Started

Since Mad Chatter is written in Ruby, you'll need to install Ruby in order to continue. We have a wiki page to help you with that:

How to install Ruby and RubyGems

Once you have RubyGems installed, you can install the Mad Chatter gem:

gem install mad_chatter

Then generate the directory where your chat application will live:

mad_chatter new mychatroom

This command will generate the following structure:

    config.yml      # for general configuration
    extensions.rb   # for writing your own extensions
    web/            # all of the html, css, and javascript live here

To start your chat server, navigate to the directory that was just created and run...

mad_chatter preview

This will start up the Mad Chatter chat server as well as a simple web server for you to preview/demo your new chat room. Now you can check it out by opening http://localhost:3000 in your browser. You should see something like this:

Mad Chatter screenshot

When you're ready to have other people use your chat server (friends, family, co-workers, etc) you'll want to host the server and web directory some place that they can access (on a web server, for example, if it will be used outside your local network). You'll also want to start the chat server and leave it running for a long time in the background. This is known as a "daemon". Here are a few useful commands for that:

mad_chatter start
mad_chatter stop
mad_chatter restart

Chat Actions

Mad Chatter can do some special things depending on the chat messages you send. Every chat message is parsed to see if it is a normal chat message, or if its a special action. These actions are much like IRC commands. For example, if I wanted to change my screen name from Andrew to Andy I could chat this message:

/nick andy

Mad Chatter will interpret this message as an action and change the user name to andy.

If I wanted to embed a YouTube video for all the members of the chatroom to enjoy, I could type:


Or if I wanted to shake everyone's chat window:


You can even create your own actions!


The goal of Mad Chatter is to make it easy to create, host, and customize your own chat server. Let's take a look at the different ways you can customize your new chat server.

If you want to customize the html/css of your chatroom, you'll find it in the web directory.

In the config.yml file you can see a few things you can customize.

The extensions.rb file is for you to create your own chat extensions. You will find a few examples in that file.

Mac, Windows, and Linux Wrappers

Once you've got your chat server running and being used by other people, you might be interested in using/distributing an installable application so your users have the convenience of clicking on an icon, receiving growl notifications, etc. Here's a list of the currently available "wrapper" applications:

Getting Help / Providing Feedback

Feel free to submit bug reports and feature requests to our GitHub Issues page, or post to the Google Group, or send me a message on GitHub.

You can also vote on upcoming features:


Please fork and send pull requests! Or submit issues if you have suggestions on how to improve.


Copyright (c) 2011-2012 Andrew Havens. MIT license. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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