The ChatterBox System
This is the client part of a complete "client-server" package. The server must be running before you can actually chat.
- If the chat server is down, you can not connect but you can still view the applet by clicking the button on the right (without actually chatting).
- If the chat server is up, you can start the applet by clicking the button on the right, then enter your preferred name and click on Connect. You will see everyone else who is currently connected to the Chat Server and you can join an existing room or create your own.
The "ChatterBox" is a Java-based Chat - or, in more technical terms, a "synchronous discussion" - program. To use it, simply click on the "Start Chatterbox" button and wait until the main ChatterBox window opens up.
The overriding idea of this Chat program is to make it as simple as possible. Once the main ChatterBox window appears, you need to enter a user name and click Connect to sign on. No password is required. Once connect, you will be in the "default" chat room called "Lobby". You can type in the bottom input text field and hit RETURN or click on Send to transmit your input to all other users currently in the "Lobby". If you want to be in another chat room, enter its name, your user name, and then hit Connect. If that room already exists, you will join the ongoing discussion, otherwise that room will be created so that others can join as well.
To leave a room, you simply click the "standard close box in the top right corner of the ChatterBox window. For additional features, please select one of the links below.
- To enter a new room:
- You can be in as many rooms as you like (although it gets pretty confusing to be in more that two or three rooms simultaneously). Click on the "New Room" button and a second ChatterBox window will appear (it may cover the original room, so you should move it a little bit to see both rooms). Enter the name of the room you want to enter, your username (which could be different from the previous one), and hit connect. If a room with that exact name already exists, you will join the ongoing discussion in that room. Otherwise a new room with that name will be created for others to join. To close a room, click on the standard close box in the upper right corner of the ChatterBox window.
- Listing available rooms:
- If you click on the "List Rooms" button you will see a list of available chat rooms together with the names or the people currently connected to that room. You could "cut-and-paste" the room's name to join a particular room.
- Talking in "Private":
- Usually, all messages are sent to all users in a particular chat room. If you want to send a private message only to one particular person in a room, you should first highlight the person's name in the list of participants, then enter your message and click the Talk button (do not hit ENTER). When you click on Talk instead of Send, your message will be sent only to the person whose name is currently highlighted. Your message will be prefaced by the word "whispers" so that the recipient knows that a private message was sent only to him or her.
- Show URL:
- Instead of sending simple messages, you can also send entire web pages to all participants in a room. Simply enter a complete URL (a web address such as http://www.shu.edu/) and click on the Show URL button (do not hit ENTER). The web browser of all users attached to your chat room will then load the page you sent. You can then continue to discuss the particular content displayed on that page. Note: Any user can choose to not allow URL showing by un-checking the Allow Show checkbox. If they have done that, they will see a message informing them that someone has attempted to show a URL, but their web browser will not automatically load that page.
- Saving a Transcript:
- Saving a transcript of the ongoing discussion is not currently supported. As a work-around, you could, however, mark the entire conversation, copy to the clipboard it by hitting CONTROL-C, then paste it into a standard word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
- Getting the Software:
- The ChatterBox program was created at the Center for Academic Technology at Seton Hall University. If all you want to do is join a discussion, just click on the "Start Chatterbox" button above. You can also download the software to install a "ChatterBox system" on your own web server. The software is available for free by sending an email request to Bert Wachsmuth. The client part of the program (the above ChatterBox) requires a Java-enabled web browser such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. The underlying server program that really handles all communications runs on any platform that can establish a Java 1.2 compatible Virtual Machine (pretty much anything out there).
- The ChatterBox program and the ChatterBox name are copyright (c) 1998 - 2009 by Bert Wachsmuth.