AJAX powered chat applications reviewed

Written by on February 6, 2006 in AJAX Experience, PHP and AJAX - 54 Comments

Many asked me about AJAX chat applications, I have already posted three implementations here but there is more solutions that I haven’t talked about. What is interesting in Chat applications that it involve real time data processing, so in this case AJAX will be one of the best solutions for such implementation.

Google Blogogscoped AJAX “Sunset” chat
I’ll start with Philipp Lenssen’s chat application because I find it really very original. First when you connect to the chat it will ask you to choose an avatar and a nickname, then you’ll find yourself in the Sunset Chat Bar. Text chat move vertically in balloons so you can follow the discussion.
I don’t know the limit of the applications but from the presentation it’s not created to support more than 10 users in a single room. The application cost $40, and is written in PHP5.
AJAX Magazine article on Google Blogogscoped AJAX “Sunset” chat
AJAX CSS Popup Chat
AJAX CSS Popup Chat, as its name indicated, is another AJAX chat application that implement one to one chat using popups. The application is written in PHP, MySQL by Rolando Gonzalez and is available for download free under GPL license.
AJAX Magazine article on AJAX CSS Popup Chat
XHTML live Chat
XHTML live Chat is more a proof of concept rather than a tested real world solution as said alexander kohlhofer, the author of this AJAX Chat. The only thing that I didn’t like are the presentation which looks more like a forum, user can chat his nickname anytime, there is no list of current users … XHTML live chat is written in PHP and is available for download under a Creative Commons License.
Chategory AJAX Chat system
Chategory is a more advanced AJAX chat solution with registration system, administration, moderation, different user levels, ban system … etc. Chategory is available under Apache License V2.0 and is written with PHP.
AJAX Magazine article on Chategory
php Free Chat
phpFreeChat is a simple, fast, and customizable chat server that uses the filesystem for message and nickname storage. It uses AJAX to smoothly refresh and display the chat zone and the nickname zone. It supports customized CSS stylesheets and a plugin system that allows you to write your own storage routines.
I didn’t talk about this project before, but I find it really very promising. The latest version 0.5 include already many great features in addition to the project roadmap which will support private messenging in the version 1.0. phpFreeChat is free under LGPL license, did I mention PHP too ?
Chatr, AJAX PHP Chat
David Sterry pointed me to his flavor of AJAX chat : Chatr, a solution based on based on Kevin Mesiab’s Chat-o-licious, and implementing the very basic feature of a chat application. Chatr Support smilies, you can see users online and came with two skins ice and green. I found it interesting too as you can see the roadmap of coming features.
AJAX IM, the AJAX instant messenger
AJAX IM is a web-based AJAX instant messaging client. The AJAX messenger is written in PHP by Joshua Gross and is supporting almost all browsers. AJAX IM use prototype, Scriptaculous and more javascript for its interface.
Web-Based AJAX Chat solutions
In addition to the previous solutions that we have talked about there is two others web-based chat solutions that I know : AJChat and Meebo. AJChat is more than a online chat system as their slogan said. Currently at the alpha stage Ajchat offers many features like setting the refresh max lines, date format and time zone. You can also save the chat log, share chat, link from your blog and clear data.
In the other side Meebo.com is more an instant messenging AJAX based service you can use it for AIM, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, Yahoo! and MSN Messenger.
This is certainly not the full list of AJAX Chat applications, but it already give you an idea of current implementations of AJAX Chat solutions, instant messenging … etc. All solutions listed here are written in PHP excepting meebo which is using ruby. As I have already said, Chat application represent an excellent AJAX experience and you can notice the number of applications that have been developped in a very short time. But what about joining all these efforts in a single and complete AJAX Chat solution for everybody ?

54 Comments on "AJAX powered chat applications reviewed"

  1. Kelly Anderson February 9, 2006 at 8:28 pm · Reply

    This is a good review of features. The one thing I worry about when thinking about implementing an AJAX based chat solution is what kind of server load it imposes. If you have 1000 users chatting on a large Ajax chat system, with each client polling the server ever 1-5 seconds, what kind of server resources is that using up?

  2. David Sterry February 12, 2006 at 12:46 am · Reply

    That’s definitely an area that needs more research. I’ve not run my Chatr with more than about 15 users and would definitely be interested in seeing how it performs with 1000 users. Putting together such a test, I think really requires a distributed client effort.
    One way to mitigate server load is idling inactive users. Chatr idles people down to 50% of the requests if they don’t type anything for 2 minutes. Another is to replace the server component with jabber ( http://www.psyced.org/ being one example ).

  3. Carlo v. Loesch February 12, 2006 at 6:06 pm · Reply

    Hi there.. yes scalability is a major issue. AJAX looks nice but the way it handles traffic makes it quite unlikely to scale well. We use http://www.psyced.org for the server side, too, but when we do high load webchats for MTV or T-Online we use a more sophisticated technique than AJAX. As long as you’re doing just a fun and neat solution for a few dozen users, AJAX is great. Go ahead. :-) Hope this is useful.

  4. Kelly Anderson February 13, 2006 at 6:27 am · Reply

    Dave and Carlo,
    Thanks for the feed back on your experiences with Ajax chat and the pointer to http://www.psyced.org. I have been thinking of going with an embedded java applet that connects to a chat server for high load chat, with a fall back to a flash component if Java is not available and finally falling back to Ajax if neither Java nor Flash is available. I have been thinking about making a high volume chat site for a while and have written a fairly good 1to1 Ajax chat client, but I just cannot imagine the server being able to handle 1000 chats at the same time, with all of that polling going on, even with your load idling idea Dave (good idea there btw). It looks like psyced.org’s chat server will make that transition much easier.

  5. Don Larmee February 15, 2006 at 9:11 pm · Reply

    Hi, we have implemented an AJAX chat at Oyogi (http://www.oyogi.com) and I can comment on the load aspect a bit…
    The polling aspect in our testing has not proven to produce an over demanding load on the server to date… most notablty because the chat connection effectively ‘piggybacks’ over the normal http connection that is used by the typical web-connection. Modern web-servers and browser that implement the http 1.1 standard that reuses exising open connections between the browser and the server — or put another way, a new socket connection is not created every time the chat client polls. It simply reuses the existing socket.
    To this end supporting several hundered/thousand connections becomes very feasible, assuming your server that hosts the WebServer has been tuned accordingly (for example, most *nix system have a default kernel parameter that restricts any given process to a max of 1024 open files.. and files in this case are the same as sockets)

  6. meneame.net February 19, 2006 at 10:31 pm · Reply

    Aplicaciones de Chat en AJAX

    Una revisión a las aplicaciones de chat más conocidas realizadas en AJAX, (el artículo está en inglés).

  7. Bart March 1, 2006 at 2:05 am · Reply

    can you recommend any simple (and free) live support solution based on ajax ?

  8. Nick March 30, 2006 at 9:34 pm · Reply

    This is more of a shoutbox than a chat but http://www.nat1on.com shares a lot of features with these programs and its uses AJAX.

  9. lukas April 5, 2006 at 4:00 pm · Reply

    You can try for free shoutbox and chat on http://www.ajaxchat.org

  10. Helen, chat lover April 14, 2006 at 10:23 am · Reply

    Developing an extensible chat application by using AJAX is not only a fairly easy task, but it

  11. steve April 18, 2006 at 5:20 pm · Reply

    there are tons of ajax site at http://www.ajaxchat.com

  12. CMS May 4, 2006 at 12:52 am · Reply

    Interesting applications. Got to check them out.

  13. Dyo May 22, 2006 at 5:45 pm · Reply

    you want to test a Ajax cat, on desyr.net ya a cat in Beta. the project is quite advanced and one finds already functions fun like Wizz. To see http://www.desyr.net

  14. ghazal August 26, 2006 at 11:51 am · Reply

    it was a nice syte

  15. dyo August 26, 2006 at 12:29 pm · Reply

    I summer obliged to remove the chat because it consumed too many resources

  16. Laurent Belloeil August 30, 2006 at 12:49 am · Reply

    You can also test Alitalk. A wonderfull and free JS chat script!

  17. Satish September 18, 2006 at 10:51 pm · Reply


  18. Ritesh September 27, 2006 at 3:37 am · Reply


  19. Ritesh September 27, 2006 at 3:38 am · Reply


  20. PlasmaSoftware September 27, 2006 at 3:43 am · Reply

    I’m developing a support ajax chat, something similar to phplivechat.
    I’m thinking about making it open-source. Let you know as soon as I finish.

  21. Dominic Pettifer December 2, 2006 at 2:35 am · Reply

    Sorry if this is a bit of a plug, but I’ve also developed my own Ajax chat room solution at my blogging site, direct link http://www.dominicpettifer.co.uk/chatRooms.aspx. I’ve also written about it here http://www.dominicpettifer.co.uk/displayBlog.aspx?id=11.
    I’m currently doing a masters dissertation that looks at the feasibility of doing an Ajax chat room application in terms of performance, server load and scalability, but also particularly looking at the bandwidth costs. For instance, if it’s constantly re-polling the server every second, even if the data being sent is small, over time it builds up and can be significant. 40KB/second = 2.4MB/minute = 144MB hour etc.
    So I’m looking at ways to reduce this bandwidth cost. One way is to send the data as JSON text (JavaScript Object Notation) which is more compact than XML or HTML snippets, even using short cryptic variable names such as ‘T’ instead of ‘Text’. Also don’t resend the entire conversation log with each poll, just new stuff.
    Some interesting ways mentioned here on dealing with server load. Has anyone looked at the Comet approach (or server push technique)?

  22. Lobos December 6, 2006 at 5:59 pm · Reply

    Hey don’t forget my Joomla Ajax Chat Component! I think mine is the best of the lot (but I would say that LOL).

  23. Francesco Sullo December 22, 2006 at 2:50 pm · Reply

    Hi all. I developed aSSL (http://assl.sullof.com), an Ajax library to establish secure connection with the server. I think that aSSL could power chat systems allowing them AES encrypted messages exchange. Currently, the version 1.2 is in beta phase. When I’ll complete this phase, I’ll port the server components from Javascript towards PHP, Java, Perl, Ruby and others languages.
    I hope you enjoy it!

  24. pine December 28, 2006 at 7:06 pm · Reply

    I have discovered another interesting chat at http://www.conceptuel.co.uk
    Just select the Chat section.

  25. jason January 16, 2007 at 6:36 pm · Reply

    i think ajax im is superb, the developer is brilliant

  26. Samer Bazzi January 24, 2007 at 11:40 pm · Reply

    check out http://www.koolim.com

  27. Ben April 24, 2007 at 3:06 am · Reply

    If anyone is looking for an asp.net solution, JaxterChat is a genuine ASP.NET chat control with designer support and drag n drop install into existing web applications.

  28. Eric April 27, 2007 at 12:35 am · Reply

    No reason to go .NET unless you’re already there, the LAMP framework is more robust and doesn’t lock you into the .NET realm.

  29. Arockia Doss May 5, 2007 at 11:10 am · Reply

    Can u update me

  30. Pavel Bastov June 29, 2007 at 8:01 am · Reply

    You might want to take a look at xooChat as yet another example of chat software based on Ajax technology. It’s a live help chat that you can use to talk to your online site visitors.

  31. Pavel Bastov June 29, 2007 at 3:21 pm · Reply

    xooChat is another example of a live chat based on AJAX technology.
    Though, it’s not a usual chat with chat rooms, etc. Rather, it’s a operator-to-customer live support chat.

  32. Monty Sen July 2, 2007 at 11:59 am · Reply

    I am new to AJAX, I have read all the comments and post, I have a small query hope you can solve, I would like to know the concept behind the site like meebo, which integrates the instant messengers from the top IM servers. All the other chat resources create their own but integrating the others resources is a tough job. If you or any one have any idea how to make a chat like meebo will be very helpful.
    Thank in advance.

  33. hussain July 19, 2007 at 3:19 pm · Reply

    Hi i read all articles and it,s quiet different and very useful for me , and i,v one doubt currently i,m doing a sample ajax chat using with aspx and c# , i downloaded some articles and it ran, but in it a major problem could created, it showed me every time with page refreshing but i need without page refreshing the page will run can anyone tell me the solution

  34. mehmet August 26, 2007 at 11:12 pm · Reply

    ajax chat room

  35. Geoff December 8, 2007 at 1:51 pm · Reply

    Props to the guy above who mentioned JaxterChat (the .net chat one), it was exactly what I wanted.
    This has to be the first time ever that user comments in a blog have come in useful for me lol.

  36. vladimir December 21, 2007 at 10:28 pm · Reply

    Really cool review! It is very useful for me. Big thanks!

  37. andersboth March 24, 2008 at 4:23 am · Reply

    And this solution – hosted with web-admin and outstanding ajax chat client : http://www.basechat.com , demo chat room at http://www.basechat.com/demo1.aspx

  38. DAVID July 8, 2008 at 1:20 pm · Reply

    anyone does know this chat?
    I’m really lost , i need to find something to chat support, one vendors with a few customers.

  39. PJ October 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm · Reply

    Can someone please create an AJAX based chat client for the new Gay.com AJAX based chat? I used to use Chattage & Chat Client with gay.com chat, but now that they have switched over to an AJAX chat system I no longer go their because their chat windows are now loaded up even more than before with annoying ads. Please, somebody create an AJAX chat client to be used with gay.com because there are millions of us in need of one..thanks!

  40. wasa October 24, 2008 at 5:23 pm · Reply


  41. wasa October 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm · Reply


  42. Eric November 1, 2008 at 12:41 am · Reply

    Thank you I was looking for something similar to include on my website.

  43. Joe November 3, 2008 at 10:34 am · Reply

    I have seen crafty syntax, but prefer this for its look. Have any one tried to convert this to use with live support ??

  44. Arif November 4, 2008 at 6:14 pm · Reply

    I wounder How is it possible to make a chat function like Gmail. popup and the chatwindows stays open even if I go trougth pages.

  45. Anon January 31, 2009 at 3:08 am · Reply

    Since no one can create an AJAX chat client for the new Gay.com Ajax based chat, I don’t think anyone who comes here really has the skills or knows what they are doing with AJAX. Gay.com is used by Millions of people, yet nobody can create an AJAX chat client to use with them? Come on! This just tells me all the posts by users claiming to be experts with AJAX are full of sh*t! If you can’t even create a little AJAX based chat client for Gay.com, then don’t expect me to believe your an expert in AJAX or know what the hell you are doing!

  46. romeo February 5, 2009 at 4:22 am · Reply

    @jack .. i try that ajax chat in rapidcube .. pretty cool i think .. maybe if they launch i will try it .. thanks for the information

  47. Funka December 10, 2009 at 8:10 am · Reply

    Thank you for the excellent article! I know this was published almost 4 years ago (!), but still some nice looking products/apps listed here. And coming up as #1 google search result for Ajax Chat Room. It would be interesting to get an update/revisiting, as surely there must be new contenders out there after almost 4 years?? Thx!

  48. Larry January 5, 2010 at 5:25 am · Reply

    Hi Helen, can you help me in developing a chat membership system like gay.com, gayromeo.com?

  49. amit February 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm · Reply

    But there

  50. alanya otelleri April 7, 2010 at 9:49 am · Reply

    I read your article with great pleasure. This wonderful article thank you for sharing with us

  51. Ryan August 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm · Reply

    You can try best ajax php/mysql chat script found at http://www.buzzerchat.com There are many features with moderation features like kick/ban/mute and advanced features like view users local time/private chat/ignore…
    Buzzerchat is msn chat clone, buzzen chat clone, oasiz chat clone developed in ajax/php/mysql and can be installed on any shared/vps/dedicated server.

  52. rnk October 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm · Reply

    ajax based chat developed in java using zk framework.. zk is a robust ajax framework. can be used to develop any kind of ajax web application. for live demo visit: http://www.jtechnosoft.com/ZkMail/

  53. Anonymous November 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm · Reply


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