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java based chat system

I am trying to build a java based chat system, basically i have not done this before and i would like to know from top to bottom what i need to do and how to go about doing it, what tchnology i need to use or if i need a different programming language to program a chat system.
My chat system should have a main window bywhere all the users could chat in a public environment and a private one to one window if they so choose.

As i am a student, this is very important to me as it is the subject of my last year project.
Thank you.

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1 Solution
Will You need to build a Chatting server first, I would like u to take a look at an open source chatting engine called jabber, you will find it at:


It has differnet Server implmentations and different clients thay was working on a Java server implementation
Do you mean a web-based chat server?  So you can chat using JSP webpages only (no applets)?

Have a look at this:  http://www.javazoom.net/jzservlets/jchatbox/jchatbox.html

It should give you some ideas of what is required :-)

Good luck with your project!!

chris_black23Author Commented:
Thanks Tim,
Have you done this before? would you like to give me in your own words where to start and the whole picture if you can.
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The major problem you are going to have with a web-based chat system, is that web-pages are a "pull technology".  

That is, they can fetch data whenever they want, but the server cannot just send them data as and when it fancies.  

So it becomes hard to know if a user is actually there or not...you have to wait for them to ask for the page again, and then you know they are still there...

Basically, at its heart, you will have a list of users per room.  And each of these users will build up a list of what has been said since the last time they requested the information.

If they time-out (ie don't request the information for more than 2 mins), then you can remove them from the list

When they do request the information for that room, you can clear their list of things, and send the data to them (where the browser can display it)...

I'd start with a dead simple implementation of a User, a Room (which is a list of users), and a mechanism for the room to send a message to each user in that room (and store it in a list in that user)

Then you should be able to test that the basic mechanism works...

I haven't written one of these before, no...  but the concept isn't that hard...

Have a look at that chat server, and do a quick search on google for others, as they should give you ideas about what is needed, and what is possible :-)

Good luck with it!

chris_black23Author Commented:
Thanks TIM, that helped a lot!!
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