What real-time chat platform should OpenMRS be favoring?

Continuing the discussion from Should we stop holding weekly developer forums?:

Looking at this stackshare comparison, Slack seems to be the most popular choice. Look at this comparison of Slack and Telegram, Telegram has the edge as a general chat platform and Slack seems to have the edge for team-based chats.

Let’s have a poll on what people think about real-time chat platforms.

What real-time chat platform (beyond IRC) do you think the OpenMRS community should be favoring?

Assume we will continue to use and integrate any chat with IRC.

  • None. Only use IRC.
  • Telegram
  • Slack
  • Rocket.Chat
  • HipChat
  • Something else (specify below)

0 voters

If you have additional comments/thoughts, reply below.

Why not Gitter? Slack it not Open Source Friendly and most open source communities had already moved to Gitter. What do you say? It’s used by Scala, Rails, Harvard Berkman, Google Open Source and a lot more

1 Like

Interesting. That’s one of the challenges in this decision. There seem to be 5 more options for real-time chat every day… although, it looks like gitter.im/openmrs was created at the end of 2014. Gitter does have many of the desirable features (IRC integration, phone & desktop apps), but its popularity seems small relative to Slack. One of the factors to consider is what people are already using for other projects or at work.

Sure, it’s not more popular than Slack but Slack isn’t friendly towards open source per se. Also, it’s an invite only platform. Slack teams have an upper limit. Gitter seems the best cross and compromise between Open Source chat and a modern UI.

If we decide to use Slack, we can setup a SlackIn Button to makee it easy to invite people to the OpenMRS Slack team.

I like Slack, since I’m already in about 10 other teams, but the free plan does have limitations. This looks like a decent comparison, but it doesn’t contain Zulip, which I know the HL7 FHIR team uses.

I don’t think price should be that much of an issue considering that they do allow non profit organisations to use their standard pack for free. The standard pack does have a limit of 250 members in a group but the telegram group currently only has about 153 members out of which about 5 are no longer users of telegram. Even if we do cross 250, we do get an 85% discount on upgradation. Hence, I feel that considering its utility and the numerous integrations slack supports, it’s the way ahead!

I really like Slack and would vote for it except that it is:

  1. Invite-only, though there are hacky workarounds for this
  2. Expensive outside of the free plan
  3. Not open-source

Rocket.Chat has a Slack-like UI and is mostly compatible with the Slack API so that Slack services and bots will work with it. Because of this, we are currently using Rocket.Chat for our team chat server (http://chat.openhmisafrica.org) and it is working quite well. We host it locally and the setup was very simple via a docker-compose script. I personally like having control over the service and not having to worry about user, message, and file limits as well as being secure in knowing that my free or open-source plan won’t be changed at some point. Obviously, hosting it yourself does come with the additional “cost” of having to maintain it yourself and sometimes fiddle with settings to get things working properly.