Thursday, October 08, 2009

Back to the Beta

Marty McFly: Doc, we better back up. We don't have enough road to get up to 88.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

I'm happy to announce the first major step towards a more reliable, stable, and feature-rich Partychat: Partychapp β.

For the past few weeks, a rogue group of friends have been dedicating their spare time to porting PartyChat over to Google AppEngine. We'd talked about doing this for a long time, but the recently added XMPP support was the missing piece needed to make the whole thing run.

As with the old Partychat, Partychapp is open source and you can track its development through the associated Google Code feeds.

What makes Partychapp better? 95% of Partychat's issues were the result of our Jabber connection -- rate limiting, federation issues, etc. Because Partychapp uses AppEngine's XMPP bridge, jabber connectivity is vastly improved with Partychapp. And those remaining 5% of issues with Partychat? They generally had to do with data persistence, which again AppEngine deals with much more effectively.

Why beta? There are a number of features missing and bugs we need to fix. To track them (and add more!) see: Partychapp Issues. Also AppEngine XMPP doesn't (yet) support custom domains so we can't move over.

So check out Partychapp β. Instructions on how to set up a room (including a web-based invites system!) can be found at

Big, giant, overwhelming thanks go out to Neil, Jason, Kushal, and David who are the people responsible for making Partychapp happen. A special shout out to mpd who added XMPP support to AppEngine, making this all possible.


  1. I thought the issues had to do with the server being under the couch...

  2. Next to the couch. That actually never bit us too bad, thanks to Mihai graciously hosting during "failovers"

  3. This is simply amazing...thank you so much for developing this!!

  4. Great, I love this.
    This page says 'Party Chat' on top. Is this what you intend?

  5. Quick question: Is there a partychapp deployment that uses the Google Apps authentication instead of the regular Google authentication?

    I'd like to deploy partychapp so that my Google Apps users can sign in with their Apps account.

    If not, I suppose I can download the source and deploy it to App Engine myself and set it to use Google Apps authentication.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Any Jabber user can join a PartyChat, it doesn't matter if it's a Google account or not. Similarly, you don't need to sign into the app to create a room, just add an address as a friend and if that name is available, you're good to go.

  7. I created similar application, anonymous chat bot. But it seems that google blocked the bot and would return 503 on every message my bot would send. How did make through 503? Or any donuts for being google engineer?

  8. I really love partychapp, but is there any way to make the creator of the room the "moderator" of the room? Thus that person can permanently kick people. Right now the /kick function is useless; people are reconnected immediately after being kicked simply by saying something in partychapp. It'd be nice to permanently kick and unban.

  9. Try making your room invite-only then. That way kicking them out will require them to be re-invited to join

  10. Just wanted to say many, many thanks for this - I'm finding it extremely helpful. It does everything I was looking for in a group chat application without the wrestling matches that seemed to be required by the other applications I tried out.

    All the best and happy holidays!

  11. I keep getting a server error when I try to download, am I doing something wrong?

    "Error: Server Error

    The server encountered an error and could not complete your request.
    If the problem persists, please report your problem and mention this error message and the query that caused it."

  12. try to download what? the source code?

  13. I have some questions:

    1. What are the performance figures can i work with free version of google app engine.

    2. Will it be able to support voice and video what are the potential issues.

    3. Is it possible that instead of this i can direct use google group chat but make a chatroom in that.


  14. a) we've yet to hit issues with Google's free hosting, so I doubt you will either. We haven't done the exact math on what the total load we can handle is.

    b) it's highly unlikely that partychat will support video/voice. Firstly needed technology is not provided by app engine. Secondly the concept of an "always on" voice/video bridge is already fairly common & supported (to the extent that is reasonable)

    c) google group chat doesn't support persistent rooms. see: