If you've been a member of TGO for a while, chances are you remember that we have had a real-time chat feature once or twice in the past. And you may recall that I removed it once because an old version of the software had a security hole in it and then I removed it once again because it was putting a strain on our web server during times of peak traffic.
So what's changed and why are we trying it again?
Well first of all, we recently switched forum software from vBulletin to Invision Power Board (IP.Board or IPB for short) and that opened up the door to try other new software. One of the things that Invision Power offers is a chat feature that they host on their servers and allow us to integrate with our forum. This means that it puts no additional load on our web server. And while our new web server is still running as fast as ever, anything I can do to keep it that way is a good thing. For all of us.
Second, because it is written by the same people who write our forum software, they are keenly aware of the security ramifications of releasing buggy software. While this doesn't mean they are going to have a 100% success rate of never releasing bad code, the risks to us are reduced considerably.
So what's the plan now?
The plan now is to simply try out the chat demo and see if we like it. The demo license is good for five (5) simultaneous member participants. Once we've decided if we want to keep it around, I will have to purchase an annual subscription to the chat feature to allow either 20 or 50 participants at a time. Granted, they have a package that supports up to 250 simultaneous chat sessions, but I really do not anticipate us needing that just yet.
If you haven't tried out the chat feature yet, please do so.
If you already have, I'd like to know what you think about it. You can head over to the Feedback and Support forum and participate in the thread I started for discussing this.