chat

Project Url: tinode/chat
Introduction: Instant messaging server; backend in Go; Android, web command line clients; chatbots
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Instant messaging server. Backend in pure Go (license GPL 3.0), custom client-side binding in Java and Javascript, as well as gRPC client support for C++, C#, Go, Java, Node, PHP, Python, Ruby, Objective-C (license Apache 2.0). Wire transport is JSON over websocket (long polling is also available) for custom bindings, or protobuf over plain TCP for gRPC. Persistent storage RethinkDB and MySQL. A third-party DynamoDB adapter also exists. Other databases can be supported by writing custom adapters.

Tinode is meant as a replacement for XMPP. On the surface it's a lot like open source WhatsApp or Telegram.

Version 0.15. This is beta-quality software: feature-complete but probably with a few bugs. Follow instructions to install and run. Read API documentation.

Why?

The promise of XMPP was to deliver federated instant messaging: anyone would be able to spin up an IM server capable of exchanging messages with any other XMPP server in the world. Unfortunately XMPP never delivered on this promse. Instant messengers are still a bunch of incompatible walled gardens, similar to what AoL of the late 1990s was to the open Internet.

The goal of this project is to actually deliver on XMPP's original vision: create a modern open platform for federated instant messaging with emphasis on mobile communication. A secondary goal is to create a decentralized IM platform which is much harder to track and block by the governments.

Demo

Web

A javascript demo is usually available at https://api.tinode.co/x/example-react-js/ (source). Login as one of alice, bob, carol, dave, frank. Password is <login>123, e.g. login for alice is alice123. You can discover other users by email or phone by prefixing them with email: or tel: respectively. Emails are <login>@example.com, e.g. alice@example.com, phones are 17025550001 through 17025550009.

Android

Android demo is mostly stable and functional. See screenshots below. A debug APK is provided for convenience.

Command Line

A text-only command line client implements every possible command.

Notes

  • The demo server is reset (all data wiped) every night at 3:15 am Pacific time. An error message User not found or offline means the server was reset while you were connected. If you see it on the web, reload and relogin; on Android delete the app then reinstall.

  • User Tino is a basic chatbot which responds with a random quote to any message.

  • As generally accepted, when you register a new account you are asked for an email address. The server will send an email with a verification code to that address and you can use it to validate the account. To make things easier for testing, the server will also accept 123456 as a verification code. Remove line "debug_response": "123456" from tinode.conf to disable this option.

  • The demo server is configured to use ACME TLS implementation with hard-coded requirement for SNI. If you are unable to connect then the most likely reason is your TLS client's missing support for SNI. Use a different client.

Features

Supported

  • Android, web, and command line clients.
  • One-on-one messaging.
  • Group messaging with every member's access permissions managed individually. The maximum number of members is configurable (128 by default).
  • Topic access control with permissions for various actions.
  • Server-generated presence notifications for people, topics.
  • Support for custom authentication backends.
  • Sharded clustering with failover.
  • Persistent message store, paginated message history.
  • Javascript bindings with no external dependencies.
  • Java bindings (dependencies: Jackson, Java-Websocket). Suitable for Android but with no Android SDK dependencies.
  • Websocket, long polling, and gRPC over TCP transports.
  • JSON or protobuf version 3 wire protocols.
  • TLS with Letsenrypt or conventional certificates.
  • User search/discovery.
  • Rich formatting of messages, markdown-style: *style* → style.
  • Inline images and file attachments.
  • Message status notifications: message delivery to server; received and read notifications; typing notifications.
  • Support for client-side caching.
  • Ability to block unwanted communication server-side.
  • Anonymous users (important for use cases related to tech support over chat).
  • Mobile push notifications using FCM.
  • Plugins to extend functionality like enabling chat bots.

Planned

  • iOS client bindings and client.
  • Federation.
  • Options for transfer of large objects like video.
  • End to end encryption with OTR for one-on-one messaging and undecided method for group messaging.
  • Group messaging with unlimited number of members with bearer token access control.
  • Hot standby.
  • Different levels of message persistence (from strict persistence to "store until delivered" to purely ephemeral messaging).

Screenshots

Android

android screenshot android screenshot

Desktop Web

Desktop web: full app

Mobile Web

Mobile web: contacts Mobile web: chat Mobile web: topic info Mobile web: start new 1:1 chat

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