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I'm trying to decide if this is better than Zulip. They're both open source, backed by someone trusted, and I can run it on my own server.

We tried Mattermost at work, and it was pretty terrible. Things like "show new messages" didn't work, which sort of defeats the purpose of a chat app. After that we tried RocketChat, which seems a lot closer to Slack in terms of features and appearance. From our perspective they were just too rough around the edges for functionality, with a lot of things almost-working-but-not-quite. The caveat to all of this is that we wanted something that JustWorks, so while we did put in some effort to fix configuration and even some bugs in the software, we didn't commit to them 100% so YMMV.

We started up on Zulip when it came out a few weeks back, and it's been much better and more consistent. Streams and topics take a while to get used to, but they make it easier to have public conversations with some semblance of organization. If you don't like / can't afford Slack, or if you have privacy needs that make it a non-starter, I would recommend giving Zulip a try.

do you know if Zulip exposes an API ? We are currently using Slack as a chat dashboard for operations .. and we do some funky stuff like create channels,etc through the API. I wonder if Zulip allows that.

Channels don't exactly exist, but you can programmatically create topics within streams. Sometimes it gets to be overwhelming, like out GitHub bot that posts every PR for every repo under its own topic within the GitHub stream. It's definitely a new way of thinking about chat, and there's a learning curve of about a week, but so far it's been fantastic.

I've used Slack and HipChat previously, and AFAIK the integration methods are all roughly equivalent - post a message to a URL with a token.

They have an API, not sure about channels specifically though.



Let's chat, Zulip, Kaiwa, Mattermost there are probably a hundred more.

Depending on the Scale, I'd personally go with an own Kaiwa Fork, backed by an Erlang MongooseIM Backend and LDAP.

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