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Show HN: Gitter – Chat for GitHub (gitter.im)
243 points by mydigitalself on Nov 15, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 109 comments

(Edit: I initially thought this was _from_ GitHub. Apparently it's not, so please disregard the nagging below. It is a cool idea, but if GitHub did this, I'd have different expectations.)

I'd be all over this if it was an IRC server. Most big projects already have an IRC channel on FreeNode, so this'd be a natural fit: Provide an IRC server with a channel for each project, provide a free web client for this server with the GitHub-goodies.

But alas, apparently it's just another proprietary chat network.

Actually, FreeNode integration is something we've discussed quite a bit and could well end up in the product if there is enough interest in us putting it in. FreeNode is an incredible source of information and it would be a pity not to use it.

This would be the killer feature to add. Users should be able to communicate to freenode, and vice versa, while being able to do all of the management functions.

I think with some hacking you could offer a bot that did some of this, perhaps together with client-side plugins.


failed to fetch user profile (status: 403 data: {"message":"Maximum number of login attempts exceeded","documentation_url":"http://developer.github.com/v3"}) at Strategy.userProfile (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/lib/passport-github/strategy.js:90:28) at passBackControl (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/node_modules/passport-oauth/node_modules/oauth/lib/oauth2.js:105:9) at IncomingMessage.exports.OAuth2._executeRequest.request.on.callbackCalled (/opt/gitter/landing-app/node_modules/passport-github/node_modules/passport-oauth/node_modules/oauth/lib/oauth2.js:124:7) at IncomingMessage.EventEmitter.emit (events.js:126:20) at IncomingMessage._emitEnd (http.js:366:10) at HTTPParser.parserOnMessageComplete [as onMessageComplete] (http.js:149:23) at CleartextStream.socketOnData [as ondata] (http.js:1472:20) at CleartextStream.CryptoStream._push (tls.js:544:27) at SecurePair.cycle (tls.js:898:20) at EncryptedStream.CryptoStream.write (tls.js:285:13) at Socket.ondata (stream.js:38:26)

Guess it's built with node ;)

After pressing the button again, it gave me the confirmation message.

Yes, node node node! :)

Um, thanks for pointing this out, will take a look at it, we may have blown through the rate limit.

Isnt echoing errors like that a security issue? Im not implying it necessarly is, because it's obviously conveniently useful for debugging.

It's only a security issue if it provides exploitable information. It's more commonly avoided as an issue regarding user confusion, not security.

Yup, they should log / e-mail themselves the error messages when in production rather than displaying them, sensitive info might leak plus stacktrace aren't very friendly.

Looks like they might have left the connect.errorHandler() dev middleware (http://www.senchalabs.org/connect/errorHandler.html) plugged into their app.

We normally don't do this, we put this little preview app together quite quickly using a slightly different infrastructure to our regular stuff.

We normally log these and just display a friendly error message to the end user.

You guys should offer this for github enterprise. Any form of integration would also be nice (an IRC or XMPP bridge) because I don't want yet another chat client on my desktop, and alerts from web clients don't cut it...

...slightly offtopic, on the alerts: chrome's rich notifications pop under apple's desktop notifications, and neither let me capture the notification and have the system voice read it to me rather than flash up in a corner that I'm not looking at. But campfire's in-browser notifications are the worst of all, some random tab beeping when I have 100 open.

Yeah, github enterprise definitely makes sense, and it is something that we will look into.

Chrome's notifications since v28 kinda suck. Browser notifications have always been difficult, and in fact our www.trou.pe native app was originally just a toolbar app to solve this problem.

Looks pretty neat. I went to signup, but then noticed that they require commit access to my public repos. Why do you need this permission to integrate links to the code and similar features? I don't like giving out commit access unless absolutely necessary.

Hmmm, we shouldn't need that. Will take a look. You can always signup and then revoke the access if you're not comfortable.

Thanks for pointing out.

That's the default lowest level of oAuth access and it's just read-only.

I don't really like the idea of signing up with my github account. But I like the idea of Gitter.

One small improvement: Link the "@GitChat" on the confirmation page to the twitter account ;)

Hey, thanks for the improvement. Done. Shipped like squirrel.

Why don't you like the idea of signing up with GitHub? Feedback will be very valuable for us, thanks.

Not the parent, but I'm reluctant to give a website access to an account I care about just for a trial. If I know that I want to use your service, sure, but not if I just want to casually evaluate it.

I agree with this, but it's better than the alternative of signing up for a brand new username / password combo!

What would you have in mind instead?

(Not parent or parent's parent)

Email and password. It's not really better to be fair

I can give a new service a disposable email address, I don't have a disposable Github/Facebook/Twitter/etc account. Not even a shred of a chance of me testing something if you're requesting anything other than the most basic of read-only permissions too

"I don't have a disposable Github/Facebook/Twitter/etc account."

Now there's a business idea: Mailinator for shady sites harvesting "social" accounts.

I'd like to try it out without signing up at all. Do you sign up for IRC?

The landing page looks really slick. I was wondering, how did you create the design for it? I'm a programmer and my web design skills are limited to installing bootstrap, and I'm always fascinated, how would you come up with right color/font/layout matching

Hi. Thanks so much.

I do everything "in the browser" these days. No Photoshop, just straight HTML/CSS/JS in Sublime Text. That way the site starts to feel alive pretty quickly and then I just tweak stuff around until I'm happy with it.

Colours... Sometimes I use http://flatuicolors.com/ as a starting point and then tweak it from there.

Also keep looking around at stuff on Dribble/Behance/Pinterest for inspiration. Some good guys to follow on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/robklaiss/uiux/ http://www.pinterest.com/alexhyett/ui-ux-inspiration/ http://www.pinterest.com/wkk711/mobile-ui-ux/

Hope that's helpful.

Hello, Would you mind sharing about front end libraries (js, css) you've used. The interface is beautiful and efficient. I'd love to hear a bit more about it.

Thanks for much for the compliment, you made my day.

There's not much to say really. It's just pretty vanilla jQuery and then I code the CSS/HTML by hand. I use a few Bootstrap components, but where possibly I try to craft everything myself. I think that helps to keep it simple, if you start throwing a lot of components together you end up with a mess rather than having to put the effort in yourself and, as your time is a precious resource, you think more about what's important and what's not.

Sorry, I know that's not very helpful!

I was looking at the source and found your rick astley. It looked really weird in chrome's dev tools :P. Your CSS/HTML is way better than mine, time to polish my skills..

Show HN: Something else that isn't done yet, but wants access to my accounts for who knows what reason.

This looks like it was influenced by the Hub, a Node Knockout project with a landing page created by high school students that's been picking up steam on Twitter since last weekend.


Both landing pages seem nice, and looks like a great way to test the idea out!

You can vote for the NodeKnockout project here by clicking the top right vote button: http://team-name-goes-here.2013.nodeknockout.com/

I bet RossPenman, LennyKhazan and the others in the team would love your votes.

We hadn't seen this at all, so wasn't part of the influence to be honest. Trying to check it out now, but it's hanging on signup :(

Sorry to hear that :( I'm also one of the devs. If you are still having issues with authenticating you can check out a video and description about our service at http://nodeknockout.com/teams/team-name-goes-here

Hi! I'm one of the developers of Hub. We've been having some issues with GitHub rate limiting, but that should have reset now, so if you still want to try it out, it should work for you now. :)

Very interesting, I'm looking forward to checking out the product! We use GitHub exclusively for everything; even our non-technical team-members leverage GitHub for sales, HR, marketing, blog post writing.. You name it. We did have to build a product to make this easier on ourselves [1], into which we've been resisting integrating chat. Chat is the only non-GitHub piece of our workflow, Gitter looks promising!

[1] http://zenhub.io

We have this in production and would love your feedback http://kato.quora.com/Free-Kato-For-Open-GitHub-Repos

Signed up immediately. Very promising, especially if the history stays up there for anyone who joins the "repo" discussion later on.

This could be really important for bigger projects where new/significant features should be discussed openly. This way the information stays attached to the repo and others can refer to it later on.

Looking forward to seeing it in action!

We built github chat and it's in production http://kato.quora.com/Free-Kato-For-Open-GitHub-Repos please check it out and give us some feedback

Dev here! Yeah, we've been making www.trou.pe for while and have just added some github hooks after some user requests. We are just curious to see how far people want github integration to go...

We've got a lot of the parts of this already built, just not packaged in this format.

We're trying to see how much support there would be for a product like this. If we get a lot of "signups" we'll get cracking immediately.

Comments/feedback more than welcome.

Thanks in advance for your support.

This is awesome. I can see this being massively useful. Who wants to use GMail for a chat?

Coming from someone who uses Github with a few people, this would be great. I'd even pay for it if our project was more than a hobby at this point.

Thanks for the support. We'll be absolutely sure to have a useful free tier as well as a paid offering.

Thanks! That's what I meant to imply, but I didn't know how to phrase it.

One question:

After signing up for Gitter I checked out Trou.pe. But even without signing up for Trou.pe it already knew my gravatar & was able to suggest me usernames (including my full name) when going to http://trou.pe.

How's that possible?

When you perform the OAuth signup via GitHub, GitHub provides us with your name username, etc. Then, if you click the link to signup with Troupe, we create a Troupe account for you, pre-populated with your details, so that you don't need to enter them again.

Hope this helps!

(I'm one of the devs)

So you're pushing my information between two different services. Both of which happen to be provided by the same organization.

It's kinda convenient, but still does not feel quite right :(

I concur, doesn't feel right.

I think at the very least, have a message saying "This information was shared when you did X" so it's at least explicit.

Possibly just not at all; methinks the github crowd, unlike the facebook crowd, are sufficiently privacy sentient.

That wasn't the intention at all, it was more to save you having to type those details in again. Sorry if you felt wronged by it.

We're developers ourselves and value our privacy too/

Please make it so we can delete our accounts. I signed in for gitter because I like what I read and wanted to be on the waiting list, but when I got the message saying about Trou.pe I was curious to see what it was, not sign up. That's not cool, and now I'm signed up for some site I don't even know what does... I looked around after being force signed up and STILL don't know what it is. Now I can't delete it without going to Github and de-authorizing the actual account I did want. ಠ_ಠ

killswitch, what's your username, i'll sort this out for you

If you ever want to integrate real-time video chat as well, send us a note at vLine: https://vline.com. We actually have what we call a "GitHub identity provider" (https://vline.com/developer/docs/getting_started) that should make it really easy.

We used that to build GitTogether (https://gittogether.com), which is a similar concept to this: text chat and video chat with people you follow plus members of your teams and organizations.

Hm, "signing up" by providing read-only OAuth access to my GitHub account is... fascinating. :-)

Very clever way to make signups easy, relevant to the interest you're trying to gauge, and gather far more information about me than just my e-mail address (eg. my activity level on GitHub, the type of projects I'm involved in).

A lot of comments here are saying things like "I wouldn't be able to persuade my team/non-technical colleagues to use this instead of HipChat". Surely one the most exciting uses for Gitter is discussion on open-source repos, where you aren't already communicating with repo collaborators?

true, but it would be fantastic to merge those two cultures together. Having non technical people involved in open source projects is a good thing, and it is something that we are trying to encourage.

Absolutely, and I wish you all the best. Look forward to using it!

Just tried signing up with github and got the message -

"Gitter isn't ready yet. If we get enough support, we will launch this in a few months. Help spread the word by Tweeting about us and follow @GitChat for updates."

From the other comments here, it looks like people are able to try out a demo or something. What am I missing?

Hi. No it's purely testing a concept. Lean product development process in full swing.

We tried to make that clear in the text above the signup button, sorry if we mislead you that wasn't the intention.

We're trying to gauge interest before investing heavily in the product.

I think the "Sign up" copy on the button might be a bit misleading, because as a user I'm not really signing up for anything...

From the screenshot with localhost on location bar I thought it would be self hosted.

EDIT: The screenshot was updated. ;D

Ah no, that was just shotted off my local development environment.

Not directly related to your product, but I always wonder why, with soft launches like this where you gauge interest, why not make the "interest" count public? How many people have you captured?

That being said, I've wanted this idea for a while, so I signed up straight away.

That's a great idea, wish we'd thought of it. We'll share the learnings afterwards on @GitChat.

My Hackathon GitChat project from one year ago: http://chat.gitrun.com/. Source: https://github.com/gitrun/chat

I want to pay money for this. A chat service with built-in GitHub integration including issue and file referencing sounds like a fantastic tool for teams building using GitHub.

Any chance you can use an actual Kickstarter instead so I can throw money at you? :)

As long as it's not Pound coins. Those things are heavy!

Thanks for the feedback. Our Clickstarter (tm?) is doing quite nicely. I don't think we'll need to Kickstarter it, we've actually built a lot of the tech anyway and could put this together pretty quickly and start charging too.

Would love to chat to you directly about all this. Your contact details are hard to find!

Is that Matt of Haraka fame?

Yes, it's on my profile page here

mike at troupe dot co btw

Any chance that Gitter will be on github so we can help out with it?

Funny enough, I had just sent an email to GitHub support yesterday with similar comment. Using chatrooms internally as much as they do, I can't believe GH doesn't have builtin chat with deep integration and decent API. Heck, even make trivial to add your Hubot's.

Check out Kato, chat for Github is live http://kato.quora.com/Free-Kato-For-Open-GitHub-Repos

A wonderful chat service called Kato offers a very similar chat <=> github integration


Another immediate signup. Would like to echo @davman's comment about showing the interest count. It would be interesting to watch the needle, so to speak. A +1 for Hubot integration as well.

At any rate, best of luck! Amazing effort.

Beautiful, but unfortunately it wouldn't be appropriate for my non-technical teammates, so I cannot see it beating out hipchat.

I love the concept though and I can see this being the tool of choice for technical teams.

Hey there. We'll absolutely consider how non-technical folks can engage with this. Our current product, Troupe (http://trou.pe) is more along these lines, with GitHub webhooks integration.

We may look to fuse the concepts so that it works brilliantly for both the developers and the rest of the company too.

Yeah, that barrier is a tough one to overcome. We've found that having an easy entry point (nothing to install, one click signup etc.) lowers the barrier a bit.

Also having some kind of free tier could always be an advantage over hipchat...

HipChat also has a free tier (for teams of 5 or smaller). https://www.hipchat.com/pricing

Good point. The problem with a tier limited by the number of people is that you take away one of the best parts of a free chat service. Being able to freely invite _anyone_ into a conversation really opens up what you can do.


This led me to view the page source and zoom out to see what the clusterfuck at the top was. Hah. Nice easter egg OP.

You win the prize! :) Was hoping someone would find that. It looks awesome in Sublime text edit in the preview panel on the top right.

Great work! Could you share about what stack/technologies used to build it? Trying to learn how to choose the best platform for each solution.

At the moment we have node + express + faye for rest api/streaming. The web front end is currently built with backbone, less and a sprinkling of bootstrap.

How long will it take to be a usable product? I might be interested and need to know if I should keep looking around or just wait a bit.

Take a look at our current product, it's not directly tied to GitHub, but has webhook integration (with BitBucket, Travis, Jenkins too).


We'll need to sweat some details on Gitter, so hard to say on the timing. We may fuse the two concepts together, so it will be more about product-related decisions than development time as we have a lot of the code already.

Feel free to give us feedback on Troupe so we can loop that into the future direction of this product.

Looks great, just needs some emojis and hubot integration and I'm sold!

Oh, we'll have awesome emotigifs(tm?) and will certainly look at baking Hubot right in.

Thanks for your feebdack.

A perfect headline / product for HN. Very nicely done Rick Rolling.

Thanks, was hoping someone would find that easter egg. Got to have a little fun along the journey!

The 'support' button for trou.pe doesn't work. :(

How odd, thanks for reporting, will look into it right now. Was working just fine earlier today.

You can also visit https://troupe.uservoice.com/

Looks like some Chrome change may have effected the UserVoice widget we use.

Would you mind telling me if it works ok for you in Safari if you have it?

Fixed, looks like UserVoice changed their widget code today and it broke our integration. Thanks ever so much for pointing this out.

Nice one! This is a great repurposing of your existing product.

"Available everywhere that has internets"

And my Windows Phone? :(

Ah, yes on that too! Sorry, didn't mean to leave you guys out.

There's always the webapp :)

Looks really interesting, you guys should take a look at www.surfly.com. With Surfly in the mix you would not just be able to chat about things but also show people around.

Also, I couldn't find any contact info. :(

@gitchat on twitter for now.

I love the source code at the beginning of this page.

+1 for finding it :) you should check it out in sublime text in the little preview strip they have on the right column, it looks awesome there.

job conditioning, I always look at the source code and the GTmetrix (YSlow, Page Speed) of all the "show HN" projects I see

I initially read this as "GitHub for cats"

Is it open-sourced?


We're using a huge amount of open source components ourselves and are actively contributing back to those projects. James Coglan's Faye is a great example of this where we've been working with James to get it to V1.

The approach we'll take for our own work is certainly to open source some of the components rather than the entire system. We're big believers in giving back, but at the same time we ned to protect our own business.

it will be great to use this -- when it comes out in a few months.

i guess they aren't waiting until its closer to production

Great great app :-) Impressive!

Will it be open source?

Chat apps come and go... and there I am on IRC. I hang out with lots of people on github there.

Why would I use this over IRC with the client of my choice? Build an IRC client that integrates with GitHub, or extensions for Adium to handle github URL's. Or maybe GitHub could offer authorization through XMPP.

Why should I have to use a separate client when I already have Facebook, IRC, XMPP, etc. all managed from the same place?

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