Own Your Chat

My amazing partner just set up Zulip, the open source chat service, for our personal household use.

Zulip offers an experience not unlike both Slack and online forums. Zulip’s “streams” are similar to channels but are populated by “topics” instead of individual messages. As someone who gets lost in noisy Slack channels and who much prefers threaded replies, I love this feature. I can’t count the number of times I’ve lost track of some important info that my partner sent me somewhere back in our Google Chat logs. If we can get into the habit of keeping such replies in their own topics, this user experience will make my life much easier.

Zulip also offers desktop and mobile apps. It took some server-side configuration, but now my partner and I both receive notifications on our phones like with any other chat service. These apps feel rather snappy, too.

If this works out, we could retire from Google Hangouts er, Google Chat and avoid switching over to Slack or some other purely commercial service. Our chat logs will belong to us and we won’t have to worry about portability or about being forced into yet another platform change on someone else’s time table. I’ll rest easier knowing that it really is our chat service (with all the caveats about hosting on a virtual server, etc.) and nobody else’s.

If you have the option of trying Zulip, why not give it a spin?