Science and technology

Use Git because the backend for chat

Git is a type of uncommon purposes that has managed to encapsulate a lot of contemporary computing into one program that it finally ends up serving because the computational engine for a lot of different purposes. While it is best-known for monitoring supply code adjustments in software program growth, it has many different makes use of that may make your life simpler and extra organized. In this collection main as much as Git’s 14th anniversary on April 7, we’ll share seven little-known methods to make use of Git. Today, we’ll take a look at GIC, a Git-based chat utility

Meet GIC

While the authors of Git in all probability anticipated frontends to be created for Git, they undoubtedly by no means anticipated Git would turn into the backend for, say, a chat shopper. Yet, that is precisely what developer Ephi Gabay did together with his experimental proof-of-concept GIC: a chat shopper written in Node.js utilizing Git as its backend database.

GIC is on no account meant for manufacturing use. It’s purely a programming train, however it’s one which demonstrates the flexibleness of open supply expertise. What’s astonishing is that the shopper consists of simply 300 traces of code, excluding the Node libraries and Git itself. And that is among the best issues concerning the chat shopper and about open supply; the flexibility to construct upon current work. Seeing is believing, so it’s best to give GIC a search for your self.

Get arrange

GIC makes use of Git as its engine, so that you want an empty Git repository to function its chatroom and logger. The repository will be hosted wherever, so long as you and anybody who wants entry to the chat service has entry to it. For occasion, you possibly can arrange a Git repository on a free Git internet hosting service like GitLab and grant chat customers contributor entry to the Git repository. (They should be capable to make commits to the repository, as a result of every chat message is a literal commit.)

If you are internet hosting it your self, create a centrally situated naked repository. Each consumer within the chat will need to have an account on the server the place the naked repository is situated. You can create accounts particular to Git with Git internet hosting software program like Gitolite or Gitea, otherwise you may give them particular person consumer accounts in your server, presumably utilizing git-shell to limit their entry to Git.

Performance is finest on a self-hosted occasion. Whether you host your personal otherwise you use a internet hosting service, the Git repository you create will need to have an energetic department, or GIC will not be capable to make commits as customers chat as a result of there isn’t any Git HEAD. The simplest way to make sure that a department is initialized and energetic is to commit a README or license file upon creation. If you do not try this, you possibly can create and commit one after the very fact:

$ echo "chat logs" > README
$ git add README
$ git commit -m 'simply making a HEAD ref'
$ git push -u origin HEAD

Install GIC

Since GIC is predicated on Git and written in Node.js, you will need to first set up Git, Node.js, and the Node bundle supervisor, npm (which ought to be bundled with Node). The command to put in these differs relying in your Linux or BSD distribution, however this is an instance command on Fedora:

$ sudo dnf set up git nodejs

If you are not operating Linux or BSD, comply with the set up directions on git-scm.com and nodejs.org.

There’s no set up course of, as such, for GIC. Each consumer (Alice and Bob, on this instance) should clone the repository to their onerous drive:

$ git cone https://github.com/ephigabay/GIC GIC

Change listing into the GIC listing and set up the Node.js dependencies with npm:


Wait for the Node modules to obtain and set up.

Configure GIC

The solely configuration GIC requires is the situation of your Git chat repository. Edit the config.js file:

module.exports = ;

Test your connection to the Git repository earlier than attempting GIC, simply to verify your configuration is sane:

$ git clone --quiet seth@instance.com:/residence/gitchat/chatdemo.git > /dev/null

Assuming you obtain no errors, you are prepared to begin chatting.

Chat with Git

From inside the GIC listing, begin the chat shopper:

$ npm begin

When the shopper first launches, it should clone the chat repository. Since it is practically an empty repository, it will not take lengthy. Type your message and press Enter to ship a message.

As the greeting message says, a department in Git serves as a chatroom or channel in GIC. There’s no technique to create a brand new department from inside the GIC UI, however for those who create one in one other terminal session or in an internet UI, it reveals up instantly in GIC. It would not take a lot to patch some IRC-style instructions into GIC.

After chatting for some time, check out your Git repository. Since the chat occurs in Git, the repository itself can be a chat log:

$ git log --pretty=format:"%p %cn %s"
4387984 Seth Kenlon Hey Chani, did you submit a chat for All Things Open this 12 months?
36369bb Chani No I did not get an opportunity. Did you?
[...]

Exit GIC

Not since Vim has there been an utility as troublesome to cease as GIC. You see, there isn’t any technique to cease GIC. It will proceed to run till it’s killed. When you are able to cease GIC, open one other terminal tab or window and challenge this command:

$ kill `pgrep npm`

GIC is a novelty. It’s an excellent instance of how an open supply ecosystem encourages and permits creativity and exploration and challenges us to have a look at purposes from completely different angles. Try GIC out. Maybe it will provide you with concepts. At the very least, it is an excellent excuse to spend a day with Git.

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