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A WebSocket-based Chat app for Django developers.

Project description

Django Chatter

Django-based Chat app that supports group chat and real-time updates.

Full docs here: Chatter Docs <https://django-chatter.readthedocs.io>_

Chat is a crucial aspect of many web apps at present. However, Django's package repository does not have well-maintained reusable chat packages that Django developers can integrate into their platforms.

Chatter is an attempt to change that. This is an open-source fully reusable chat application that has mechanisms to support group chats in place.

The default templates for this app are made with Bootstrap, one of the most popular CSS frameworks out there. This makes it easier for developers to change the templates just by modifying the right CSS files.

[More work to be done] Added to that, it can also possibly be used as a REST API, since all the views generate standard JSON responses that need to be parsed by the websockets present in the front-end of the app using this package.

This app makes use of Django Channels 2 <http://channels.readthedocs.io>_ and uses Redis <https://redis.io/>_ as the message broker.

**This app is still in its alpha phase. We plan to improve it so it can be used as a package in other Django-based web apps. **

To run chatter properly, you'll require python>=3.5 and Redis. Note: For development, we are currently using redis-5.0.3, built from source on Ubuntu machines.

The core mechanisms of Chatter follows the instructions provided in the Django Channels <https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/latest/>_ tutorial section, with some added modifications and theming.


Installation

  • Chatter is on PyPi <https://pypi.org/project/django-chatter/>_ now! To install it, run

    .. code-block:: python

    pip install django-chatter

    This should install all the required dependencies for Chatter.

  • Once you're done with that, add it to your :code:settings.INSTALLED_APPS:

    .. code-block:: python

    INSTALLED_APPS = [ ... 'django_chatter', ... ]

  • Since we use Redis as our message broker, you need to enable channel layers for Chatter's ChatConsumer (see Channels' Consumers <https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/latest/topics/consumers.html>_ for more details). To enable that, you need to add the following lines to your project's :code:settings.py file:

    .. code-block:: python

    CHANNEL_LAYERS = { 'default': { 'BACKEND': 'channels_redis.core.RedisChannelLayer', 'CONFIG': { "hosts": [('127.0.0.1', 6379)], }, }, }

  • If you haven't already, create a file named :code:routing.py in your project's configuration folder. This is because Django Channels uses a specification called ASGI <https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/latest/asgi.html>_ for its websocket protocol. To enable Channels on your app, you have to add a file that routes all websocket requests to a Channels app (in this case, Chatter). This should be the same as the folder where your :code:settings.py file is located.

    In :code:routing.py, add the following lines:

    .. code-block:: python

    from channels.auth import AuthMiddlewareStack from channels.routing import ProtocolTypeRouter, URLRouter import django_chatter.routing

    application = ProtocolTypeRouter({ 'websocket': AuthMiddlewareStack( URLRouter( django_chatter.routing.websocket_urlpatterns # send websocket requests to chatter's urls ) ) })

    This routes all websocket requests to Chatter, with the logged in :code:User object. If you are using different django-channels <https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/latest/>_ applications other than Chatter, you may already have this file, and can add the appropriate URL for chatter to handle. More details can be found on Django Channels' Routing <https://channels.readthedocs.io/en/latest/topics/routing.html>_ page.

    If you know how the middleware wrapping in Channels <https://github.com/django/channels/blob/master/channels/auth.py>_ works, then feel free to replace :code:AuthMiddlewareStack with what you use as your auth middleware for User object processing (if you're curious to know about this, get in touch! We'd be happy to talk to you about it).

  • Now that you're done setting up :code:routing.py, add the following line in your :code:settings.py file to link to the routing.py (again, you may have already done this if you're already using channels)

    .. code-block:: python

    ASGI_APPLICATION = '<project name>.routing.application'

  • Chatter uses a context processor to generate a list of all rooms that a user is a member of. To use this context processor, add it to your :code:TEMPLATES list in your :code:settings.py file:

    .. code-block:: python

    TEMPLATES = [ { ... 'OPTIONS': { 'context_processors': [ ..., 'django_chatter.context_processors.get_chatroom_list', ..., ], }, }, ]

  • Link :code:django_chatter.urls to the URL you want in your URLConf (:code:<project>/urls.py).

    Example:

    .. code-block:: python

    from django.urls import path, include

    ... urlpatterns = [ ..., path('chat/', include('django_chatter.urls')), ... ]

  • Run migrations:

    .. code-block:: bash

    $ python manage.py makeimigrations chat $ python manage.py migrate

  • Start your app's development server and go to your :code:'/chat/' URL, and you will see Chatter's homepage.

Tests haven't been setup for this package yet. I built this app before I knew what good test practices were like. So, tests welcome!


Usage Notes

  • Chatter, as of right now, provides a very minimal interface for users to chat with other users.For starters, while group chatting is supported on the model layer, the corresponding templates and front-end logic have not yet been setup.

  • If you're using chatter as a package in your own app, you have to make sure that you handle user authentication in your app. Chatter, by default, provides views that require user authentication. If you're developing Chatter on the other hand, the usage will vary a bit. The notes for that can be found in the Get Involved <https://django-chatter.readthedocs.io/en/latest/templates/develop.html>_ section.


Running list of features to add

  • Add a "Create Group" option for users on the templates
  • Add 'Seen by user x' functionality
  • Add displaying time with messages

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