history

  • low internet bandwidth
  • frequent disconnection of internet connection
  • sometimes no connection at all
  • IRC ports blocked on college network
  • No persistent logs with existing web IRC clients

Apart from that, it took some learning to get started with communication on IRC and the IRC clients:

  • IRC servers (IPs, ports, SSL)
  • channels
  • PM
  • IRC ports

A communication tool that requires some learning is a failure in itself. Not everyone is a geek. If someone is handed a IRC client, there's no straight forward way to make good use of it. We're a bit lucky in this case that we got introduced to FOSS first and then too IRC, and there were people who showed us how to use these tools. But there are many who have little knowledge about FOSS, IRC, etc. and no one to guide them as well.

After college, when I started working, I used to work from multiple machines. Although, I used to use a bot in a remote ZNC server, syncing logs across machines became a pain. Then I got myself a Macbook, and purchased Linkinus (a IRC client). It's so intuitive and sleek. After using Linkinus, I started hating the other not so beautiful IRC clients. And then, at work, we moved from IRC to HipChat. Life became so easy after migrating to Hipchat, may be for the following reasons:

  • Beautiful web and native clients
  • Accessible from anywhere and multiple devices
  • Centralized logging
  • 24x7 idling
  • Mail notifications when away
  • search interface for chat logs
  • Realtime

But, one has to be on IRC for communication with FOSS communities. I badly wanted to build my own IRC client on the cloud, a realtime one, inspired by HipChat, but I was too lazy to do it due to the complexity involved in building a realtime application. Then, one day, I came across Meteor, which made developing realtime apps a breeze. This was the framework I have been subconsciously waiting for. With Meteor taking care of the realtime communication part, it was very easy for me to focus and start working on Waartaa.

Sayan was able to relate himself with the mission of Waartaa. Why wouldn't he? After all, he had similar experience as mine with IRC communication. He started contributing to Waartaa and taking active participation in brainstorming features, UX and evangelising Waartaa alongside me.

After months of efforts, usually before or after office hours and weekends, we came up with an initial prototype of Waartaa with very limited but important feature set:

  • Centralized logging
  • 24x7 idling
  • Mail notifications
  • Unique identity (across multiple devices)

Currently, I and Sayan have been maintaining Waartaa and building new features. Waartaa has attracted quite some attention in the community. We're able to push Waartaa as a project idea for GSoC 2014 under the umbrella of the Fedoraproject. We received a good number of applications from students across the globe, among which we selected one applicant, Lalit, to hack on Waartaa this summer for GSoC for the Fedoraproject. We are mentoring Lalit to grow as a contributor in Waartaa and play an important role with us in shaping the development of open communication and collaboration tools.