Conpherence as an XMPP Cleint

On Phacility - Phabricator, under the section " Chat Channels" you say that Conpherence is:

  • Like Slack, but nowhere as good.
  • Seriously, Slack is way better.

I don’t know much about how it’s designed, but based on some installation instructions, it looks like it uses some kind of custom written NodeJS based backend. (side note: it seems there are no instructions in your documentation on how to install Conpherence.)

I am curious whether or not there has been desire/discussion to support using an XMPP server as a backend. I know that the engineering effort for such a fundamental change is huge, but my arguments for this are:

  • Removing technical debt. Phabricator/Phacility push off the burden of having to maintain a full featured messaging and presence server. Engineers focus on Conpherence and any extras* built on top of an XMPP server.
  • XMPP is a mature standardized protocol (which is why I don’t suggest Matrix). It would greatly simplify the development of feature requests for desktop clients, mobile client, etc.
  • Would be a first step in making Conpherence “better than Slack” (though honestly, these days you don’t need to try very hard.)

*By ‘extras’ I am referring to those things that make Slack so appealing (ie. Events and RTM API’s)

It’s clear that there a need for a proper open source Slack alternative. Solutions like Mattermost, Zulip, and Rocketchat try too hard to be different from Slack. I think that Conpherence has the ability to fill that need.

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There is currently no customer interest in this, and thus no upstream interest in this.

Providing open source versions of popular commercial software is not a goal of this project. Phacility is a for-profit company and the Phabricator roadmap is driven by the needs of paying customers.