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[ Initial Page | The Control Panel | The Visitors List | The Messages | One on One Messages | Changing Rooms ]

ChatPro is a cgi script written in Perl by Command-O Software to allow real-time "chatting" with people anywhere else in the world so long as they are in the same chat-room as you. Careful design was implemented to insure ChatPro would be compatible with every forms capable browser. It is best if your browser also supports tables, but this isn't a necessity.

The Initial Page

When you first go to the chat page you will encounter a page where you must enter your name and a password. Part of the page will look something like the image above. The password insures that two different people can't enter with the same name. This would cause confusion and problems with the "one on one" messages. If you accidentally leave the chat (if you get disconnected or your computer crashes) use the same password or else you won't be able to use the same name for a specified amount of time. If you enter your e-mail address other people will be able to send you e-mail inside the chat.

There may be a link to a schedule of meeting times on this page. And there should be a link to this help-file, or another help-file set up by the person who put the script up on the site.

Once you enter your name and password press the button that says "Enter Chat" (or something similar) and you will be taken to the room designated as the entry room by the person who set the script up on this site.

The Control Panel

This is where you control what you want the script to do.

There may be a link to this help-file here. On the right you will find a pull down entitled "Public Rooms:". If you wish to meet someone in a Public Room, you should select which one and press the button entitled "Go There" (or equivalent). The next link is called "Change Rooms:", this takes you to the part of the page that allows you to change rooms, I'll get into that in a minute. There is also a link called "Messages:" this links you to the part of the page where all the messages are. With most browsers you will be able to see the top of the messages from this point anyway, but people using Lynx won't be able to see them without selecting this link or scrolling down a couple screens.

Next is a big text entry field. This is where you type your message. The text will automatically wrap from one line to the next. If you want a line break when your message is displayed to everyone else press return, otherwise just let the text wrap by itself. HTML tags are not allowed because it would be too easy to mess the page up if they were. If someone started a table but posted before completing it the whole page would be messed up. If someone had an img tag to a large image everyone would have to wait for the image to load.

One feature related to hyperlinks which is very resourceful is html recogonition. ChatPro will recognize if you type in "hey, look at" and will automatically put the necessary html tags around your url so another person can merely click on your url like any other hyperlink. Next are a series of five buttons:

To the right, you will find an input field to specify how many messages you want displayed. The default is 20 messages, but you can change this to 10, 30, or 40. The number of messages you request will show up next time you reload the page and the script will remember how many messages you want displayed. Sometimes the script may not be able to display as many messages as you request. This may be the case if the script hasn't been used a lot recently because the script automatically deletes messages that have been around for a certain amount of time (determined by the person who set the script up).

The Visitors List

To the right, is a pull-down entitled "Who is in This Room?". Upon clicking on this pull-down, you will see who is in the room you are in. Above this pull-down you will find in bold type which room you are in as well. A person's name is added to the visitors list when they enter the room, and a message is displayed in the message area saying that person entered. Their name is removed when they click "Leave" on the control panel and a message is displayed saying they left. If a person does not reload for a given amount of time (determined by the person who set the script up) their name will be removed from the visitors list (but no message will be displayed saying they left).

The Messages

Below the control panel are all the messages. If your browser supports tables they will look like the image above. The name of the person sending the message will be in bold followed their email address as a hyperlink (if they specified it when entering the chat). After the email link, is the time (local time for the server) they sent the message, and on the next line is their message.

One on One Messages

"One on one" messages are for sending messages to one specific person who is in any room. Every person currently in any room will have a button with their name in it. Type your message for that person in the text field and then select from the pull-down menu the person you would like to send a personal message to. Then press the "Send" button to send it to them. You will be returned to the main chat screen for the room you are in.

All one on one messages will appear preceded with "--> 1 on 1:". The message will appear as any other message, but it will be sent ONLY to the person you specify. Red text also helps to identify one to one messages.

Changing Rooms

On the right you will find a pull down entitled "Public Rooms:". If you wish to meet someone in a Public Room, you should select which one and press the button entitled "Go There" (or equivalent). The script will display a message to the current room saying you left that room and your name will be removed from the current rooms visitors list and you will be taken to the new room.

The person setting up the script has the choice of whether or not to allow private rooms, so this paragraph may not apply to you. Below the public rooms changing area is a similar area for private rooms. Here instead of a menu listing the names is a text entry field. You must enter the name of the private room you want to enter and then click the button that says "Go There" (or equivalent).

If there is any text in the private rooms field the script assumes you want to go to a private room, if the private room field is empty it assumes you want to go to the selected public room.

If the room you requested does not already exist it will be created automatically. When other people request a private room with that name they will be taken to the same room. So if you tell someone to meet you in a private room called "Business" you will both end up in the same room when you enter "Business" in the private room text area. The names of the private rooms will not be displayed anywhere, so people must know the name of a room to be able to enter it. (Room names ARE case sensitive, so you must capitalize identically)

The Credits

ChatPro 2.0 is a product of Command-O Software.

Many hard months have been put into developing the best chat software available anywhere in the world. Thanks to everyone who has helped with all of the testing. All of the many suggestions and ideas of numerous people have made this project happen.