Why doing this?

Synchronous Communication Platform

As I approach the final stretch of my computer science journey at Oregon State University, I’m excited to share the details of my Capstone project: an open-source, web-based synchronous communication platform. This project aims to create a customizable alternative to popular platforms like Slack and Discord, catering to a wide range of users and organizations.

The Vision

In today’s digital age, efficient online communication is crucial for both professional and personal interactions. While existing tools like Slack and Discord serve their purposes well, I saw an opportunity to create an open-source solution that could be adapted to various needs. My platform aims to bridge the gap between gaming-focused platforms like Discord and business-oriented tools like Slack, offering a flexible foundation that anyone can personalize.

Core Objectives

The primary goal of this project is to deliver a fully functional web-based chat platform with the following key features:

  1. User Authentication: Allow users to register, log in, and log out securely.
  2. Real-time Communication: Enable users to participate in live chat conversations.
  3. Direct Messaging: Facilitate private conversations between users.
  4. Notification System: Alert users to new messages and mentions.
  5. Member List: Display a roster of current users.
  6. User Status Indicators: Show whether users are online, away, or offline.
  7. Basic Emoji Support: Enhance communication with emoji integration.

Our minimum viable product (MVP) will place all users in a single chatroom while supporting direct messaging, notifications, user status indicators, and basic emoji functionality.

Stretching Our Limits

While the core features form the foundation of our platform, we’ve also identified several exciting stretch goals:

  1. Guild/Server Instances: Create separate spaces with both public and private channels.
  2. Role-based Access Control: Implement moderation tools and user permissions.
  3. Custom Emoji Support: Allow users to upload and use their own emoji.
  4. Desktop Client: Develop a downloadable application for desktop users.

Technical Challenges and Growth Opportunities

This project presents an excellent opportunity to apply and expand my web development skills. I’ll be leveraging my experience with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and backend technologies to build a robust and scalable platform. The project will also push me to explore:

  • Frontend frameworks like React, Vue, or Angular
  • Backend frameworks such as Spring Boot, Node.js, or Django
  • WebSocket technology for real-time communication
  • Integration of third-party APIs
  • Message queuing systems like RabbitMQ

The Open-Source Advantage

By making this platform open-source, we’re not just creating another chat application; we’re fostering a community of developers who can contribute, customize, and improve the platform. This approach ensures that the tool can evolve to meet the diverse needs of its users, from small hobby groups to large enterprises.

Looking Ahead

As I embark on this Capstone project, I’m excited about the challenges and learning opportunities it presents. Building a synchronous communication platform from the ground up will test my skills, push me to learn new technologies, and provide invaluable experience in managing a complex software project.

I invite you to follow along on this journey as I document my progress, share insights, and hopefully, in a few months, introduce a functional and flexible communication platform that can benefit a wide range of users.

Stay tuned for more updates as we dive deeper into the development process, tackle technical challenges, and bring this vision to life!


Building an Open-Source Synchronous Communication Platform: My OSU Capstone Journey

This blog aims for documenting my OSU Capstone journey.