Heard it on the developer grapevine

One To Watch: Twitter-like team communicator Flurfunk open sourced

Chris Mayer
grapevine

An intriguing new project from the Viaboxx Systems team looks to make team communication simple, with Flurfunk. We think there’s potential here…

IRC isn’t a new thing - back in the heyday of
chatrooms, the protocol was almost mainstream
.
If you’re a developer, you’re no doubt using
something similar
to communicate across your team,
making sure that everything is ticking over and
spread
the news
when the proverbial hits the
fan.

Whilst it is still essential for any development team to use
IRC, the advent of newer approaches and tools, such as Jenkins and
Git means it is in a dire need for a upgrade. At the same time,
with all these components coming into play, there’s also a demand
to strip back the modern client, giving it a clean web
interface.

A neat little project that just been open-sourced by the team
at German software firm, Viaboxx Systems, seems to be following
this trend.
Flurfunk (not
a new music genre, but a German term equivalent to
the
rumour
‘grapevine’) takes inspiration from other
collaboration tools
while putting a new
twist on things.

Within Flurfunk’s internal timeline, users can see recent
commits, monitoring messages and build reports all under one roof.
Aside from that they can post links and have small discussions
whilst coding away. The architecture is simple enough to
grasp:

From the Github home, we can see that Flurfunk is split
into four key repositories. The Clojure-coded server does the heavy
lifting, receiving and sending message to clients as well as acting
as the storage facility.

Currently there’s one web
frontend
(written in ClojureScript and built
through Clojure’s automation helper
Leiningen), which
looks basic but sleek. We can expect a Mac OS X desktop client in
due course, but at the moment the team say it needs a bit of
tinkering before it can be unleashed.

Also available to peruse is a Apache Camel implemented
Camelbot,
salvaging components from the advanced Java framework to pick up
messages from a mailbox and post into a Flurfunk instance. Unlike
Twitter though, Flurfunk users don’t follow each other and instead
read

channels
, sifting out what they don’t want to see
and ranking the important stuff to them.

Whilst this isn’t exactly revolutionary, we’re impressed by
the move from the team and also by the simplicity of it. The
potential scope here is quite huge, with the team discussing


future plans,
which mostly revolve around
Git commit Github service hooks. Should it gain traction, there’s
potential to add in Jenkins and Confluence bots, as well the
standard Android, Linux and Windows clients. Aesthetically, it
might be close to a blank canvass, but we could see additions such
as gravatars to give it that personal feel.

We’re not sure that it has enough to displace the stable of
enterprise offerings, but if enough developer’s register an
interest, it could become an option for smaller developer teams
looking for a For the above to happen, the team are looking for
contributors to dig into the API to write clients. Why not fork it
and have a look? A handy

installation guide
for your own instance is
provided too.

GrapevinePicture courtesy of VectorPortal

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