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How to Write a Chat Server
by Brian Slesinsky 7 May 1997

Brian Slesinsky is a former HotWired engineer. He left the company to work full-time on his death ray.

Page 1

I don't care much for online chat. Quite frankly, the conversations seem superficial compared to email and Web conferencing systems. But writing a chat server? Now that's a lot more fun. I'm going to show you how to write a little one-room chat server that, though humble perhaps, has a lot of potential for expansion.

Coming up with an algorithm

Prerequisites: You'll need a good working knowledge of Perl and a server with Perl 5.002 or better installed. Note that most ISPs don't allow ordinary users to run chat servers. You could, however, probably try it out with only a few users over a modem connection. (Surprisingly enough, this chat server works fine using Perl for Win32 as long as you get the latest version of IO::Select from CPAN.) You'll also need a telnet client, because that's what we'll be using as a chat client.

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