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  1. In Topic: Simple Text Chat Box

    Posted 19 Jul 2012

    View Postahmad_511, on 01 March 2008 - 06:41 AM, said:

    Hello and welcome.

    In this tutorial we will learn about the basics of text chat.
    And to do that, we will use a simple idea for text chat box routines.

    Before you start:
    We will use multiple programming languages in this tutorial, so please make sure before you start that you know:
    1-The basics of HTML elements and Objects.
    2-The basics of CSS to create a simple layout for the chat box elements.
    3-Intermediate skills in Javascript to control all the chat box functionality (client side).
    4-Intermediate skills in php to process incoming and outgoing information (server side).

    And we will use an Ajax script to create a connection between the Server and Clients.
    So I will use Ajax snippet I posted here before.
    And that Ajax snippet will allow you to call another function when the server responses.

    Now letís get into work:
    What are the procedures to accomplish a basic chat?

    To do List:
    - Create the user interface.
    - Style user interface.
    - Coding Client/Server.

    Creating user interface :(index.htm)
    Within the documentís body we need to add:
    1-Form for Sign-in / Sign-out operations and letís give it an id and set it to "signInForm"
    Inside that form create the following elements and give it the associated id
    Element id
    ---------- --
    Textbox "userName"
    Submit button "signInButt"
    Span "signInNmae"

    Now, since I decided to use the same button for signing in and out I will give that button a name and I will change it accordingly.
    Thatís why Iíll give the submit button a name="signIn" as initial value.

    2-Div element to view the messages, give it id="chatBox"
    3-Div element to show currently online users, give it id ="usersOnLine".
    4-Another Form to handle message submitting, give it id ="messageForm" that contains the following elements:

    Element id
    ---------- --
    Textbox "message"
    Submit button "send"
    Div "serverRes"

    <title>DIC ChatBox Beta 1</title>
    <h1></DIC> Chat Box</h1>
    <form id="signInForm">
    	<input id="userName" type="text">
    	<input id="signInButt" name="signIn" type="submit" value="Sign in">
    	<span id="signInName">User name</span>
    <div id="chatBox"></div>
    <div id="usersOnLine"></div>
    <form id="messageForm">
    	<input id="message" type="text">
    	<input id="send" type="submit" value="Send">
    <div id="serverRes"></div>

    Thatís all elements we need, letís save our HTML document as "index.htm".

    Creating the style sheet: (cb_style.css)
    Letís make it simple and clean so everyone else can edit it easily.
    We will style each element depending on its id

    Here is the CSS we need, itís very simple so no need to add any comment
    #signInForm, #messageForm {
    #userName {
    	width: 150px;
    	height: 22px;
    	border: 1px teal solid;
    #signInButt {
    	width: 60px;
    	height: 22px;
    #chatBox {
    	border: 1px teal solid;
    	height: 225px;
    	width: 400px;
    	overflow: scroll;
    	border:1px teal solid;
    #message {
    	width: 350px;
    	height: 22px;
    	border: 1px teal solid;
    #send {
    	width: 50px;
    	height: 22px;
    	border: 1px teal solid;

    Save that style as "cb_style.css" to same directory where we saved the index.htm before.

    Now, we need to link the index.htm with cb_style.css.
    At the documentís header part add this code

    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="cb_style.css">

    Take a look at the screen shot it must be similar, if not please make sure that you typed the previous code correctly.
    Attachment attachment
    After we finished working on the HTML elements and the style weíll work on coding these elements to do what it has to do.

    In this part we will code the client side in javascript and the server side in php

    As everybody knows there are 4 basic procedures in every text chat application which are:
    1- Signing in 2- Sending messages 3- Updating userís data 4- Signing out
    And of course we need some interface to transfer the data between the client and the server

    Here I will use XMLHTTP request which is known as AJAX

    I'm not going to talk about Ajax and how it works, so I will use an old snippet of Ajax that I posted here.

    I will just mention its syntax
    To send data we just call the Ajax function, give it the sending method("GET"/"POST"),"the requested URL","data as name=value pairs",the function handler that will receive the server response)

    Save the snippet in the same directory and rename it to "ajax.js"
    So letís link this snippet to the index.htm like this:
    In the document header add this code
    <script type="text/javascript" src="ajax.js"></script>

    Client side: (chatBox.js / hideShow()): Function
    First create the function "hideShow(hs)" that will control signInForm and messageFrom visibility
    We need to pass a string parameter to show/hide forms accordingly.
    By default we want the messageForm to be hidden, thatís so we need to pass the function "show" as parameter that will hide the signInForm and show the messageForm
    The name/value attributes of signInButt and the signInName will change too.

    And when we pass it "hide" the things will go reverse
    Open a new text document and type our hideShow() function

    function hideShow(hs){
    signInForm.signInButt.value="Sign in"
    signInForm.signInButt.value="Sign out"

    Save the file as "chatbox.js" to the same directory we already working in
    Open the index.htm file and link "chatbox.js" to it by adding this code in the documentís header
    <script type="text/javascript" src="chatbox.js"></script>

    As we said before we need the meesageForm to be hidden by default so edit the body tag to call hideShow() function to hide the messageForm on bodyís load event like this
    <body onload="hideShow('hide')">

    Create two empty text files:
    "onlineusers.txt" will store the already signed in users
    "room1.txt" will store the recently sent messages (last 20 in our case)
    Make sure that the tow files are having write permission.

    Take a look at the flowchart in each procedure, it will give you a better understanding about how things are goes.

    Part#1: Singing in
    Attachment attachment

    Client side: (chatbox.js / signInOut()): Function
    User will enter the user name he want and hit [signInButt] which has "signIn" as nameís value right now
    The [signInForm] form will call the function [signInOut()] on submit event and exit.
    [signInOut()] function will validate the user name for existing spaces (you can add any validation rules at this part.

    The function will check the [signInButt] name if itís equal to "signIn" (which already is)
    If so, collect the user name and the sign in operation as name=value pairs
    Send the data to server-side script "users.php" and let the Ajax to call [checkSignIn] function on server response.
    Exit the function
    // Sign in and Out
    function signInOut(){
    // Validation
    if (signInForm.userName.value=="" || signInForm.userName.value.indexOf(" ")>-1){
    alert("Not valid user name\nPlease make sure your user name didn't contains a space\nOr it's not empty.");
    return false;
    // Sign in
    if (signInForm.signInButt.name=="signIn"){
    data="user=" + signInForm.userName.value +"&oper=signin"
    return false

    Server side: (users.php)
    users.php will load the "onlineusers.txt" file to $onlineusers_file using built in (file) function which will converts the file to an array
    Check if the client sent the user and the oper variables
    If so, search the $onlieusers_file if the sent user name is exist, if so get the user index
    If the operation is "signin" and user is not exist, add this user to $onlineusers_file array
    Call the function [saveUsers()] to save the changes.
    Send the "signin" string to the client and exit

    If the user is exist send the "userexist" string to the client and exit

    The [saveUsers()] function will receive an array
    Open the onlineusers.txt file for over writing
    Lock the file
    Write the array elements with linefeed character
    Unlock the file
    Close the file
    function saveUsers($onlineusers_file){
    if (isset($_POST['user'],$_POST['oper'])){
    if ($userexist)$userindex=array_search($user,$onlineusers_file);
    if($oper=="signin" && $userexist==false){
    echo "signin";
    if($oper=="signin" && $userexist==true){
    echo "userexist";

    After the user.php sent the data, the Ajax will detect server response and execute the function we specified [checkSignIn()]

    Client side: (chatbox.js / checkSignIn()) Function:
    The function will read the server response text (res)
    If the server response is "userexist" the function will alert the user to change his sign in name
    If response text is equal to "signin" that means the user name was accepted and itís ready to use
    Call [hideShow()] function to hide the [signInForm] and show the [messageForm]
    And the [hideShow()] function now will set the name of the [signInButt] to "signOut" and its value to "Sign out" to be used in signing out procedure
    Create an interval [updateIntrerval] to call each 3 seconds a new function we will create later [updateInfo()] which will handle the update of online users and sent messages.
    Show "Sign in" notification in the [serverRes] DIV
    // Sign in response
    function checkSignIn(res){
    alert("The user name you typed is already exist\nPlease try another one");
    return false;
    serverRes.innerHTML="Sign in"

    Part#2: Sending messages
    Attachment attachment

    Client side: (chatbox.js / sendMessage()) Function
    The user types a message in the [message] text box and hit [send] button
    The form submit event will call the [sendMessage()] function
    The function will collect the user name and the message in one string as name=value pairs
    Use Ajax to send the data to "send.php" script on the server and call the function [sentOk] when server response

    // Send message
    function sendMessage(){

    Server side: (send.php)
    send.php receives the message and strips the HTML/PHP tags and slashes right away
    Receives the user too
    Load the room1.txt file into $room_file and convert it to array using built in(file) function.
    Create a new array element that contain the server time at the beginning, the string "<!@!>" as separator, the user name , ": " and the message
    Note: "<!@!>" has no meaning, itís just a string we think that it will never occurs in the messages and we will use it again to separate the server time from the messages

    Check if the $room_file array elementís count is greater than 20(last 20 recently sent messages), when itís true remove the first elements in the array (the oldest message), and thatís will work just like a buffer for the sent messages

    The number (20) means that the maximum number of messages that the client can receive in each update is 20
    So maximizing this number will provides more messages buffer size

    Anyway, send.php will open the "room1.txt" file for over writing now
    Lock the file
    Write the arrayís elements with line feed character
    Unlock the file
    Close the file
    Send "sentok" string to the client which will be received by [sentOk()] function that will execute on server response.
    $room_file[]=time()."<!@!>".$user.": ".$message;
    if (count($room_file)>20)$room_file=array_slice($room_file,1);
    echo "sentok";

    Save the file as "send.php" to the same directory we are working in

    Client side: (chatbox.js / sentOk()) Function
    The function check if the response text is "sentok"
    If so, clear the [message] text box value
    Set the focus the [message] text box
    Show the notification "Sent" in the [serverRes] DIV

    If the server response is not equals to "sentok" the function will show "Not sent" in the [serverRes] DIV
    // Sent Ok
    function sentOk(res){
    serverRes.innerHTML="Not sent"

    Part#3: Updating userís data
    Here we have two types of the data we need to update (online users and the messages)
    If you still remember, we create the [updateInterval] after sign in procedure done, and this interval will call the [updateInfo()] function every 3 seconds

    Client side: (chatbox.js / updateInfo()) Function
    Show the "Updating" string in the [serverRes] DIV
    Use Ajax to call "user.php" script on server with no data to send and direct it to call [showUsers()] function on server response
    Use Ajax to call "receive.php" on the server and send the variable lastReceived then call [showMessages()] function on server response

    Now before we write this function we need to define the lastReceived variable out side the function making it have a global scope which will allow us to change/read its value from within [updateInfo()] and [showMessages()] functions
    And maybe you will use it as a counter for the received messages
    So at the top part of [chatbox.js] and outside any function letís add this:

    And here is the function
    // Update info
    function updateInfo(){

    Updating online users:
    Attachment attachment

    Server side: (users.php)
    When the user.php receives nothing from the client it will load the onlineuser.txt file to $onlineusers_file array
    Join that array with the string "<br>" and then send the joined array to the [sowUsers()] function on the clientís machines

    Open the users.php file and add these two lines to it (at the bottom)
    echo $olu;

    Save the file

    Client side: (chatbox.js / showUsers()) Function
    This function will receive the online-users joined array from the server and display it as it is inside the [usersOnLine] DIV
    // update online users
    function showUsers(res){

    Updating messages:
    Attachment attachment

    Server side: (receive.php)
    receive.php will receive the lastreceived variable from the client and assign it to $lastreceived
    Load the room1.txt file to $room_file array
    Loop all over the array elements
    Read each element and split the server time from the message (using the "<!@!>" string we added before) to $messageArr
    Now the message time is $messageArr[0] and the username with the message is $messageArr[1]
    Check if the message time > $lastreceived then send this message with HTM line break tag to the client because he didnít receive it yet. (Depending on the lastreceived time the client sent)
    After loop is done, send "<SRVTM>" string and the $messageArr[0] (which is now carry the last messageís time) to the client

    Note: the string "<SRVTM>" has no meaning, we will just use it to separate the messages from the last message received time
    if($messageArr[0]>$lastreceived)echo $messageArr[1]."<br>";
    echo "<SRVTM>".$messageArr[0];

    Save the file as "receive.php" to the same directory we are working in.

    Client side: (chatbox.js / showMessages()) Function
    The function will receive a string with all messages connected together with "<br>" and the last element is the last message time and itís connected with "<SRVTM>"
    First, we will clear the [serverRes] DIV
    Then we split the last received time from the messages into msgTmArr array using the string "<SRVTM>"
    Now we have array with two elements:
    msgTmArr[0] contains all none received yet messages
    msgTmArr[1] contains the last messageís time that delivered to the client

    Now Assign the msgTmArr[1] to lastReceived variable (that we defined it before),so we will use it again in the next [updateInfo()] call
    Create a new HTML span element to contain the received messages
    Insert the msgTmArr[0] in the Span inner html
    Append the span to the [chatbox] DIV
    Update the [chatbox] DIV vertical scroll bar to show the last inserted line
    // Update messages view
    function showMessages(res){

    Part#4: Signing out
    Attachment attachment

    Client side: (chatbox.js / signInOut()) Function
    User click on the singInButt (its value now is "Sign out" and its name is "signOut")
    The [signInForm] will call the [signInOut()] function and now the signInButt has the name "signOut"
    The function will check the user name validation. (The validation is useless here because the user is passed this validation when he signed in)
    The function will check if the signInButt name is equals to "signOut"
    Collect user and oper data
    Send the data using Ajax to users.php and tell Ajax to execute [checksignOut()] function on server response

    Inside the [signInOut()] function and just before closing brackets add this code:
    // Sign out
    if (signInForm.signInButt.name=="signOut"){
    data="user=" + signInForm.userName.value +"&oper=signout"
    return false

    Server side: (users.php)
    users.php will load the onlineusers.txt file to $onlineusers_file array
    Receive the user and oper variables from the client
    Search the array if the user exists; if so get its index
    Check if the oper is equals to "signout" and the user is exist
    If so, splice the user from the array
    Send "signout" string to the client
    If the user not exists send "usernotfound" to the client and exit.

    Open the users.php file and add this code after the part of the sign in procedure (before the closing bracket of (if isset) statement)
    So if the sign in and out check failed, we will then join the array and send it back to the client

    if($oper=="signout" && $userexist==true){
    echo "signout";
    if($oper=="signout" && $userexist==false){
    echo "usernotfound";

    Client side: (chatbox.js / checkSignOut())
    The [checkSignOut()] function reads the server response and if itís equals to "usernotfound" show "Sign out error" in the [serverRes] DIV and change the response text to "signout"
    If the server response text is equals to "signout", hide the [messageForm] and show the [signInForm]
    Clear the updateInterval
    Show "Sign out" string in [serverRes] DIV
    Note: the [hideShow()] function will rename the signInButt to "signIn" and chage its value to "Sign in" too
    // Sign out response
    function checkSignOut(res){
    serverRes.innerHTML="Sign out error";
    serverRes.innerHTML="Sign out"
    return false

    One other thing we have to do
    If the user leave the site he must sign out automatically, thatís so we will call the [signInOut()] function on unload or on beforeunload event
    And to do that we have to change the [signInButt] name to"signOut" then we call the function [signInOut()]
    Edit the documentís body tag to be like this:
    <body onbeforeunload="signInForm.signInButt.name='signOut';signInOut()" onload="hideShow('hide')">

    And thatís all

    You must have now 9 files:

    Again make sure that you have write permission on the onlineusers.txt and room1.txt

    Upload those files and brows index.htm

    This tutorial is based on a simple idea and itís for learning purposes only
    And it needs more enhancements before you can use it for real work. (adding user registration, administrators control panel, more validation rules,Ö)

    Now I guess you can edit that code to make it use multiple chat rooms.

    I hope it helps somebody to get the basics of text chat.

    Download all files here Attachment attachment

    Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.


    Sir i did work that you asked in this session but this code is not working completely.
    please help me to solve this problem
    please check above is my site.

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