Babylon Java Chat  


Babylon Chat is a Java client/server combination which can be used to chat, draw, communicate and collaborate over the Internet or local networks.  Anyone can run a Babylon client or server, so you can host lots of guests on your own computer, or you can join in on someone else's session.  The client can be used as a Java applet, so it's simple to add chat functionality to your web site.

The program's distinctive feature is its whiteboard drawing utility. You can draw freehand, do circles, squares, lines, fonted text, or paste image files to the canvas.  This is ideal when users want to "sketch" concepts for one another.  Users can interact publicly with everyone else on the server, or they can chat/draw privately using Babylon Chat's "whisper mode".  Users can create and manage chat rooms, which can be either "public" or "private".  The server will also store and manage answering machine-style messages for users who aren't online, and instant messages can be sent to those who are.  Additionally, users who aren't watching their screens can be paged with sound. 

Babylon Chat will (in theory) support any number of users, and since it is written using Java, it can be used in any Java-enabled environment (including most modern Web browsers).

The Babylon server is normally operated in GUI mode, but for convenience it can also be run as a console application. This is handy, for example, if you want to run it in a UNIX environment from a text-only terminal.

The simplest way to get a feel for how Babylon Chat works is to try the applet demo.


Version 2.2 adds the following major features:

  • File transfers between users
  • E-mail sending via the chat server
  • The applet client can now operate fully as a signed applet (all features enabled, such as sending and saving files and images)
  • The drawing canvas can now be saved as JPEG, GIF, PNG, as well as bitmap
  • Disconnection detection (both client and server) is more reliable
  • If the drawing canvas is larger than the visible area, it will now show scrollbars
  • Reorganized source code, ANT building, and JavaDoc documentation

Version 2.1 added the following major features:

  • Applet client can embed in web pages
  • Internationalization: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish translations included
  • Connectivity bug fixes + automatic silent reconnect
  • Application client can save the canvas as a bitmap image
  • Click and drag to resize the drawing canvas vs. the chat text
  • Better instant-messaging interface
  • Client window is easier to use

Version 2.01 added the following major features:

  • Chat rooms, public and private.  Private rooms can be password-protected, or invite-only.  The chat room owner can ban/boot users.
  • Instant messaging
  • User accounts/authentication (optional)
  • 'ignore user' feature
  • Paste image files to the canvas
  • Server administrator client
  • Chat room logging
  • Automatic 'catch up' of whiteboard drawings for new joiners
  • Complete resdesign of the communications protocol

Version 2.0 featured a complete redesign of the communications protocol which drives Babylon Chat.  As such, previous (1.x) releases became incompatible with future versions.  This new protocol is more robust, and will result in much lower bandwidth usage, and thus smoother drawing.  Version 2.01 also added chat rooms (which vastly improves the versatility of a server), and instant-messaging capabilities.   Additionally, late joiners of conferences are now automatically "caught up" with whatever has been drawn on the whiteboard.   Finally, the client and server are now capable of performing user authentication.   If you operate a chat server, you can (optionally) control who gets access to your server.