Today we're making some very important changes to Zendesk chat. We'll be making an upgrade to our underlying chat technology, with the aim of unifying all technologies we use to perform real-time communication in Zendesk.
This process will be happening throughout the day, ending in 100% of Zendesk accounts having been upgraded.
Why are we doing this?
When we first launched chat in December of 2010, we did so based on XMPP & ejabberd, which you've probably used unknowingly if you've ever used Gtalk or Facebook chat. XMPP and ejabberd are fairly old technologies, at least in internet years, but we were confident this would be our platform of choice.
Then in 2011 we launched a new product called Zendesk Voice. This feature used technology that was more modern - a blend of Node.js and Socket.io which pretty much means we can keep persistent connections between you and us. We soon realized that this technology is a far better match for something that requires real time communication - Chat!
By bringing Chat on to Node.js/Socket.io we bring some unification to our real-time communication technology stack. It also enables us to far more rapidly develop and deploy new enhancements for those features that depend on it, which we'll certainly be seeing some of in the rest of 2012. Our investment in using Node.js/Socket.io is pretty deep, with one other future project being based on this too.
For those of you wondering, we will likely build an XMPP bridge once we're ready to offer third party access to Zendesk Chat - enabling you to use Zendesk Chat through your client of choice.
What does this mean for me and my customers?
There should be no impact on you, or your customers. We are not adding new features to chat (yet) so this is simply a platform change. There may be small shifts in functionality, and perhaps the odd bug, but nothing we can't fix very easily.
The positive impacts you should see are a noticeable increase in stability, speed and reliability.
How do I report issues I might see?
If you notice any problems with our Chat, you should always direct issues through firstname.lastname@example.org - we'll be able to help you out quickly.
What's planned for Zendesk Chat in 2012?
At the moment we're in the process of bringing Zendesk chat inside of Zendesk itself. This would mean no more having to open a new window in order to chat with your customers. Once this is completed, we'll be focusing on more management capabilities and presence. All of this will be announced as they're released, but I don't have a date to share right now.