April 17, 2024

Free Open Source Team Chat with Zulip

Powerful chat platforms like Slack have been dominating the marketplace for a few years now. Teams have moved onto these powerhouse systems to quench their thirst for communication, coupled with a lack of alternatives.

Thankfully a new chat platform has reached the web and it’s completely open source!

Zulip allows group chat that can be hosted on your own corporate server with full control over the infrastructure. It can work on mobile devices along with desktop/laptop computers.

Conversations are organized by topics and include flags for messages you’ve missed since your last visit. It functions very much like Slack, but using a different interface coupled with various features on a fully open source platform.

Zulip screenshot preview

Naturally a system like this could be off-putting to anyone who doesn’t have time to setup an internal chat system. But there’s something to be said about saving money if you’re willing to take the time and learn how to use Zulip to its fullest potential.

There’s a tremendous list of features that will surely grow over time. Here are some poignant examples:

  • @notifications
  • Audio + visual notifications
  • Drag & Drop file attachments
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • History search
  • Open API Library

Another great feature is the ability to integrate webapps into Zulip. You can have auto-updates posted from many top services like Git/GitHub, Trello, Asana, or even directly via e-mail.

If you want to get started visit the Zulip documentation or the official Zulip GitHub repo. There are three other repos for the iOS, Android, and desktop clients.

In a few years’ time Zulip could snowball into the best free chat platform for new startups and creative agencies worldwide.

Jake is a creative writer and UI designer by trade. You can follow him on twitter @jakerocheleau or learn more at his personal website JakeRocheleau.com.

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