Digi-Net Hubz 2.0
Java based instant messaging for web site integration.
By Jon Deragon,
Tuesday, October 26, 2003; 3:00pm EST
Instant Messaging has become an integral part of the Internet
experience and is a tool found on millions of computers worldwide.
However, this doesn't help webmasters enable their web site users to
communicate with one another. Incompatible messaging systems,
different protocols and a broad range of operating systems make it
nearly impossible for standard instant messaging tools to accomplish
true web site user to user interaction.
Florida based Digi-Net has come up with a solution to this problem
that allows all site users to have one on one instant messaging
sessions with each other using HUBZ. In its second release, this
community building and site stickiness enhancing concept works on a
platform neutral Java server-client architecture. Meaning user A in
Canada running on the UNIX platform, could effortlessly talk to
another user on their favorite web site who lives in France running on
Windows XP. Neither of which would need an Instant Messaging tool or
even a software plug-in to do so.
HUBZ works by installing a server component onto a server of just
about any platform in existence, Windows, Unix / Linux, Solaris, Mac
and incorporating a small line of code into your web site pages.
System requirements include the use of JVM software (Java Virtual
Machine) and a minimum Pentium 333MHz with 128MB RAM. Your modified
web pages will then display a small, completely customizable icon
displaying the number of other users who are visiting the site at that
moment and an invitation to click the icon for a list of the users.
From there you can get profiles on other users (various information
users have entered about themselves), and if you like what you see,
start chatting with them.
Features for the webmaster include the ability to moderate HUBZ and
"kick out" any unruly users. This can be done by an administrator
level security account and the use of a separate accounts based login
page which is easily setup. The HUBZ environment is highly
customizable allowing you to modify all graphics, colours, fonts,
messages, icons and aspect of operation imaginable. Making it easy for
HUBZ to blend into the style of a web site and become part of its
overall design. It also seamlessly integrates into other Digi-Net
products such as the highly popular DigiChat and DigiPosts products.
For NT environments, the server component can run either as an
application or NT service.
Installation onto the server was a somewhat easy process. Although the
documentation was unclear about some initial configuring issues, the
exemplary phone and live web chat technical support that is available
until 10pm EST got us back on track with a fully operational HUBZ
server in no time at all. The document does however, excel in
explaining the many ways you can customize the HUBZ experience for
HUBZ can be purchased either as a monthly service which is hosted at
Digi-Net, or as a software license for installation onto your own
server. Pricing for the HUBZ PRO/50 Server starts at $69US / month
(plus $99US setup fee) or $199US (plus $49US annual service plan) for
the server license. The annual service plan covers complete technical
support and all upgrades of the software and is mandatory for the
first year. Server models include the PRO/50, PRO/100, PRO250 and the
ultimate PRO/Unlimited which sells for a very reasonable $499US.
Overall, HUBZ is an inexpensive way to bring a truly unique community
experience to your web site users. All on a platform that is stable,
highly compatible and versatile. It's another winning product from
About The Author
Jon Deragon is president and founder of Visca Consulting, a firm
specializing in web site design, development and usability for
businesses of all sizes. His many years in the technology industry has
enabled him to write quality, in-depth product reviews to assist
businesses make more informed technology purchases. He welcomes any
questions or comments you may have regarding his company's services,
this review or interest in having your company's products reviewed.