Creating and managing SiteChat chat rooms

SiteChat, NetNation's optional chat room application, enables you to quickly create a chat room that your visitors can log in to in order to exchange messages in "real-time." You can use SiteChat for a variety of purposes, including help centers, support desks, online learning centers and multimedia conference rooms. NetNation's SiteChat enables you to use a standard SiteChat room or to customize your SiteChat room to meet your specific needs and to complement your Web site.

Because SiteChat is a Java application, it runs on Windows, UNIX and Macintosh operating systems.

You must request SiteChat from within AccountManager's Plan Info section. For detailed instructions on adding and activating plan features, see Adding and Removing Plan Features.

Creating your SiteChat room

Customizing your SiteChat room

Incorporating your SiteChat room into your Web site

Creating a SiteChat chat room

To create a chat room:

  1. In AccountManager, select Plan Info and then click the Change link in the Features table.
  2. On the Features page, click the Change link.
  3. Select the Add SiteChat link. Information about SiteChat and any additional fees that may apply appear.
  4. In the SiteChat Room Name field, enter a name for your chat room. This is the name your visitors will see. The name cannot include spaces or special characters.
  5. In the SiteChat Embedded field, select one of the following options:

    - Yes. This option embeds the chat room window within a Web page. It will display in your visitors' browser windows.
    - No. This option creates a "stand-alone" application.
  6. Click Add SiteChat. When your new chat room is created, a confirmation page displays. This page lists the URL for your new chat room.

From this page, you can either go directly to your chat room, which will have the default look and feel, or you can customize your SiteChat room.

Customizing your SiteChat room

NetNation's SiteChat enables you to customize your room in a number of different ways. For example, you can select the different user interface elements you would like to display, choose different color themes and add an advertising banner or logo at the top of the SiteChat window.

If you have just finished creating your SiteChat room, you can click the link on the Confirmation page to begin customization. If you created your SiteChat room previously, you can access the customization options at any time by selecting Website Tools > SiteChat. When the SiteChat Room Configuration and Information page appears, locate the chat room you want to customize and click Configure.

The Configuration page appears. This page contains all of the options you need to customize and build your SiteChat room.

You can set values for any of the following configuration options or you can use the default values.

Common Configuration Options
User Interface Configuration Options
Color Theme Configuration Options
User Preferences Configuration Options
Banner Configuration Options

The first time you customize your SiteChat room, you must set options for each of the five customization areas. For each area, you can choose to accept the default values or change the values for the individual options. Once you have completed customization for the first time, you can then customize just the items you want at any time you like.

Once you have completed customization, click Build Your Custom SiteChat Room.

At any time, you can reset values for any of the configuration areas to the defaults by clicking Reset Default and then Save.

Be sure to build your chat room and preview its appearance whenever you change your customization options.

Customization Options

Common Configuration Options
Enable you to control general functionality and the basic look and feel of your chat room.

Offensive Words Enter words you want to prohibit from being used in your chat room. Separate entries with a comma. Font Face Specify the font face you want to use. You can enter several different fonts in order of priority. Be sure you use recognized font face values, such as arial, verdana and serif.
Border Size Enter the size of the border in pixels. Font Size Enter the point size of the font.
Window Width Enter the width of the main chat window in pixels. Window Height Enter the height of the main chat window in pixels.
Windows Resizable Select Yes to enable users to resize the chat window. Select No to keep the window the specified size. Language Select the language for the text used in the SiteChat interface.
Cookie Support Disabled Select either Yes or No. When enabled, the SiteChat client will use cookies to save and restore various data such as user preferences and profile. When disabled, users must re-enter profile information and reset preferences each time they log in. Sound Support Disabled Select either Yes or No. When sound is enabled, users can play sounds for certain actions, such as users entering and exiting the chat room or new messages being posted. Enabling sound support may increase the load time for the SiteChat application.

User Interface Configuration Options
Enable you to specify the user interface elements you want to include in your chat room. For each option, select Yes to enable or No to disable. By default, all options are enabled.
Button Icons Displays icons on each button. Button Labels Displays a text label on each button. Showing button labels may, depending upon the window size, cause certain buttons to be "cut off" of the window.
Settings Tab Displays the Settings tab, which enables users to select various options to control the appearance and operation of their personal chat room. If you do not want users to have this ability, select No. Profile Tab Displays the Profile tab, which enables users to specify information about themselves that other users can view, such as their real name and email address.
Chat Input Displays the chat input text box. Disabling this option prevents users from typing messages. Font and Images Buttons Enables users to send images and format their message text.
Emotions Button Enables users to pick an emotion to display to other users. Who Where Button Displays information about all of the users in all of the chat rooms.
Away Button Enables users to change their status to "Away" Clear Button Enables users to clear all of the text from the chat window.
Save Button Enables users to save the text of the chat session. Logout Button Enables users to log out of the chat room.

Color Theme Configuration Options
Enable you to set the colors for the different interface elements in the chat room. For each element, enter the appropriate hex value (for example, #CCCCCC). For elements that accept both a foreground and a background color, enter the foreground color first, insert a comma, and then enter the background color. View a diagram of the SiteChat window's different color areas.
Login Panel  (foreground,background) Main Panel  (foreground, background)
Tab Panel  (foreground, background) Dialogs  (foreground, background)
MyChat Panel  (foreground, background) User Panel  (foreground, background)
Control Panel  (foreground, background) List  (foreground, background)
Text Area  (foreground, background) Chat Background
Chat Text Chat Nick
Chat Link Chat Emotion

User Preferences Configuration Options
Enable you to specify the user preferences to make available to your SiteChat room users. By default, all options are enabled.
Show Font Styles Show Font Colors
Show Smileys Show Images
Show People Entering Show Room Info
Sound Effects User Entry Sound
Message Sound Private Message Sound

Banner Configuration Option
Enables you to specify an HTML page or image (.gif or .jpeg) to display at the top of your chat room window.
URL: Enter the full path to the HTML page or image file you want to display.

Incorporating your chat room into your web site

To provide your visitors a way to log in to your chat room, you should insert a link to the URL of the chat room on one of your Web site pages. For example:

<a href="">Click here to join our chat room.</a>

When your visitors click this link, they will be prompted to specify the nickname they want to use while they are in the chat room. Once they log in, your SiteChat chat room appears.