[manual index][section index]


collab: chat, poll, poller, whiteboard - collaborative activities


collab/clients/chat [ servicedir ] chatroom

collab/clients/poll [ -d ] [ servicedir ] station

collab/clients/poller [ -d ] [ servicedir ] station

collab/clients/whiteboard [ servicedir ] id


These commands are wm(1) programs that are clients of the services of collabsrv(8). It must therefore be running in the network for any of them to be usable. Furthermore, collabsrv's service directory must appear somewhere in the client's name space, for instance by using connect(1), although plain mount (see bind(1)) can also be used. In all cases, the optional parameter servicedir names the service directory (default: /n/remote/services). Finally, collabsrv must be configured to provide the service.

Chat is a simple multi-user chat program. Each user that wishes to chat starts chat naming the desired chatroom, which is an identifying string agreed amongst the clients. (It is often convenient to use the path name of a shared file.) Chat attempts to enter the given chatroom. It announces the results of the connection, and if successful, displays subsequent chat room messages. Its window provides a scrollable text area that forms a transcript of the current conversation, and a single line of editable text at the bottom of the window for sending messages. Messages sent by others appear in the transcript tagged with the sender's name. When the user types a new line (return, enter) in the text entry area, chat sends the text to all the members of the chat room, and it subsequently appears in the user's own transcript, tagged with <you> in place of the user's name. Chat also notes in the transcript the arrival and departure of other users.

Poll and poller together enable simple real-time polls. One user runs poller, which activates the given polling station. The other users can subsequently join using poll, naming the same station, and can come and go as they please as long as the poller remains. The polling station closes when the poller leaves.

Poller drives the interaction for a sequence of one or more real-time polls. It is assumed that the poller is in the same room as those polled, allowing the questions and answers to be read out each time, as in quiz shows and exit polls. Alternatively, something like chat could be used to pose questions to a distant audience. For each poll, the polling user selects, in poller's window, the number of possible answers (2, 3, or 4) using radio buttons, and hits the Start button. A bar chart shows results as they come in: each bar shows the percentage of those polled (thus far) that have selected the corresponding alternative. Once the polling user hits Stop, no further results are accepted, and the bar chart represents the final result. The -d option causes poller to display a debugging transcript of the messages it receives.

Each user being polled runs poll, and initially sees an array of radio buttons with labels A, B, C and D. They remain disabled until the poller hits Start, at which point poll enables as many radio buttons as allowed by the poller for this round. If the user selects a button, poll immediately send the selection to the polling station (and thus to the poller), and disables all the buttons, although the user's selection remains marked. All buttons are also disabled when the poller says to stop, whether or not a choice has been made. Buttons are enabled again at the start of the next question. The -d option causes poll to display a debugging transcript.

Whiteboard allows several users to draw on the shared canvas with the given id, which is an identifying string agreed amongst the clients. The whiteboard window contains a canvas to be drawn on with stylus, or mouse button 1. Strokes drawn in a given whiteboard appear in all others with the same board id. There are two controls at the bottom of the window: the lower left-hand corner has a small pop-up menu of brush shapes, including one for erasing; and a long coloured button showing the current drawing colour that pops up a choice of drawing colour from a palette. Artists can come and go as they please, but the drawing vanishes for ever when the last artist leaves the whiteboard.


default mount point of collaborative resources
collabsrv(8) collaborative activity services directory




connect(1), collabsrv(8)

COLLAB-CLIENTS(1 ) Rev:  Thu Feb 15 14:42:47 GMT 2007