KandanApp, Open Source Alternative to HipChat

HipChat is a popular web service for instant messaging, chat rooms, searchable chat history and even image sharing. Their paid version also add video calling and screen sharing. It can be integrated with a large set of others popular services like Github, MailChimp, etc…usually used as a collaborative tool or for entreprise people, but it is a proprietary software and the change in their TOS did not make it easier….

If you are looking for an alternative, KandanApp is probably the closest of the alternatives.

kandan opensource hipchat

KandanApp, based on Rails, is a web based, persistent instant messaging client with a clean and userfriendly interface. Nothing to install from client side, it currently supports Firefox, Chrome and Safari. (No IE….)

With Drag n Drop file sharing, Desktop notification, several plugins, and full Emoji Support, it could a good tool for team, departments, …. to share ideas, code and files in real time.

You can give a try using their demo server.

Unfortunately, the project does not seems to be as active as it was before (latest blog post is from 2013, but the git repository is still maintained).

However, as you can see, several features are not implemented yet (Video conference, screen sharing, …), you will probably need to use a different platform if you really need it. (Although very different and not quite yet web based, Jitsi could may be suit you if you are just looking for a Skype alternative).

But KandanApp remains a good alternatives if it fit your needs.

Kandan opensource HipChat


As usual, here is how to install KandanApp on your server. (Assuming you have Ubuntu/Debian style of)



They actually have a good tutorial here, you could double check it if you wish.

1) Install the dependencies

In root, run:

apt-get install ruby1.9.1-dev ruby-bundler libxslt-dev libxml2-dev libpq-dev libsqlite3-dev gcc g++ make
2) Clone their latest git repository into your /var/www
cd /var/www
git clone https://github.com/kandanapp/kandan
**3) Install the required gems


cd kandan
bundle install

Should take several minutes to install all the needed gems.

4) Modify the config/database.yml (Optional)

For testing purpose, you don’t need to do it, but if you want to use it in production, you’ll need to edit config/database.yml to add something like this:

  adapter: postgresql
  host: localhost
  database: kandandb
  pool: 5
  timeout: 5000
  # You might need these depending on your Postgres auth setup.
  username: kandan
  password: mypassword
**5) Bootstrap the install


bundle exec rake db:create db:migrate kandan:bootstrap
**6) Start the server


bundle exec thin start

If no issue, you should be able to access to your Kandan instance through HTTP://YourIP:3000 and connect to the admin account using the default user “Admin” and password “kandanappadmin”

Kandan opensource hipchat login page

If you have any questions, I suggest you to visit their issue tracker.


Loves to discover web-based apps to install on his own server@home and write articles about it


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