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Mozilla & ChatZilla -- Real Internet Chatting & Communication

by MIKE ANGELO | ChatZilla is a neat, exciting, TCP/IP visual IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client built on top of Mozilla. It now comes with the Mozilla browser suite, which also includes the browser (Navigator), composer (Editor), and E-Mail/News clients.

Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when one hears or reads the word Internet is the World Wide Web and Web surfing or perhaps E-Mail. However, using the Internet to communicate in real time is a major use of the Internet today. Real-time Internet communicating includes stuff such as AIM (America Online Instant Messenger), chat rooms, computer telephony, ICQ (pronounced ‘’I Seek You‘’), and IRC.

These days, the tasks people choose to do on their computers depends not only on their needs to do various tasks, but also on how easily they can do those tasks on their computers. Perhaps even more importantly, which particular software people select to do a particular task depends on how easily they can do that task with a particular application/program -- the quality of the user experience if you like.

That ease-of-use factor includes how easy it is to obtain and install a computer program. "Easy" includes price and free is best.

Part of the popularity of AOL's chat rooms has got to be that when one installs AOL and connects to AOL, all it takes is a few mouse clicks to start chatting away. Likewise when one installs Netscape all it takes is a few mouse clicks to start chatting over AIM.

Chatzilla and Internet Chatting

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a great way to communicate over the Internet. The reasons for that are another story. But one reason some Internet communications conduits such as AIM seem to be growing faster than IRC is that they come with and install with Netscape or some other program.

The ChatZilla IRC client now is included with Mozilla. So if you have the latest Mozilla installed on your computer, chatting on the Internet with ChatZilla takes only a few mouse clicks. That makes using ChatZilla for Internet chatting as easy as using AIM or ICQ.

Mozilla is the foundation of Netscape 6. If Netscape/AOL decides to include ChatZilla in Netscape 6, IRC chatting and ChatZilla easily might outpace AIM and ICQ. On the other hand, if Netscape/AOL decides not to include ChatZilla in its Netscape 6 adaptation of Mozilla, many people might choose to use Mozilla itself instead of Netscape 6!

Chatzilla Rules!

Here are more reasons why we find ChatZilla so interesting and noteworthy:

1). ChatZilla lets almost any Internet user participate in Internet Chat (IRC) without any need to download and install an IRC client such as mIRC, IRCII, PIRCH, IRCLE, and so forth.

2). ChatZilla is free because it comes with Mozilla, which is free.

3). ChatZilla is computer-platform independent in that it runs on top of Mozilla and therefore will run on any of the platforms upon which Mozilla runs -- right now that is 32-bit Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and other flavors of UNIX. Unfortunately there is not a DOS port of Mozilla.

4). Because ChatZilla is platform independent, it pretty much looks and feels the same whether you run ChatZilla on Windows, Mac, Linux, or *nix systems.

5). Although ChatZilla is a Mozilla-based application, the entire ChatZilla application is found in the ChatZilla chrome directory. That means that you can customize ChatZilla just about any way you like. Please see the "MozillaQuest: Building Your Own Browser" series and Creating A Mozilla Skin, Pt. 1 for information on customizing Mozilla-based applications. (See the Resources section at the end of this article for links)

ChatZilla is far from a finished product at this time. It's a usable work-in-progress. Mozilla's Rob Ginda and his ChatZilla crew are adding features to ChatZilla every day.

Next page: A Quick Tour/Demo of Chatzilla


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