CuteChat from CuteSoft.net
is an exception tool for any website that may be looking to provide the ability
for their users to chat with each other. The cost of this
product is very reasonable and provides a variety of license
types to suite your needs. At the time of this review the cost ranged from
$299.00 to $3,999.00.
Product delivery is in the form of a Zip file rather than a
standard setup project which in itself does not present a problem. The one
negative aspect via this type of delivery is it leaves the entire setup process
up to the client as a manual process rather than utilizing a GUI based setup
and configuration process. On a positive note, the folks at CuteSoft have done an excellent job of
providing clear and easy to follow install instruction which allows you to have
this application fully installed and configured within 10-15 minutes based upon
your experience. After extracting the Zip file to my selected location,
creating my virtual directory, and finally executing the included SQL Server
script, the application was up and running.
Figure 1 - Initial Welcome Screen
I will be the first to admit that configuration and
administration of any web based application is the driving factor to the
overall use of the entire application and I have found that CuteChat
accomplishes this quite well. Also, as a developer I absolutely love the fact
that this product allows me a variety of choices; one such choice that I feel
is attractive is the integration into the following products.
By providing a mechanism to integrate CuteChat into these
products anyone who may use one of these products may find that CuteChat
provides that final piece of the puzzle to host a complete community friendly
Next is yet another option, such as what Database you want
to use. Coming from an Oracle database background, I always enjoy when a vendor
takes the extra step to provide an alternative option rather than the use of SQL
Server. Your database options are:
Now that I have touched on two of the key points I feel this
product offers and rather than jumping into a developer's perspective, I will
simply say that developers should give the developer's
guide a read.
Once CuteChat is installed, the next step is the
configuration of the overall configuration, word filters, and room
administration to name a few. This is all managed and accomplished via a user
Figure 2 - Administration Console
Once again the folks at CuteSoft have done an excellent job
with the administration interface and within a couple of minutes I had
completed the basic configuration and established a chat room.
Next is user management. The UI here is simple to use and performs
exactly what is expected in a clear and simple manner.
Figure 3 - Member Administration
Figure 4 - Role Management
Figure 5 - Editing Profiles
As you can see, each of these screens is clear and concise
and allows any administrator to quickly manage his/her users with simply a few
clicks of the mouse.
Now that you have configured the application, you are ready
to present your users a mechanism of chatting with each other based upon a
specified topic and all in an absolutely clean and easy to use interface.
Figure 6 - Chat Room Listing
Now I am ready for my users to begin chatting with one
another. The chat interface provides a variety of functions such as:
Font type and size
Use of emotions and avatars
While these are
not all of the options, I feel the above four items are an attractive feature
to the end users.
Figure 7 - Chat Window Interface
Type your message, hit "Send" and strike up a
conversation. Finally, your end users can view the chat partners profile as
well as determining if he or she is online.
Figure 8 - Profile Interface
With the variety of options this product provides, from integrating
with other products such as Community Server or DotNet Nuke to the
administration and end user interface, this is a solid chatting application
that will more than likely fit most of the requirements when it comes to
providing chatting support to your web site. Go to CuteSoft.net and test drive the demonstration
yourself or even better yet, download the demo and install it on your own