PChat is a 2 part program consisting of a server component and a client component. The client component (PChat.exe) runs as a Desktop Application.

PChat is short for Personal Chat, as it provides for a single connection between two independent parties. Each client must have a UserID, but the UserID is not password protected and the messages are not encrypted. The server component is open to anyone, and only serves to allow the two parties to connect. Each party logs into the server and stays connected. A Heart Beat signal is periodically sent to the server to maintain the connection. If the server fails to receive the Heart Beat, the user is removed from the Connect list.

The first time the Client program is run, there are enough defaults to allow the program to start, but "Setup" from the menu needs to be run. You will be prompted to enter a UserID of 3 to 10 characters. Any UserID can be used, but if it conflicts with another user, it will have to be changed. Next, you will be asked for a "Server". The server can be a properly registered Domain Name, or an IP address. Although the program is capable of handling IPv6, it is currently only configured for IPv4. Next you will be asked for a "Server Port number". Any port number can be used, but it has to be the same as the server (default is 259). Next you will be asked for an "External Port number". This one is slightly more complex. More on that later. Next you will be asked if you want to activate Spell Check (Yes or No). That's it for the Setup.

In order for 2 parties to connect, one of them has to have an open port listening for a connection. Most IPv4 clients are sitting behind a NAT router, and an internal Firewall. Therefore, you must configure your router to either forward the connection request on the External Port number you entered directly to your machine, or configure it to use Port Triggering on that Port number. Port Triggering does not require fixed IP addressing, but Port Forwarding does. Fixed IP addressing can be accomplished by configuring your network adapter, or in most modern routers, by using DHCP to provide the same function. You can still use Personal Chat without setting up your router, but you will not be able to initiate the connection. To initiate the connection, you click on the "Users" in the menu. This will recover the currently connected users from the server.

Clicking on one of the User Names will send that User Name, your External IP Address, and your External Port number to the server. The server will then forward that Address and Port information to the selected user. Notice that the External Address information was recoverd in the first image. The selected user will receive this information and display it in several boxes. If PChat is minimized when the request is received, it will be restored to a normal window.

Clicking on the green User Name box will attempt to establish a connection with the user at that Address and Port.

Note: The party listening for the connection (User1 in this case) must allow that connection through the Firewall. If the Microsoft Firewall is being used, on the first connection attempt you will be asked if you want to allow that connection. Responding to that question may cause the first attempt to fail.

The two sides then carry on a conversation using the lower box to input messages. Messages that you type will appear in blue in the upper box.

These programs in theory support non-Latin character sets (eg. Chinese/Arabic), but these have not been tested extensively.

Note: Version 2 contains optional encryption. See "Readme.txt" file for further details.

Server Component

Back to Top

| Home Page