HipChat 3.0

HipChat rolled out a huge update to their Mac client today (other platforms will be following soon) that features a number of great changes including a brand new, lightweight UI and so far, I’m really digging it.

I was a big fan of the previous UI over competitors such as Slack and this update makes using HipChat even better.

Some other changes in this update include emoticon autocomplete, unread message counts and new presence icons. You can read all about it on their blog.

HipChat vs Slack – Part 2

UPDATE – If you’re interested in the HipChat Server beta, you can apply here.

UPDATE 2 – HipChat is now free for unlimited users. Read more here.

Both HipChat and Slack continue to evolve their product offerings with the most notable improvement being HipChat’s recent beta release of video chat and screen sharing. Here’s a quick rundown of the two offerings with a few important distinctions highlighted.

HipChat Slack
Pricing $0 per user (unlimited users, no limitations)$2 per user (HipChat Plus which includes video calling and unlimited, searchable message history) $0 per user (unlimited users, but limited to searching latest 10k messages, 5 integrations, 5GB file storage)$8 per user
Contract No No
Persistent Rooms Yes Yes
Private Rooms Yes Yes
1-to-1 Chat Yes Yes
Video Chat Yes No
Screen Sharing Yes No
File Sharing Yes Yes
Search Yes (launches browser) Yes (native)
Multiple Accounts No Yes
Google Authentication No Coming Soon
Guest Access Yes Coming Soon
SSL Yes Yes
UI Language English Only English Only
Self-hosted Option In Beta No
API Yes Yes
Integrations Lots Lots
Integration Limit No Yes (maximum of 5 on free plan)
Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, Browser Mac, Android, iOS, Browser

HipChat vs Slack

UPDATE: See this post for details on the 3.0 release of HipChat.

UPDATE: See HipChat vs Slack – Part 2 for a feature and pricing comparison between the two products.

I’ve recently started playing around with Slack at work¬†(we’re big HipChat users at the moment) and so far I’m pretty impressed. Tons of integrations, beautiful UI, available on lots of platforms, etc. I really like their idea of using channels for conversations rather than rooms.

My only complaint thus far is the readability of the conversation threads. In the default message theme, there’s a lot of noise around each message in the conversation: icon, name, time sent. And it’s all grouped right around the thing that’s actually important – the message. You can switch to “compact” theme but it’s still pretty noisy IMHO.

HipChat, which also features a ton of integrations as well as native support for a few additional platforms including Windows and Linux, does a very nice job of moving all of that same information (minus the icon as HipChat doesn’t use icons) out of the way.¬†Names on the left, conversation down the center, and times on the right.

This allows you to quickly scan the conversation in whole, and then pick out the pieces that you need to know more about (i.e. who said something when). Also notice that Slack uses a black, bold font for the names in combination with a black regular weight font for the message. HipChat, on the other hand, only uses black for the conversation itself. Everything else is lighter colors. Again, this gets your eye to focus on the most important information first – the conversation.

I look forward to seeing what Slack does in future releases to address these small, but pesky UX issues.


If you’re doing any work with the HipChat API you may want to check out this handy node.js wrapper from TBWA Worldwide / Pilot developer Charlton Roberts. We’re currently using it fire off deployments and other fun stuff directly from our HipChat room.

You can find it on GitHub and npm: