Add Chat to Your Zotonic Site

Thanks to Michael Connor’s zchat, it’s easy to add chat system on your Zotonic site.


It is often very useful for a site to have a live support line built-in. Another case for chat is on a social site where you’d like your members to be able to communicate in real time.


Readers are assumed to have a working Zotonic system running, and Mercurial (the hg command) installed.


Install the mod_chat module using zotonic modules install:

$ zotonic modules install mod_chat

This should download mod_chat and install it in the priv/modules/ directory. Restart and rebuild zotonic to see the effect of these changes:

$ cd /home/zotonic/zotonic
$ zotonic stop
$ make
$ zotonic start

Now, log into your site admin page, select System and then Modules. Scan down to find mod_chat. Activate it.

Now you can either include chat into an existing page on your site or create a new page.

To include chat in an existing page, find the template that formats the page in the templates directory and somewhere within the content block enter:

{% include "_chat_box.tpl" %}

To create a new page:

Create a page called “Chat” with category Text. Give it the Unique name page_chat, click on the Published check box, and save.

Add the following dispatch rule to your dispatch list:

{chat, ["chat"], controller_page, [ {template, "chat.tpl"}, {id, page_chat} ]},

If this is the last rule in your list, omit the trailing comma.

Go to System and status in your admin menu and click on rescan modules.

Now you should be able to go to <yoururl>/chat and see your chat window. You’ll see Anonymous <long number> in the right-most pane. That’s you. If your chat buddy enters the chat page, a second Anonymous <another big number> will appear. When you or your buddy leave the chat page, the respective Anonymous tag will disappear. Note that chat messages are not stored or logged. That may come with a future version of zchat.