We've been investigating HipChat for internal chat lately, and I was a little disappointed that it used Adobe AIR on all platforms, instead of providing a native app. To be fair, it's the most well-done AIR app this side of Basalmiq, but there were still the little inconsistencies that I couldn't help but get annoyed by. I'm not going to describe the exact things that bothered me here, since Alex Payne does such a great job describing the problems here, but it felt weird enough that I couldn't see myself using the app as often as I'd use, say, Propane.
Heading through their support pages to get an idea of how I could improve my experience, I noticed that there seemed to be a fair amount of support for running the web version of HipChat through Fluid, which, while not as pleasant as a native app, still felt much faster and more native on the Mac than the AIR app did. HipChat did an amazing job of building support for things like Growl notifications and Dock badge notifications into the web interface, and seem to want to make the site work as well in Fluid as it does through AIR. Given the constraints they've set for themselves, HipChat has done a tremendous job of building support for people that would like an alternative to AIR.
Accessing HipChat through Fluid
There were only a few minor gotchas I ran into when creating the
HipChat Fluid app. First, after downloading and running Fluid, the
URL should be set to
icon can be left as the website favicon, which awesomely still takes
a full-size icon from HipChat's site, rather than the actual tiny
favicon the site uses. Once inside the HipChat Fluid app, you'll
have to adjust the preferences. Under the
category, you'll have to add the
*hipchat.com/sign_in*, otherwise you won't be
able to sign in. Finally, if you want Growl and Dock notifications,
you have to enable notifications through the AIR app—HipChat
doesn't expose that setting in the web app.