We launched Campfire today: Group chat for businesses in the browser. It's by far the most advanced Ajax application we've done, but also the most resource intensive. We're currently polling every three seconds for every user active in a chat and while we'll soon be able to regulate that between three and thirty seconds (depending on how active the chat is), it has certainly presented us with “special needs”.
But the resources and the Ajax work has definitely paid off. Campfire feels as natural as a web-page and IRC at the same time. File sharing actually works and we do inline image previews to really spice it up. And most importantly, it's something that we really, really need ourselves. I've found that's been the best way for us to do something interesting: Just need it!
This is also the 37signals graduation project for Sam Stephenson and Marcel Molina, who both joined the company in December. So I'm naturally very proud of both of them and happy to share a “ship it!” moment with them.
So check out our 4th launch and Ruby on Rails-based product. We hope you'll find it as useful as we have. [Loud Thinking]