Back when I wrote Startup 101: Tools for the Job, I had briefly mentioned Campfire by 37signals but had not gotten around to using it for Skribit. In the last month or two, things have changed completely as we have not only begun using Campfire but made it our primary form of communication and how we work. I'm not alone either. Telecommuting web professionals such as those involved with ENTP use Campfire daily.
However, I found two issues with making Campfire an integral part of my workflow. I always have Campfire open but if it's just another tab in Safari or Firefox it takes a bit more work when using it actively many times per day. That's why I use Fluid to create a "Site Specific Browser" for Campfire. SSBs have been around for some time and you might even use one like Mailplane for Gmail. Fluid lets users split web applications, or any site for that matter, out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop.
The second issue is that Campfire does not allow users to disable user login/logout notifications. In a small team, this generally means that those notifications will often take up more space than real conversation. Fortunately for this issue, Fluid.app supports userscripts. My first resource when searching for Fluid and Campfire was this blog post, which showed two helpful scripts. I still use the "campfireFluid.user.js" script from there to notify me of new Campfire messages, similar to Mail.app's red icon with the number of new messages.
Too many notifications within the chat.
As for the remaining notifications issue, I ended up creating a userscript to place display:none; in the CSS responsible for the login/logout notifications in Campfire. Unfortunately my simple method would leave timestamps throughout the chat area as they were not part of the login/logout notifications. Calvin Yu rewrote the script and got it working intelligently. The result can be seen below - a much cleaner chat area without notifications.
Campfire, now with less clutter.
Here is the script, ready for public consumption, if you have run into this annoying Campfire issue: RemoveNotifications.user.js. Installation: After creating a Fluid SSB for Campfire, click on the script icon in the menu bar, click Open Userscripts Folder, and drag in RemoveNotifications.user.js. Then go back to the script menu and select reload all scripts and ensure that Remove Notifications has a checkmark by it. Closing and restarting the Fluid app might be necessary.
Thoughts on SSBs
Do you run any site specific browsers? After linking to Mailplane in this article, I revisited it since I first used it a long time ago. I think it will be here to stay for me. I don't have to constantly change tabs to get back to the email I was working on. Instead, Gmail now has its own playground.