Chat tools: HipChat and Flowdock

Update 2015-08-21

Use Slack.

Update 2013-03-22

Both HipChat and Flowdock have added a bunch of new features that mean the comparison below is now a bit stale (for example, Flowdock now supports side chats and HipChat now has a native OS X app) Also, HipChat is now (optionally) free for teams of 5 users or fewer and Flowdock have been acquired By Rally Software.

Check the latest features from each before deciding. We got on very well with Flowdock during our project but in retrospect I think we would have done just as well with HipChat. They’re great services and it’s worth testing both to see which sits best with a team’s philosophy and existing tools.

I’ll revisit this next time I work on a team-based project and need to pick a chat tool.

Original post continues

We’ve been hunting for a chat tool for the project I’m currently involved in. We wanted a central space that the whole development team can use to converse that also supported automated notifications from our other tools.

Our team only has two members (do we even count as a team?) so this is massive overkill at the moment. However, we’ll be introducing more members soon and past experience suggests that adoption is faster if the system is in place before the team grows too large.

We had a few basic criteria for our chat tool:

We came up with a shortlist and quickly discarded some possibilities:

That left two to try: HipChat and Flowdock.

Here’s a quick, very unscientific analysis of both.




We’re still at the early stages of our trial, with more testing to go. At the moment Flowdock is coming out slightly in front of Hipchat, despite the slightly less friendly pricing and lack of side-chats.

Thanks to Ben for acting as guinea pig during testing.