This week my team started using HipChat instead of plain old Google Talk, and we really like it. I'm fairly certain that at the end of our 30 day trial we're going to start paying for it.
Once we were in the flow of using it, my first thought was I hope this thing has an API or allows IM clients to connect, because I want to push all kinds of data in here! (Spoiler alert: Why not both?)
For example, I'm now pushing every logged exception from a few of our more recent applications into one of the rooms. Previously I was using a bot I had written to send us all Instant Messages for every exception, so I just refactored that bot to send to HipChat instead.
It's been less than a day, and we've already decided that it's profoundly less annoying than getting an instant message for every exception -- but still gets our attention more than an email would, which is important!
I had already written the bot using Node.js and a few libraries to send the IM's, so all I had to do was alter it to push into HipChat instead. Once that was done it was obvious what I had to do next: Generalize it so that it could handle any number of RSS feeds, pushing to various HipChat rooms, and each polling on their own schedule.
And then clean up the code for public eyes and release it as an open source project, because duh.
The project is very cleverly named Node HipChat RSS Bot and is on the GitHubs for your use and abuse.
The coolest part about the whole thing? I'm running it on Heroku for free.
Are you wondering how I get a log of all of my application exceptions as an RSS feed? You'll have to attend my CFObjective session Errors Are Best When Emailed... Said Nobody Ever! this May!