A brief talk on how we still use IRC principles.
Over the several decades I've been a part of I've seen the tech world grow and change significantly. One of my top “Wow, nothing has changed” moments is chat services. Allow me to explain.
Since 1988, Internet Relay Chat has allowed people from all over the world to connect in real-time using basic text and textual emotes. Before Discord, before TeamSpeak, before Facebook Chat and AIM, there was the simple idea that you logged into a server somewhere, chose a channel to talk in, and went to it. That was it. If you'll notice, the vernacular “server” and “channel” haven't really changed over the last 30 years. I could say “I joined server A and talk in channel B all the time”, and it could apply to IRC or any number of modern offerings. Even down to using #channel-name as a way to designate specific channels within a server.
Ergo: the organization of these systems is still, at least in principle, very similar to how it's always been done.
Admittedly, the technology that sits underneath these basic principles nowadays has improved. For example, it wouldn't be uncommon for IRC chatlogs to be digested by all present users who enable that option in their specific IRC client. As in, a log of every chat and every action taken by all users in the channel would be saved, from when a client connected to when it disconnected. There goes data privacy, or the hope of ever taking back that one stupid meme link you sent out. That one person may still have a log. (Yes, meme link. You think IRC did inline pictures or GIFs? Blasphemy! 56k was a dream when IRC was king)
Whereas nowadays, it's more common for chat services like Discord to handle chats as a sort of key-value base, where getting rid of the user who owned the key-value could coincidentally get rid of serverside access to all messages linked to that key-value. Even clientside, once a cache was wiped or refreshed. Not a 100% guarantee of data privacy (once again, logs are a thing), but it is easier to get rid of your information at the original source of its' storage now due to a wholly different storage mechanism. Which would prevent further, future gathering of data from the original source.
There are lots of other things like private messaging and even server roles (in some ways) that had their humble origins long before we had graduated from dial-up and grainy 144p camera phone selfies.
Yet, the basis of our chat systems has not changed.
And I'm curious to see if they ever will. Are you?
Catch you next time,
#100DaysToOffload 7 / 100
Note: Life's hit hard the last week and some. I kept a cadence of a post a day for almost a week, and then it's been a week plus since post #6 and this one. I'll be working on having more regular content posted, probably twice a week at least. They'll be easily-digestible pieces like this, with a flagship or three thrown in over time. Thanks for reading!