VOICE Scheduled Testing Session #1

Sunday 09 June, 8:00 UTC

Candidate: Riot.im (Matrix client)

Comments by: Strypey@mastodon.nzoss.nz

VOICE (VOICE Organized Investigation of Chat Engines) is an informal app testing group, trialing free code apps to see how well they handle voice chat, especially with groups. We aim to have a group chat testing session at least once a month, on a Sunday, starting at 8:00 UTC, with the first Sunday of the month as the default. We are currently using a Matrix room to confirm the timing of testing sessions, as well as for discussion about available apps and related topics: #voicechat:matrix.org

For our first scheduled testing session, we tried the voice/ video chat integrated with Riot, a client for the federated chat protocol Matrix. Riot can do voice/video group chat, using a “widget” (add-on) that connects a Matrix chat room to a hosted instance of Jitsi Meet (see also the demo at meet.jit.si). All three participants were using Riot, so no idea if this works for Matrix clients other than Riot.

I initially tried to join in using the Android version of Riot. After a bit of trouble connecting to the chat, I was able to connect and talk to the other two participants for a while. The sound quality was good and there was very little delay. The other two participants carried on a discussion for a couple of hours, with no problems. I however, got booted from the chat after a few minutes and wasn't able to reconnect. I tried again with the web version of Riot on my laptop, and with the Electron version, but wasn't able to connect to the voice chat with either.

My mobile device is running Android 4.4.4 and I'm behind the Great Firewall of China. So any problems I have are not necessarily a reflection on the app being tested. In this case, I suspect jitsi.riot.im – the URL for Riot's instance of Jitsi – is being blocked by the GFC. Although that doesn't explain why I was able to connect with the Android app for a while. Maybe it has a different way of connecting to the Jitsi chat than the web app? But if so, it's still odd that it worked and then stopped.

The Riot client warns users that the chat feature is experimental. As long as you're using an up-to-date OS and not in China, it seems like a good option for an informal group chat. In future, if they can get it really stable, it could be a great supplement to the team chat features of Matrix.