I want a lightweight text chat client that I can self-host for simple chatting with friends and family. Like, AOL chat room level simple. (did you see there's a project that reverse engineered AOL 3.0 and have a FOSS server for it? )
At first blush, Synapse seems like it would be a good option because I could just direct them to download simple clients, have them register an account and get moving... but going from "hmm, I need a simple chat client for friends and family" to an actual working solution with synapse was like following a treasure map (oh, I just have to enable registration here... wait why won't my terminal reconnect? The logs say what? Well I found the requisite setting in some source file... oh I have to generate tokens manually? Damnit. How do I submit post data with curl again?). Their API is documented but the path from blank slate to working solution is pretty much undocumented. As soon as I thought "I guess I could make a clone of matrix-register in PHP and put it in a LAMP container" I looked at the overall end-user experience it would yield, slapped myself for even considering it (face still hurts), and hit uninstall on the like 3 app's I'd already had to install to try and get it working smoothly. I have no interest in a tinkering project that requires regular multi-step CLI intervention with user interaction— at least not if I can't do it easily from an iPhone web browser or native iOS app.
The administration experiences in Mattermost and Rocketchat are fantastic, but the complete collaboration suite solution feature set is not only more than I need, it would confuse some of my most important users. Some older family members are the sort of people whose Facebook profile picture is them confusedly looking at their phone screen and at least 20% of their posts are misplaced google search terms. It's easy to laugh at, but they want interaction with their great nieces and nephews enough to go WAY outside of their comfort zone— not only do I think that's pretty admirable, but I think it's worth offering a "jitterbug phone" version of online interaction to ease their burden.
I've written VERY simple centralized chat client/server applications before... I know there are probably a million edge cases that make it way more irritating than it seems at the outset, but should I just write it? Am I really looking for some modern version of ejabberd or something like that? Does this seem super niche or would anybody else be interested? Reinventing the wheel is stupid and I'd much rather use an existing solution, but lacking that, I'd much rather spend my time creating a unique tool useful for people to self-deploy than porting a clunky bolt-on bandaid for synapse's missing internal functionality. I noticed there are a lot of German users in here— any tips/libraries/etc. for making internationalization easier at the beginning of a project?
If something does exist but isn't available on Cloudron, I imagine y'all would be open to my at least getting a jump on making a containerized version of it for you?