Recently we finished long research on chat tool for our students and mentors. In the end we picked Mattermost Team Edition as the cheapest and most feature complete option. We did consider building everything from scratch and use something like Pusher or Twilio on a backend, but then we would have to implement all the desktop and mobile clients and all the features oursevles. Mattermost gave us flexible API, lots of built in or easy to install integrations and future-proof feature set. We are still integrating it with our main platform but so far the team, existing mentors and students are very happy.
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