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In the original prototype all the communication was handled by a backend server. Each client connected directly to the server using the socket.io library. This quickly proved to be messy and unreliable, especially on the cheap server being used to host it.
Websockets proved to be a little more reliable, but still just as messy and not all browsers support them. That's when the project was switched over to use Pusher. Using Pusher has allowed all but the initial connection code to be off-loaded onto the client. Now instead of communicating through a self-hosted server, clients can communicate pretty much peer-to-peer over Pusher.
Pusher is used to send update notification whenever Lapzbot joins a server.