ClearChat is an idea that grew out of my involvement with a local poetry group. We want to host a performance online during the lockdown but we’ve been concerned about publishing the URL for the event publicly and attracting undesirable attention. We wanted a way to screen folks joining the event and be able to chat to them and qualify them before granting them access.

Some video chat platforms have a ‘waiting room’ but you can only see the users name, and often that’s just ‘Galaxy Tab A’ or similar. We’re also really keen on Jisti, video chat (which is fab!), it’s super simple to use, but is missing a way to screen connecting users, other than giving everyone a password.

It’s live now, and it’s free, check it out at

Here’s a pic of the admin interface:

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ClearChat admin interface

I built it with Ember Octane because I wanted to try Ember for a greenfield project. If you’ve not tried Ember recently I’d suggest giving it a look, its transformed itself over the last couple of years. Features like Typescript support, Decorators, Tracked Properties (which make state tracking _so_ easy) have transformed the project.

For the backend it runs on AWS using API Gateway’s Websocket’s support and Lambda. That’s worked out nicely, I did learn one thing during development which is the Websocket $connect handler really must not throw an error, I had one browser manage to cause 900,000 lambda invokes before I noticed. Oops!

My day job is focused on the events industry, which as I’m sure you’ll appreciate is on hold right now, so I’ve taken the chance to put this together and learn some new skills. Please give it a go, it’s free, I’d love to hear any feedback.


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