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ROCKET.CHAT as an internal messaging system and helpdesk platform

For one of our projects we needed an internal messaging solution that would be free of charge, open source, configurable and controllable, and located on the company servers, so document workflow and password exchange could be kept safe and 100% in-house. It also had to serve as a helpdesk solution for real-time conversations with our customer’s clients. The solution had to be cross-platform, compatible with major desktop OS (Windows, MacOS, Linux) and mobile OS (iOS, Android).


Thinking about the best candidate for the task, we almost always had concerns regarding messengers’ functionality. Here’s why some of the options were rejected:

- Skype, Telegram etc. were not considered because of the need of a dedicated server

- Slack’s free account has a limit of 10,000 messages

- Jabber – chat clients are very underwhelming, it is impossible to synchronize messages between clients

- Mattermost – not flexible at all, the appearance lags 10 years behind, the speed of the application leaves much to be desired, the absence of some small but very convenient functions (display of message edits, the option to restrict users from using nicknames, etc.)


We’ve decided to use Rocket.Chat – here’s how it was deployed:

Deployment of rocket.chat


Rocket.Chat is an open source application that can be deployed on your server. With Rocket.Chat one can communicate with team members and friends through audio and video, talk to site visitors in real time, share files, send text and voice messages, and much more.


Requirements:

- CentOS 7

- 1G RAM. IP address, for example 192.168.100.100

- example.com domain (optional)


Updating the system and enabling epel repo:

yum install epel-release -y
yum update -y
shutdown -r now

Installing MongoDB

Enabling repo:

nano /etc/yum.repos.d/mongodb-org-3.2.repo
[mongodb-org-3.2]
name=MongoDB Repository
baseurl=https://repo.mongodb.org/yum/redhat/$releasever/mongodb-org/3.2/x86_64/
gpgcheck=1
enabled=1
gpgkey=https://www.mongodb.org/static/pgp/server-3.2.asc
yum install mongodb-org mongodb-org-server -y

Installing Node.js, GraphicsMagick, npm and other dependencies:

yum install nodejs curl GraphicsMagick npm -y
npm install -g inherits n
n 0.10.40

Installing Graphics Magick in CentOS 7

Download Graphics Magick:

cd /
mkdir /download
cd /download
wget ftp://ftp.graphicsmagick.org/pub/GraphicsMagick/GraphicsMagick-LATEST.tar.gz
tar -xzvf GraphicsMagick-LATEST.tar.gz
cd GraphicsMagick-1.3.21 (или иной каталог lastest graphics magick)

Establishing dependencies:

yum install libpng libjpeg libpng-devel libjpeg-devel ghostscript libtiff libtiff-devel freetype freetype-devel jasper jasper-devel gcc

Some more dependencies:

#rpm base
yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'
yum group info 'Development Tools'
 
#debian base
apt-get install build-essential

Compiling and installing GM with OpenMP (we used this option when installing rocket.chat):

./configure
make install
gm version

Compiling and installing GM without OpenMP:

./configure --disable-openmp
make install
gm version

Installing GM without OpenMP to the directory /usr/bin:

./configure --disable-openmp --bindir=/usr/bin --sbindir=/usr/sbin
make install
gm version

We’ll also need fibers:

npm install fibers

We need nodejs of 4.x.x version, as the attempt to run 7.5 was unsuccessful; an error report looked like this:

Compiling 4.x.x version from the sources

To do this you need to download the sources from the project website on the download page:

https://nodejs.org/download/release/
wget https://nodejs.org/download/release/v4.0.0/

Unpacking and compiling:

tar xzvf node-v* && cd node-v*
./configure
make
sudo make install

Check that the correct version is installed to the correct location:

/usr/local/bin/node -v
v4.0.0

Installing Rocket.Chat:

cd /opt
curl -L https://rocket.chat/releases/latest/download -o rocket.chat.tgz
tar -zxvf rocket.chat.tgz
mv bundle Rocket.Chat
cd Rocket.Chat/programs/server
npm install

Creating rocketchat.service:

nano /usr/lib/systemd/system/rocketchat.service
[Unit]
Description=The Rocket.Chat server
After=network.target remote-fs.target nss-lookup.target nginx.target mongod.target
[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/node /opt/Rocket.Chat/main.js
StandardOutput=syslog
StandardError=syslog
SyslogIdentifier=rocketchat
User=root
Environment=MONGO_URL=mongodb://localhost:27017/rocketchat ROOT_URL=http://example.com:3000/ PORT=3000
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

IMPORTANT!


- In ExecStart variable, specify the path to the node binary of the required version (4.x.x)

- In ROOT_URL variable specify the domain or IP


Launching MongoDB:

systemctl start mongod.service
systemctl enable mongod.service

Launching Rocket.chat:

systemctl start rocketchat.service
systemctl enable rocketchat.service

Adding exceptions to the firewall for 3000 port:


- if firewall-cmd is used

firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-port=3000/tcp
firewall-cmd --reload

- if iptables is used

iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 3000 -j ACCEPT

A successfully launched rocket.chat in /var/log/ messages:


It listens to node 3000 port:

netstat -ntupl | grep 3000
tcp 0 0 0.0.0.0:3000 0.0.0.0:* LISTEN 618/node

Let's open our rocket.chat:

http://example.com:3000

Next, you can install nginx and neatly remove :3000 from the URL

For starters, we need to install nginx itself - click

And change the default config of virtualhost

nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf
# Upstreams
upstream backend {
    server 127.0.0.1:3000;
}
 
server {
    listen       80;
    server_name  somedomain.chat;
 
    #charset koi8-r;
    access_log  /var/log/nginx/rocketchat.access.log  main;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/rocketchat.access.log;
 
    location / {
        proxy_pass http://somedomain.chat:3000/;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
        proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
 
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forward-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forward-Proto http;
        proxy_set_header X-Nginx-Proxy true;
 
        proxy_redirect off;
    }
}

Message History:


Connecting to Mongo

mongo
mongo             <==== START MONGO CLI
MongoDB shell version: 3.2.12
connecting to: test
Server has startup warnings: 
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] 
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] ** WARNING: /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled is 'always'.
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] **        We suggest setting it to 'never'
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] 
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] ** WARNING: /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag is 'always'.
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten] **        We suggest setting it to 'never'
2016-06-25T11:39:55.913+0000 I CONTROL  [initandlisten]

Looking at the databases available and choosing the one we need: 

#show dbs
 
local       0.000GB
rocketchat  0.056GB
 
#use rocketchat
 
switched to db rocketchat

Selecting all the chats from the database and searching for the required room ID (private or group chat):

db.rocketchat_room.find({})

Using the ID to extract message history:


db.rocketchat_message.find({"rid": "your_chatroom_id"}, {"u.username": 1, "msg": 1, "_id": 0}).sort({ts: 1}).map(function (d) {return d.u.username + ": " + d.msg})
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