How many times have you wished you had a quick access to a collaboration tool in the palm of your hands? And how many times have you wished that same tool could not only reach out to a team of your choosing, but to a community of similar users?
Such is the way of Riot. This particular open source take on collaboration (available on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux) makes working with others on ideas and issues as easy as possible. Not only can you join the myriad available rooms, you can create your own rooms and make them either public or private. Riot even allows for room encryption, to ensure security.
The idea of Riot is built on the old-school idea of chat rooms, only on a mobile platform. This surprising take on an older idea works really well. With Riot, you can share messages, images, videos and files - all within the confines of private or public "rooms".
Let's install Riot on Android and see how easy it is to create a private room, so that you can can then invite your team for easy collaboration.
To install Riot on Android, follow these simple steps:
- Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Riot
- Locate and tap the entry by Vector Creations Limited
- Tap Install
- If prompted, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once installed, you'll find a launcher in your App Drawer or on your home screen (or both) tap that and you will be greeted by the Riot login window (Figure A).
If you don't already have an account, tap REGISTER and then fill out the information (email, username, password) and then tap the REGISTER button a second time. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address used with a verification link. Tap that link and your account will be ready to use.
Once you've registered, the main window will appear, where you can start a chat, create a new room, or search for pre-existing rooms. Before you do that, you'll want to set your name, otherwise Riot will list you as "None" when you send out room invites. To do this, swipe right from the left edge on the Riot main window. Tap Settings, tap Display Name, and enter a name to be used.
With that taken care of, let's first join a pre-existing room. To do that, tap the Search button from the main window (Figure B).
From the search window, tap Browse directory, and then scroll through the listing of current rooms. When you find a room you want to join (many of which are IT-centric), tap it and then, when prompted, tap JOIN ROOM (Figure C).
At this point, you be in the new room and can join in on the conversation at hand.
Creating a new room
Creating your own room is the best route to team collaboration. You can create a room such that it can only be joined by invitation only. Let's create that very room.
Back in the main window, tap the + button and tap Create room. The room will immediately appear, labeled as Empty room and open so you can configure it and invite members. The first thing you want to do is set the room up. From the Empty room window (Figure D), tap the menu button (three dots in top right corner) and tap Room Details.
In the Room Details window, tap the SETTINGS tab. In this window (Figure E), you can give the room name, add a photo, set a topic, tag the room, enable directory listing for the room, set room access, enable encryption, and more.
NOTE: For the rooms you will be using for team collaboration, you'll want to set Room access to Only people who have been invited.
Once you have your room created, you'll need to add the members of your collaboration team. To do this, tap the room listing from the main window, tap the menu button, and then tap Room Details. From the Room Details window, tap the PEOPLE tab and then tap the + button. In the resulting window (Figure F), type the name (if they're already registered with Riot) or the email address (if they aren't registered) of those you want to invite into the room. They will then receive an email with a clickable link that will take them to the room, where they can join in on the collaboration.
Collaboration made easy
Riot is an outstanding way to collaborate with a team or even join a public room to get help tackling a tough IT issue. I highly recommend this growing community to IT admins and enthusiasts who are looking for an efficient means of collaborating and exchanging ideas.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.