Chat Application Design

Chat applications have become quite popular these days. It used to be that us developers used IRC (internet relay chat). We still do of course, but applications such as HipChat, Slack, and Gitter are starting to slowly replace that. IRC historically had robust robots that would hang out in the channel answering questions and sending notifications. The problem was, IRC is kinda ugly. Not that we need anything pretty, but style is counting for a lot these days with developers who buy into the rock star image.