OpenTap is the open source system that underlies Tapped In® an online community of education professionals developed by SRI International with funding from the National Science Foundation. OpenTap features a geographical metaphor of campuses and buildings with public, group, or personal rooms, integrated communication tools like chat, threaded discussion, and private messaging, and many other features.

Visit Tapped In® to see an example of this community in action, and contact Tapped In staff if you would are interested in discussing setup or support services to help you get your community up and running or to extend it with new features.

OpenTap is based on open-source Java frameworks, including the Expresso web application framework and NFCChat. It can run on various databases, and has been tested with MySQL and HSQL databases.

Download executables and source and see more details via the SourceForge project page.

To run the binary distribution as a web site,

  1. Drop tappedin[VERSION_NUMBER].war into the 'webapps' directory of a servlet engine like Tomcat (see Tomcat documentation on deploying web applications),
  2. Rename the file to "tappedin.war" (i.e., remove the version number from the file name), and
  3. Start the servlet engine. The .war will expand, and be served.
To put this into pseudo code,

cp tappedin-[VERSION_NUMBER].war $MY_SERVLET_ENGINE/webapps
mv $MY_SERVLET_ENGINE/webapps/tappedin[VERSION_NUMBER].war $MY_SERVLET_ENGINE/webapps/tappedin.war

Assuming that your servlet engine is on port 8080 on your local machine, the initial URL http://localhost:8080/tappedin will provide a starting point to exploring the many features. You can use the following account for testing:

Login: TestUser
Password: changeme

The default administration account is:

Login: Admin
Password: changeme

See the online 'help' tab for more info about features, or try them out first on Tapped In®.

To add chat services, also download and unpack the two auxiliary service providers that are packaged as .zip files, (OpenJMS) and, a modified version of NFCChat. Unzip both of these projects and run them via their ant target named 'run', using something like the following:

cd jms
ant run
# new shell
cd chat
ant run

The chat system should open a JMS communication channel with the web server within about 15 seconds. When finished, kill the ant "run" processes with control-C. Use one of the provided startup scripts for production start/stop.

Required customizations

There are three things you need to customize before you make your instance of OpenTap available to others.

  • First, edit the int /tappedin/WEB-INF/classes/com/sri/tappedin and search for the string "[insert-your-domain]" and replace it with your domain name.
  • Second, go to to the Expresso administration interface at http://[your-domain-name]/tappedin/expresso/frame.jsp and log in as Admin to review and change the default settings. In particular, you'll want to click on Setup/Setup Values and enter your custom values, especially for AdminEmail, ChatDir, CompanyName, MAILFrom, and MAILServer. You should also change the Admin password.
  • Third, replace /tappedin/images/top/tilogo.gif with your custom logo graphic.

Summary of OpenTap features

  • Customized virtual buildings with public, group, and personal rooms
  • Tenant-branded membership and log-in pages
  • Group creation and management
  • Calendar system
  • Event management
  • Job bank
  • Resource library
  • Guests and member access via standard Web browsers
  • Student accounts
  • Targeted mailings

  • Communication
  • Text-based chat and private messaging
  • Threaded discussion boards in every room
  • Conversation transcripts automatically emailed
  • Messages saved for someone who is not logged in

  • Information sharing and retrieval
  • File and URL storage in personal and group rooms
  • Room "sticky notes" for posting welcome messages, agendas, etc.
  • Tenant, group, and member directories
  • Search for members and other resources
  • Research-oriented instrumentation of the community, including a structured log of web actions and running transcripts of chat.

Community support services are also vital to maintain and grow a thriving community. Tapped In staff provide online orientations and tutorials, help via e-mail and chat, support and publicity for provider activities, daily hosted events, a monthly newsletter emailed to members, experienced online meeting facilitators, customization, data collection, and training. Contact Tapped In staff if you would are interested in discussing support services for your community. Logo Creative Commons License
This description is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Tapped In® and CLTNet™ are trademarks of SRI International.