A chat window is a window used by a chat program to allow a user to see messages he or she has received, as well as those messages that he or she has sent. This window is typically separated into two basic areas: the display section that shows the messages that have been sent by each user and the input section that allows a user to see the message he or she is currently creating. A chat window can be part of a chat program, such as instant messaging programs, or may exist within a larger framework, such as an online computer game or social networking website.
There are a number of ways in which a chat window can be created and displayed, and the complexity of such windows has evolved over multiple generations of chat programs. The basic design for a chat window typically consists of two elements: the display section and the input section. While these two sections can be displayed in any type of layout, the most common default layout is for the display section to be large and on top of the smaller input section.
The display section of a chat window typically shows those messages that have already been sent by users of the chat program. This can include text messages sent by users, images uploaded or sent through the program, links that have been included in messages, and any other type of media supported by a program. These messages are not typically displayed in real time as they are created, but only once they have been generated and sent by a user.
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In addition to the display section, the input section is typically a major part of a chat window. This section displays a message being created by a user, in real time. If a chat program allows users to post images or sound files, then this will also typically be displayed in this section. Other sections can also be part of chat windows, including displays of visual avatars for users, links to symbols that can be sent through the chat program, and advertisements.
While a chat window is often a basic part of any instant messaging program, there are also other applications for chat options. Online video games, especially massively multiplayer online (MMO) games often include chat windows for communication between players. These windows are often customizable, and can be changed to only receive messages from certain players or include multiple tabs to provide different information in discrete layers of a single window. Social networking websites also often include instant messaging programs for users logged onto the site, which typically utilize chat windows connected to the web browser used to access such sites.