A Comparison: Mattermost vs. Slack vs. Rocket.Chat vs. Matrix
The Minerva Messenger service aims at offering an optimal user experience to all MPG staff and the cooperative partners in exchanging information. Considering this core use case, there are four most popular digital communication tools. This article attempts to give you insight into their differences and why Mattermost is right for us.
Based on MPG infrastructure and uses cases, the following principles lie at our heart to guide us in picking up software and product.
- Top-level data security: MPDL always puts your privacy and data security at the prior position. We are apt to use open-source products so that all data can be stored safely on our own server.
- Advanced software quality: The software should work steadily with constant updates and expected improvements. Apart from this, we expect its community to be well-organized and informative, and the provided documentation can be described as detailed and transparent.
- Intuitive usage: A user-friendly product means that it has an intuitive interface and is easy to use, minimizing the learning costs and knowledge gap.
- Match for MPG infrastructure: The common function should meet the different needs of various research groups, departments, or organizations within MPG. Furthermore, it should provide diverse system integrations to enable us to enhance the service constantly.
Mattermost — the fundamental software of Minerva Messenger— has been broadly approved within the MPG family. Many institutions and research groups initially take Mattermost as a communication tool. It has a clear, full-featured, and intuitive user interface. Users can create multiple Teams and Channels for various workgroups. MPG users are also welcome to invite external partners as guests to their Teams and Channels. Mattermost provides a wealth of possibilities to add functionality and improve the user experience. Plugins such as Zoom, BigBlueButton (GWDG Meet), (GWDG) GitLab, GitHub, Antivirus, ToDo, etc., have already been integrated or activated within our service.
Slack is one of the services our team considered the Mattermost alternative. Actually, the infrastructure of Slack was rated with the highest score based on our evaluation. However, Slack only provides the cloud version, which means the data security cannot be guaranteed in our case. Compared to Slack, the data in Mattermost is optimally protected because the service is self-hosted in the secure Max Planck network.
Similar to Mattermost, Rocket.Chat is also an open-source team collaboration tool that can be deployed on our own server. Even though Rocket.Chat seems to be more popular than Mattermost recently; all users could only be added to one group when we started this project. Besides, Rocket.Chat only offers a few options for UI customization, whereas Mattermost enables us to display the MPG logo and banner on the login page.
At the very beginning of this project, Matrix drew our attention as well. Two years ago, its user interface had not been developed very well. But Matrix’s community has grown and changed a lot; now, we start to reevaluate, set up, and test the Matrix protocol or product to investigate its potential as an alternative in the future.