Tennu IRC Bot Framework Module Loader Subsystem
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This is the Plugins subsystem of the Tennu IRC Bot Framework for Node.

This module creates a plugin systems that handles loading, dependencies, and roles.

The main features of this plugin system are:

  • Loading of dependencies
  • Initialization of plugins
  • Plugin roles, where plugins of that role expose a common interface.
  • Plugin hooks, where plugins can hook into each initializing plugin.

Multiple examples use Tennu, since this plugin system plugin was designed for it. You can repurpose this system for your plugins.


npm install tennu-plugins

Initialization of Plugin System

require('tennu-plugins')(systemname: string, context: any)

The systemname is the name of the plugin system, and declares the directory names the plugin loader's use method will look for plugins in. See PluginLoader#Use() for more.

The context is the first argument passed the plugin initialization functions.

For example, in Tennu, where the client is passed to each plugin, and plugins are stored in tennu_plugins, the initialization is:

var plugins = require('tennu-plugins')('tennu', client)

What's a Plugin?

A Plugin is an object with the following properties:

    init: function,
    name: string
    role: string?,
    requires: [string]?,
    requiresRoles: [string]?

The init function must return an object. This object is known as the plugin instance.

Note: The name must exist for initialization, but when using the use() method, the plugins will have their name property rewritten. As such, you don't have to worry about the name property if you only use use().

The following is the minimally viable plugin:

    init: function () {
        return {};
    name: 'bare'

The plugin instance can export values for other plugins to use. To do so, these values must be located on the exports property.

The plugin instance can also hook into plugins that require it. To do so, the properties to hook onto must be defined on the hooks property.

Exports Property

The exports property is given to plugins that depend on your plugin through the init function. For example, let's say we have two plugins, A and B. Plugin B depends on Plugin A. Plugin A exports a property exists: true. Plugin B loads plugin A and then logs A's exist property to the console.

// Plugin A
    init: function () {
        return {
            exports: {exists: true}
    name: 'A'

// Plugin B
    init: function (context, imports) {
        return {
            exports: {}
    name: 'B'
    requires: ['A']

Hooks Property

Sometimes a plugin wants to do something with every plugin that uses it. For example, Tennu has a help plugin that hooks into the 'help' property. So, let's say there's a time plugin that wants to use this hook.

The time plugin puts 'help' in the dependencies list, and adds a help property to the plugin instance with the help message.

This is what it looks like:

// Plugin 'help'
    init: function (client, imports) {
        // ... initialization code.

        return {
            // ... other properties
            hooks: {
                help: function (pluginName, helpobj) {
                    // Does stuff with helpobj
    name: 'help'

// Plugin 'time'
    init: function (client, imports) {
        // ... initialization code.

        return {
            // ... other properties
            help: "Stuff about time."
    name: 'time'

Note: In this example, the plugin name and hook name are the same. This is not a requirement. You can name your hooks whatever you want.

Global Hooks

The creator of the plugin system can add hooks that apply to all plugins.

Global hooks should be added before loading any plugins.

To do so, use addHook(hook: String, fn: string -> any -> void).

For example, Tennu adds a 'handlers' global hook.

var plugins = require('tennu-plugins')('tennu', client, logger);
plugins.addHook('handlers', function (plugin, handlers) {

Loading Plugins

var plugins = require('tennu-plugins')('tennu', client, logger);
var builtins = ['server', 'actions', 'help', 'user', 'channel'];
var toUse = [].concat(builtins, client.config(plugins));

Create a list of plugins that you want to use, and then pass them to plugins.use(names: [String], path: String).

The plugin system will then locate and load the plugins in a way that all dependencies are properly met.

This plugin can throw various errors. The constructors for these errors can be found on the exports object of this plugin.

  • UnmetDependency
  • NoSuchPlugin
  • NoSuchRole (Not yet used)
  • CyclicicDependency (Not yet used)
  • PluginInitializationError
  • RegistryKeyAlreadySet
  • HookAlreadyExists

Locating Plugins

The second parameter to use() is a path. The plugin system will look for the following places for your plugin:

  • %path%/%systemname%_plugins/%pluginname%.js
  • %path%/%systemname%_plugins/%pluginname%/index.js
  • %path%/node_plugins/%systemname%-%pluginname%/

If it cannot find the plugin there, it will then go up the parent directory, and repeat, until it either finds the plugin or is at the root.

If the plugin cannot be found, a NoSuchPlugin error will be thrown.

Other Functions

  • hasPlugin(name: string): boolean
  • hasRole(name: string): boolean
  • isInitializable(plugin: Plugin): boolean
  • initialize(plugin: Plugin): void
  • getPlugin(name: string): exports
  • getRole(name: string): exports
  • getModule(name: string): exports1

1 Alias for getPlugin. Erronously named, but kept for backwards compat. Use getPlugin instead.