Wickedly extensible IRC bot written in Node.js. Load and reload mods without reconnecting.
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Wickedly extensible IRC bot written in Node.js. Load and reload mods without reconnecting.

Download. Install. Fly.

If you don't already have Node.js, get it. It's awesome. And also required.

Then, grab Toady from Github by using the download link, or if you're dev-minded and like to stay updated, clone it on the command line:

git clone git@github.com:TomFrost/Toady.git

Get into that folder on the command line and install:

npm install

Configure it. Just a little bit.

Copy config/default.yaml.sample to config/default.yaml. Enter your server settings, change Toady's name, and pay extra careful attention to the section marked with

## !!IMPORTANT!! ##

Because four exclamation points means business, son.

You turn Toady on.

To launch (from the Toady directory) on any non-Windows machine, or Cygwin:

./ribbit start

If you're on Windows, it's:

ribbit.cmd start

Need to launch it on more than one server? Just copy config/default.yaml to config/myotherserver.yaml, edit it for the new server, and launch Toady like this:

./ribbit start myotherserver

When he's in your channel, do this in IRC for more info:

/msg Toady help

Teach Toady new tricks.

Toady can be extended through simple mods, and mods can make Toady do practially anything. Mods can be searched for, installed, and uninstalled through ribbit.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section shows you how to install third-party mods. These are not moderated, maintained, guaranteed, or otherwise vetted by Toady's author. Install at your own risk, as mods are capable of anything!

List all Toady mods:

./ribbit search
# Or in IRC: /msg Toady ribbit search

List only mods that deal with typos:

./ribbit search typo
# Or in IRC: /msg Toady ribbit search typo

Install a mod:

./ribbit install typofix
# Or in IRC, just say: !ribbit install typofix

Uninstall a mod:

./ribbit uninstall typofix
# Or in IRC, just say: !ribbit uninstall typofix

Did I mention you can search, download, and install mods into a running Toady instance directly from IRC? Yeah. Toady's like that.

Write your own mods! (It's easy)

Mods for Toady are standard Node.js modules. They can have their own node_modules folder with dependencies set up in a package.json, they can require() whatever they need, they can open new ports, and they can interact with the entire Toady framework including other mods. Toady mods have no limitations.

Make a basic mod

For your first mod, make a folder in Toady's 'mods' folder called 'test'. That makes 'test' your mod's 'id' -- no other mod can be loaded with the same id. Inside of mods/test, create index.js and paste in the following. This is the most basic form of a mod:

 * Creates a new Test mod
 * @param {Object} config Contains config fields specific to this mod
 * @param {Object} client The connected IRC client powering the bot
 * @param {Object} modMan A reference to the ModManager object,
 *      responsible for loading/unloading mods and commands.
 * @returns {Object} The new Test mod
module.exports = function(config, client, modMan) {
    return {
        name: "My Test Mod",
        version: "0.1.0",
        author: "Me, Myself, and I",
        desc: "I just made this to screw around",
        commands: {
            greet: {
                handler: function(from, to, target, args) {
                    client.say(target, "Hi " + from + "!");
                desc: "Makes the bot say Hi to you.",
                help: [
                    "Format: {cmd} [#channel]",
                    "  /msg {nick} {cmd} #room",
                    "  {!}{cmd}",
                    "  {!}{cmd} #otherRoomImIn",
                    " ",
                    "If this is said in a channel, I'll greet you on the" +
                        "same channel if no other is specified."
                targetChannel: true

If Toady isn't running yet, this mod will be loaded automatically when you start him up. If he is currently running, just say this:

!loadmod test

And now you can try out your new !greet command. Any time you make a change to this mod and want Toady to update to the latest version, just say:

!reloadmod test

For a list of these and other mod-related commands, type

!viewmod modcontrol

Structure of a mod

The object literal that the exported function returns has the following properties:

name: string

The name given to your mod when it's listed with !help or !viewmod.

version: string

The version of your mod. This should follow the semantic versioning guidelines at semver.org. You can omit this if your mod has a package.json file with a version! Toady will pull it from there instead.

author: string

Your name! You can optionally specify your E-mail address, in the format Your Name <your@email.com>. You can omit this if your mod has a package.json file with an author! Toady will pull it from there instead.

desc: string

A very brief, one-liner description of what your mod does. This will show up in the !viewmod output. You can omit this if your mod has a package.json file with a description! Toady will pull it from there instead.

unload: function() (optional)

A function that will be called immediately before unloading this module in the ModManager. If any event listeners have been placed on the ModManager or the IRC client object, they MUST BE REMOVED by this function! Toady cannot enforce this, so it is up to you, the mod author, to make sure. Toady will have unexpected and unstable behavior if this function does not remove all the mod's listeners.

configItems: object (optional)

A mapping of configuration keys to objects defining that key. The object has the following properties, all of which are optional:

    desc: "Describe what this option means in a one-liner",
    type: "number", // Either string, boolean, or number.
    validate: function(value) { return true; }

These items will be made available to be changed by the 'config' core module. If a type is specified, the user input will be cast to that type. If validate is specified, the value will be passed to it and the function can return one of three things: - {Error} If validation failed and an error message should be provided to the user - {boolean} false if validation failed and a generic error message should be provided to the user - {boolean} true if validation passed

blockReload: boolean (optional, default false)

If true, this will stop your mod from being reloaded with the !reloadmod command. While this can be convenient to stop the mod's "memory" from being wiped by an unsuspecting Owner or SuperUser, this is extremely bad practice. Use the config object to save changes rather than blocking your mod from being reloaded.

blockUnload: boolean (optional, default false)

If true, this will stop your mod from being unloaded with the !unloadmod command, but not through the !reloadmod command. This should only ever be used for mods that are core to the function of the bot


An object literal that maps command names (whatever you would msg Toady or say in a room with the fantasy char) to command objects. Those are defined below. This field is optional; not all mods have user-callabe commands.

Structure of a Command

Commands are managed by the Toady framework to prevent name overlaps, ensure users have the appropriate permissions, etc. If your mod just needs to listen for IRC events and react to them, no commands are necessary. But if you want someone to be able to say !somecommand, here's how:

handler: function(from, to, target, args, inChan)

The function that executes when the function is called. The arguments are:

  • from - The nick of the user calling the command
  • to - The bot's name if this was sent in a private message, or the channel the command was spoken in if not.
  • target - The channel or nick targeted for the command. This is configured below.
  • args - An array containing the arguments to this command. If no pattern is specified below, this will have just one element: The entire string following the command or target.
  • inChan - True if the command was said in a channel (and thus 'to' is a channel name); false if the command was messaged privately (and this 'to' is the bot's nick).

desc: string

A brief one-liner description of what the command does. Shown in !help.

help: array

An array of strings to be sent in the !help command. Each string will be sent in its own IRC NOTICE, so this can be utilized to control line breaks. The following placeholders will be automatically replaced with the appropriate contents:

  • {!} - The configured fantasy character
  • {cmd} - The name of the command
  • {mod} - The name of the mod (specified in the mod's name field)
  • {modId} - The id of the mod (usually, its folder name in the mods folder)
  • {nick} - The nickname of the bot
  • {version} - The version number of the mod

minPermission: string (optional)

The permission character of the lowest permission allowed to call this command. If omitted, the command won't be restricted by permission. Toady recognizes the following permissions, in order from most to least privileged:

  • O - Owner. Full access to all commands, cannot be revoked.
  • S - SuperUser. Full access to all commands, except those which may impact other Owners or SuperUsers.
  • P - PowerUser. Limited access to global command set.
  • ~ - Channel founder
  • & - Channel admin
  • @ - Channel op
  • % - Channel half-op
  • + - Voice
  • '' - (Empty string) A user in a channel

The O, S, and P permissions are Toady-specfic and can be set with the !adduser and !updateuser commands. All others come directly from IRC.

pattern: RexExp (optional)

The regex pattern that the command arguments must match in order for the function to be called. If specified, the args argument in the handler function will be the result of the match -- so index 0 will be the entire string, 1 will be the first paranthetical match, 2 will be the second, and so on. If targetChannel or targetNick is specified as described below, this pattern will NOT be applied to the target argument.

targetChannel: boolean (optional, default false)

Setting this to true will require that the first argument to the command is a channel name, prefixed with # or &. If the command is said in a channel using the fantasy char, the channel can be omitted and it will be assumed that the target is the same channel. This value will be passed in the handler's target argument.

targetNick: boolean (optional, default false)

Setting this to true will require that the first argument to the command is a user's nick. Note that this will not ensure that the nick is real or connected -- it just assumes the first argument is the target nick. This value will be passed in the handler's target argument.

hidden: boolean (optional, default false)

Setting this to true will cause this command to be omitted from !help. This can be useful in games where certain commands would only make sense to users if the game is currently running. The "hidden" flag can be turned on and off dynamically as needed. It should never be used to exercise any form of security through obscurity. Use minPermission to restrict access to commands.


The config argument passed to each mod is an object literal containing configuration fields. The fields are loaded in the following order, with each step overwriting any existing fields from previous steps:

  • The mod's own module.exports.configDefaults object, if one exists
  • The mod_MODNAME-HERE section from the .yaml config file currently in use, if it exists
  • The config/CONFNAME-mod_MODNAME.json file, if it exists

So if a mod named "test" is written with this at the bottom:

module.exports.configDefaults = {
    delay: 12,
    message: 'Hello!',
    name: 'Ted'

And config/default.yaml contains this block:

  delay: 5

And the file config/default-mod_test.json contains this:

    "message": "Yo!"

Then the config object passed into the 'test' mod when it's loaded will be:

    delay: 5,
    message: "Yo!",
    name: "Ted"

Why the complexity?

  • module.exports.configDefaults allows you to define the default values your mod will be instantiated with, so that no error checking for nonexistant config values is necessary
  • The block in the .yaml file allows the bot owner to easily specify new config options
  • The .json file is what the config object itself saves when config.save() is called.

Note that any mod can access any other mod's config object to read, write, and save with the following call. This should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary, as the target mod may not be prepared to handle dynamic changes in its config:

var otherModConfig = modMan.getMod('otherModId').config;

config.save([{Array} properties], [{Function} callback])

The 'save' function is the only value that Toady itself adds to your config object, and it is non-enumable -- so iterating over your config values will not show 'save' as a property. It's there, though, and calling it will write the file config/default-mod_MODNAME.json, where "default" is the name of the .yaml file currently in use. Any saved config will be provided back to the mod if it's reloaded, or the bot is restarted.

If properties is omitted, all enumerable properties on the config object will be saved. But properties can be set to an array of strings representing the only config keys that should be saved in the resulting file.

The optional callback function will be called with an Error object from fs.writeFile if the write fails, or with no error upon success.


The IRC client provided to each mod is an instance of martynsmith's fantastic node-irc client, unaltered in any way except for configuring and connecting it according to the options defined in the configuration yaml file.

The client object allows the bot to send messages, join, part, quit, change nicks, etc -- anything you would expect an IRC client to do. It also tracks the bot's nick as well as the users and their permissions in the channels the bot is in, and exposes many events you can hook to be notified of new messages, nick changes, parts, and more. Just skim the node-irc documentation site for details.

Here are a few examples of how easy the client is to use:

client.say('#myChan', "HI GUYS! MY NAME IS " + client.nick + "!!!");

function nickHandler(oldnick, newnick, channels) {
    channels.forEach(function(channel) {
        client.say(channel, "Stop changing your name, " + newnick);
client.on('nick', nickHandler);

// And your mod's 'unload' function MUST contain this line
// if you do the above:
// client.removeListener('nick', nickHandler);


The ModManager instance that gets passed to each mod on load is a singleton responsible for loading/unloading all mods, collecting command objects, and providing all of these things to other mods on request. In addition to returning official mod properties in the resulting object literal, arbitrary properties can be added for other mods to take advantage of. For example, the 'users' mod includes functions for finding and checking user permissions. If your mod needs to do that, you could call:

var usersMod = modMan.getMod('users');
client.say(channel, "You have the permission: " + usersMod.getPermission(nick));

The ModManager also emits events for when mods and commands are loaded/unloaded, so if your mod needs to modify all new commands as they load (maybe your mod's goal is to remove permission requirements from all comamnds?), listening for those events is extremely easy.

Since the use cases for accessing the ModManager are fairly rare, I'll refer to the very thorough in-code documentation in app/modmanager/ModManager.js to guide you to the different events and function calls.

Mod Metadata

Toady mods all assign module.exports to a function. However, some features can be impacted before the mod is fully loaded by assigning other properties to module.exports as well.

module.exports.configDefaults = {Object}

A mapping of config keys to their default value, which will be passed in the module's 'config' argument at load time unless a key or keys have been overridden through other means. See Config above for details.

module.exports.minToadyVersion = {String}

The minimum version of Toady with which this mod is compatible. Toady will refuse to load the mod if this value is greater than Toady's own version.


Learn faster from looking at code than reading docs? Nearly all of Toady's functionality happens in mods -- from the help commands, to finding and verifying user permissions, to even detecting and executing commands themselves. All of these core mods are very thoroughly documented in the app/coremods folder.

Distribute your mods on ribbit

To get your mods on ribbit, all you need to do is publish your mod to NPM under the following name:


So if your mod is named 'typofix', your mod's package.json should contain this line:

"name": "toady-typofix"

Don't have a package.json yet? Just type npm init in your mod's directory and follow the prompts, giving it the "toady-" prefixed name when it asks.

If you haven't already done it, run npm adduser to log in (or make an account) on NPM, and then run npm publish to give your mod to the world. It should show up in ribbit searches within a few minutes.

Toady has a lawyer

Toady is distributed under the BSD license. See the 'LICENSE.txt' file for the legalese. It's friendly and open, I promise.

Toady has a purpose in life

I wrote Toady in 2013 to help manage my dev team's IRC room. There are other bots, but this is the magical mix of features that few of the others had:

  • Written in Javascript, so practically anyone can extend it
  • Dead-simple command framework, so new commands are no more than a few lines of code away
  • Can develop on it and test mods without restarting (/msg Toady viewmod modcontrol)
  • Can restrict its commands by its own global permissions as well as channel and NickServ permissions on the IRC server itself
  • Since it's Node.js, making mods do crazy stuff like hosting websites to view channel logs right within Toady is as simple as npm install express

Obligatory Copyright

Toady is Copyright ©2013 Tom Frost.