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Err is a chatbot designed to be simple to extend with plugins written in Python.
Python CSS

Merge pull request #495 from jamesob/whoami_fix

Misc fixes: `!help multi word cmd` and slack markdown formatting
latest commit 745e91b05c
@gbin authored


Latest Version Downloads License Join the chat at


Err is a chatbot. It allows you to start scripts interactively from your chatrooms for any reason: random humour, chatops, starting a build, monitoring commits, triggering alerts...

It is written and easily extensible in Python.

Err is available as open source software and released under the GPL v3 license.


Chat servers support

  • Slack (built-in support)
  • Hipchat (built-in support)
  • Telegram (built-in support)
  • XMPP (built-in support)
  • IRC (built-in support)
  • Gitter (Follow the instructions from here to install it)
  • CampFire (Follow the instructions from here to install it)
  • TOX (Follow the instructions from here to install it)


After the initial installation and security setup, Err can be administered by just chatting to the bot.

  • install/uninstall/update/enable/disable private or public plugins hosted on git
  • plugins can be configured from chat
  • direct the bot to join/leave Multi User Chatrooms (MUC)
  • Security: ACL control feature (admin/user rights per command)
  • backup: an integrated command !backup creates a full export of persisted data.
  • logs: can be inspected from chat or streamed to Sentry

Developer features

  • Presetup storage for every plugin i.e. self['foo'] = 'bar' persists the value.
  • Webhook callbacks support
  • supports markdown extras formatting with tables, embedded images, links etc.
  • configuration helper to allow your plugin to be configured by chat
  • Graphical and text development/debug consoles
  • Self-documenting: your docstrings becomes help automatically
  • subcommands and various arg parsing options are available (re, command line type)
  • polling support: your can setup a plugin to periodically do something
  • end to end test backend

Community and support

If you have a question or want to share your latest plugin creation: feel free to join the chat on gitter. Err has also a google plus community. You can ping us on Twitter with the hashtag #errbot. But if you have a bug to report or wish to request a feature, please log them here.


Feel free to fork and propose changes on github


Err runs under Python 3.3+ and Python 2.7 on Linux, Windows and Mac. For some chatting systems you'll need a key or a login for your bot to access it.


If you can, we recommend to setup a virtualenv.

Err may be installed directly from PyPi using pip by issuing:

pip install err

Or if you wish to try out the latest, bleeding edge version:

pip install

Extra dependencies only installs the bare minimum dependencies needed to run Err. Depending on the backend you choose, additional requirements need to be installed.


After installing Err, you must create a data directory somewhere on your system where config and data may be stored. Find the installation directory of Err, then copy the file <install_directory>/errbot/ to your data directory as

(If you installed Err via pip, the installation directory will most likely be /usr/lib64/python<python_version_number>/site-packages/errbot)

Read the documentation within this file and edit the values as needed so the bot can connect to your chosen backend (XMPP, Hipchat, Slack ...) server.

Starting the daemon

The first time you start Err, it is recommended to run it in foreground mode. This can be done with:


In many cases, just typing errbot will be enough as it is generally added to the $PATH automatically. Please pass -h or --help to errbot to get a list of supported parameters. Depending on your situation, you may need to pass --config or --backend when starting Err.

If all that worked, you can now use the -d (or --daemon) parameter to run it in a detached mode:

<path_to_install_directory>/errbot/ --daemon

Hacking on Err's code directly

It's important to know that as of version 2.0, Err is written for Python 3. In order to run under Python 2.7 the code is run through 3to2 at install time. This means that while it is possible to run Err under Python 3.3+ directly from a source checkout, it is not possible to do so with Python 2.7. If you wish to develop or test with Err's code under 2.7, you must run:

python develop

Interacting with the Bot

After starting Err, you should add the bot to your buddy list if you haven't already. You can now send commands directly to the bot, or issue commands in a chatroom that the bot has also joined.

To get a list of all available commands, you can issue:

!help full

If you just wish to know more about a specific command you can issue:

!help command

Managing plugins

To get a list of public plugin repos you can issue:


To install a plugin from this list, issue:

!repos install <name of plugin>

You can always uninstall a plugin again with:

!repos uninstall <plugin>

You will probably want to update your plugins periodically. This can be done with:

!repos update all

Note: Please pay attention when you install a plugin, it may have additional dependencies. If the plugin contains a requirements.txt then Err wil automatically check them and warn you when you are missing dependencies.

Writing plugins

Writing your own plugins is extremely simple. As an example, this is all it takes to create a "Hello, world!" plugin for Err:

from errbot import BotPlugin, botcmd

 class Hello(BotPlugin):
     """Example 'Hello, world!' plugin for Err"""

     def hello(self, msg, args):
         """Return the phrase "Hello, world!" to you"""
         return "Hello, world!"

This plugin will create the command "!hello" which, when issued, returns "Hello, world!" to you. For more info on everything you can do with plugins, see the plugin development guide.

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