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IRC Library

This library is intended to be the building blocks for IRC utilities requiring little or no dependencies. It is developed as a personal project to learn the IRC protocol as well as JavaScript library development.



Version 0.1.5 released October 31st, 2017. See release notes for details.

Pull Requests are welcome, as well as discussions using Issues.


Only the Client API is only functional.

  • Connect/Disconnect to server
  • Register User
  • Alternate nick registration when preferred is taken
  • Join/Part Channels
  • Send/Receive messages (PRIVMSG on channels or pm)
  • Auto-PONG when PING is received from server
  • Pipe stream data over PRIVMSG to target. Currently requires stream to be text and \r\n delimited, and does not limit the PRIVMSG length.
  • Outbound throttling, to avoid spamming, defaults to 4 outbound/sec

Connecting via SSL had been working, but an update to node-js has currently broken this functionality, as it would require accepting self-signed certificates from user. Have looked into workarounds but need to research SSL certificate management for IRC nodes.


  • Promise-ish - Some manner of promises would be useful not only for basic async i/o handling, but at the IRC message level of request/response.
  • Consistent and Simplified API - Have been working on this some with project layout and API naming and such, once the project expands this will be easier to identify and document. ex: Outbound requests must always be directed at a Target which is currently all managed through convenience methods.
  • Additional IRC Support - Proper state tracking of IRC specifics, such as modes, targets in a channel, etc. Also any extended info from IRC RFCs.
  • JSDoc Documentation/Comments - Would like to supply some form of publishable documentation that is inlined in the code, for API exposure.
  • CTCP - XDCC, etc.
  • IRC Server API - Large project not in the near future.



In your project directory, install spirc

$ npm install spirc

Then in your project source, require the spirc library.

var ircclient = require('spirc').Client;

Versions will be marked as release on GitHub, then published to npm.


If you prefer to not use npm, you can use spirc by cloning the repository.

$ git clone

Then in your project, to require the library you should use a relative path to main.js. See examples/example1.js for reference.

var irclient = require('../lib/main.js').Client;

If you are using spirc for a project in this manner, using git submodules is recommended.



  • After connecting successfully to a server, a register event is emitted on the client, which is the appropriate time to auto-join channels.
  • Messages received are Inbound objects.
  • Messages sent are Outbound objects.
  • Messages are emitted from Targets, which can either be Hosts, Channels, or Users.
  • IRC Message events emitted from targets are directly named from the message command, but are prefixed with ':' character in order to differentiate from other events emitted from the target. Examples are ':PRIVMSG' or ':433'.


The Client object contains a method send for sending an Outbound request, which is used by all the convenience methods.

var req = require('spirc').Requests;
client.send(new req.Names('#channel'));

The Client object is what is used to manage a connection to a single server, emitting connection-related events.

  • send - sends an Outbound message, or more accurately queues an outbound message.
  • connect - connects to the server specified in the options set on client - a connected event is emitted once this has completed.
  • disconnect - disconnect from server, sending PARTs to all known channels, followed by a QUIT to the server - the socket is then closed and a disconnected event is emitted.
  • registered event - fired when it's been determined that the client's user credentials were successfully registered - by default the client will attempt to register with the provided user credentials after a connection has been made.
  • error event - fired when a connection error occurs or if an IRC inbound message indicates an error.

The Client object also provides methods for registering listeners for when any inbound event is received, regardless of target. These events are fired before the specified target has its events fired.

  • onInboundEvent - receives inbounds for a specific event
  • onceInboundEvent - receives inbounds for a specific event, but is only fired once

The client's socket reading, as well as the target's pipe method use TokenReader object. This is a simple object that emits token events with data based on a given delimiter. The default delimiter is the newline character.


Target defines several convenience methods

  • say - sends a PRIVMSG command to the target.
  • onSaid - register a listener for PRIVMSG messages directed at this target.
  • onInbound - register a listener for all inbound messages directed at this target.
  • pipe - pipe data from a stream to the target via PRIVMSG commands.
  • IRC Message Events - targets will emit events for IRC messages directed at them. These events will contain the inbound message as the only parameter. The event name is the IRC command prefixed by a colon - ex: .on(':PRIVMSG', cb)

Channel is a Target and also contains these convenience methods

  • join - join the channel
  • part - leave the channel, can provide leaving message.

Host is a Target and also contains these convenience methods

  • quit - disconnect from the irc server, can provide leaving message.
  • onPing - convenience for registering a listener whena PING message is received


When an inbound message is received these events are fired:

  • If the inbound message could not properly be parsed as an IRC message, an error event is fired.
  • The _allTargets emits an inbound event with the inbound message.
  • The target the message is directed to emits an inbound event with the inbound message.
  • The _allTargets emits an event named after the parsed command, with the inbound message.
  • The target the message is directed to emits an event named after the parsed command, with the inbound message.

When an outbound message is sent, the client emits an outbound event with the outbound message.


Simple example of a bot that connects to a server, joins a channel, then echoes all messages received from the channel or PM back to the channel.

var Client = require('spirc').Client;
var client = new Client({
    nick: 'spircbot',
    altnicks: ['spircbot_'],
    server: ''

var chan = client.getTarget('#spirc');
var user = client.user;

// this method is added as a listener to targets,
// and will be invoked with a Response when PRIVMSG events are emitted
function respond(response) {
    // the sender name and message are located in the response object, which
    // may differ depending on the response type, since it's PM, these are always the case
    // get a target object from client keyed on the sender's name
    var sayer = client.getTarget(;
    var message = response.trailing;

    // echo back to the channel
    chan.say('I just received a message from: ' +;

// graceful shutdown on ctrl+c
process.on('SIGINT', function onInterrupt() {
    client.disconnect('time to go');

// after conecting + registering user with server, join a channel
client.on('registered', function onClientRegistered() {

// register the respond callback

// start connection to server

Client Options

Client constructor parses the object parameter as a ClientOpts, and can specify:

	// traditional setup
	"server": '',
	"port": 6667,
	"nick": null,
	"pass": null,
	"altnicks": [],

	// additional details 
	"username": 'username',
	"hostname": '',
	"servername": '',
	"realname": 'realname',

	// use SSL connection
	"secure": false,

	// some additional options
	"autoPong": true,				// most servers will kick if PINGs are not replied to
	"autoAltNick": true,			// automatically loop through registering the nicks under the 'altnicks' option
	"autoRegister": true,			// auto-register the user after client connects to server
	"sendsPerSec": 4				// throttling commands sent per sec
	"log": new Log(process.stdout),	// log for output, this will like be removed altogether