Net::SILC perl module which emulates Net::IRC behaviour
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SILC::Client development README (18aug04 - updated 30nov07)

The ultimate goal is to build a Net::SILC module that's functionally
equivalent to Net::IRC.  This effectively amounts to building a perl layer
on top of the existing silc-toolkit's silcclient library.  

The main point for me is to allow mozbot to be readily ported to silc, but most
other perl bots and useful irc scripts should be trivial as well.

In a manner similar to the layout of the Net::IRC (set of) module(s), I've
broken this down into three pieces. 

First, a Net::SILC::Client module that simply replicates the existing
silcclient library's API and paradigm, and is not directly compatible with the
Net::IRC interface. This is the base layer, and consists of perl XS/C code,
which I'm a complete n00b at, and only ever barely stood on its feet. 

Second, a Net::SILC module that uses the Net::SILC::Client module to
translate between the silclient library modality and the Net::IRC paradigm
which perl hackers are used to. This module is the glue for the whole package,
and should ultimately provide all the same functionality that Net::IRC does,
plus a few niceties from the SILC world, to boot.

This is where most of the real work lies, because each kind of
event that the silc-toolkit can trigger needs to be implemented as a
Net::IRC-compatible Event object.

Third, a Net::SILC::Event module to represent events that get passed back to
global handlers. This is a relatively generic information-passing object, and I
pasted much of the initial code directly from Net::IRC::Event :)

Perl scripts can use this interface by telling the Net::SILC object that it
would like to listen for a specific event, and passes a coderef to be run
when that event happens.  Stealing a bit from the SYNOPSIS section of 'perldoc
Net::IRC', the use of this module will look like this:

    use Net::SILC;

    $silc = new Net::SILC;

    $conn = $silc->newconn(Nick    => 'some_nick',
                           Server  => '');


At this point, the Net::SILC::Client basically does all we'll need it to
do, for the time being.  As we expand it's functionality, more (C)
callbacks will need to be filled in (handling of more silc_notify and
silc_command_reply events, primarily)- making the existing
nearly obsolete.  Fortunately, much of this callback code can soon be
incorporated directly into Net::SILC, and a perl coder need never worry
about the ugly text-based protocol by which the silc-toolkit's callback
information (which is richly described in C types, when it's received by
Net::SILC::Client) gets transferred into perlspace callbacks (losing much
of the silc-specific info).

I've just made a first pass at stealing all the relevant pieces of code from
the Net::IRC modules, and made some initial strokes at adapting some routines
(newconn, for instance) to the Net::SILC::Client mode of thinking.  I've
also implemented a rudimentary, which shouldn't need to change
significantly, except insofar as it handles the names of events.  Finally,
i've added a bunch of routines to Net::SILC::Client to make it act more
like a Net::IRC::Connection object, notably the add_handler and
add_global_handler routines.  Most of these are currently unchanged from
net-irc, but fortunately that code is quite general, and shouldn't need
significant changes, really.

because silc events are significantly less prolific (and simply encode more
info directly in the callback args), this will be a finicky piece of work,
but i've done my best to work out a mapping of events that make sense,
based on the most frequently used of the irc events.  See below for more

Getting Started

NB: this stuff is woefully out of date, and one of the first TODO items on the
list must be to update everything to the latest version of the silc-toolkit

To get started, you'll need to setup an appropriate development environment,
which mostly means compiling and installing the silc-toolkit on yer

cd /usr/local/src
tar xvfj silc-toolkit-0.9.12.tar.bz2
cd silc-toolkit-0.9.12
./configure --enable-shared --enable-debug
(sudo) make install

it's likely that you're also wise to install some development/debugging perlmodules:

apt-get install libperl-dev perl-debug

this will allow you to use gdb to backtrace things when the code segfaults:

gdb debugperl core
(gdb) run


When it works properly, Net::Silc::Client will provide much of the needed
functionality for producing a Net::SILC module equivalent to Net::IRC's
interface.  The key difference will be in how callbacks are handled.  The
silc-toolkit silcclient library expects a set of callback routines to be passed
to it on startup, and uses static references to these routines to trigger all
the various kinds of events. 

The main part of Net::SILC's job, then, will be to wrap a Net::SILC::Client object,
provide default callback handlers to the Net::SILC::Client instance it wraps around,
and allow for new handlers to be added while the client is running and
connected to the server.  The way it will do this is to pass a set of
generic (perl) callbacks (a la to every new SILC::Client
object it creates, and then these callbacks will in turn be responsible for
producing new Net::SILC::Event objects, queueing them, and handling them.

Net::IRC does this using the add_handler and add_global_handler routines, which
pick out a given event (really, an arrayref of events), and pass a subroutine
reference to be called when that event happens.  I've stolen these routines
wholesale, so the module keeps a set of local and global
handlers, and it's constructor routine stores a copy of the Net::SILC
'parent' factory, so that it can queue events and have them handled by's do_one_loop routine.

The secondary piece of Net::SILC amounts to building a Net::SILC::Event
module to provide an abstraction layer between the silc 'callback triggers'
and the Net::IRC 'events' (which in turn correspond to the IRC protocol
definitions fairly directly- with silc, we dont have quite the same
rigorous definition of event names/numbers, but should be able to
approximate the important pieces without much trouble.. see bottom part of
TODO file for an attempt to start this mapping).  See description of
Net::SILC::Event module below for a list of 'silc events' we should provide
to Net::SILC users for barebones irc-like functioning..


Using Inline::C, i've put together a module that uses the core
functionality of the  silcclient library. splits the various pieces
of initializing and starting a SilcClient (and SilcClientConnection)
into logical units and defines them in a few short C routines included Inline.

These are: 

client_create()  -> called by the perl new() routine which constructs Silc::Client objects
get_key_pair()   -> called by the perl connect() routine to create/load the keypairs
client_connect() -> called by connect() and calls silc_client_connect_to_server() to initiate server connection
client_command() -> called by command() and calls silc_client_command_call() to send commands to server

thus, my can simply say:

	my $client = new Net::SILC::Client($user,$callbacks);

	my $server = "";
	$client->connect($server); # will cause the 'connected' callback to be triggered

and expect the silc_connected callback to be triggered when the client connects.
the user and callbacks hashes are defined thusly:

	my $user = { username => "example",
		     realname => "example user",
		     hostname => "",
		     keyfile => ""
		   }; # example.prv is assumed

	my $callbacks = { silc_say => \&say,
			  silc_channel_message => \&channel_message,
			  silc_private_message => \&private_message,
			  silc_notify => \&notify,
			  silc_command => \&command,
			  silc_command_reply => \&command_reply,
			  silc_connected => \&connected,
			  silc_disconnected => \&disconnected,
			  silc_get_auth_method => \&get_auth_method,
			  silc_verify_public_key => \&verify_public_key,
			  silc_ask_passphrase => \&ask_passphrase,
			  silc_failure => \&failure,
			  silc_key_agreement => \&key_agreement,
			  silc_ftp => \&ftp,
			  silc_detach => \&detach,

The perl callback routines then need to be called by their corresponding C
callbacks in the Inline section.  Much of this glue code is now
filled in, with a few key pieces missing that weren't required for
"barebones" functioning (notify, command, and command_reply callbacks,

Most of the silc_notify events are now being sent in a rudimentary way up
to the perl callback for notify.  this is basically a simple string-based
protocol to communicate the notify type and args to perl, and is intended
only as an internal implementation solution to transfer this info into
perl, after which Net::SILC itself will turn this info into the relevant
Net::SILC::Event objects, and pass them to any user-registered handlers..

At this point, the script can successfully connect to a
server, join a channel, change its nick, and send/receive messages,
and get notification of most of these events at the perl level.  I've also
added the (messy) code into silc_command_reply to send all info related to
(the most interesting of the) command events, once the server has run them
(error checking of these commands is as-yet unhandled)- as such, is now quite verbose about everything it can do, printing
messages about all the notify and command_reply events it sees..


Net::SILC::Events come in two main types, plus a few extra ones that are
handled specially (messages, connecting, etc).  the first are NOTIFY
events, which come from the silc_notify callback, and are generally things
happening on the silc network that the botclient didn't initiate.  the
second type are COMMAND_REPLY events, which are generated after the
botclient sends a command, and the server processes it.  (note we may need
to incorporate some COMMAND events, which get called after a command is
sent, but before it gets a reply from server.. but probly not for awhile).

based on my work this week, these are the SILC events i think we're gonna
need to provide (for starters, at least) to make mozbot play nice (first
column is event name, mainly stolen from net-irc; second column is name
used by SILC::Client, third column indicates if it's a notify event, a
command_reply event, or both):

invite		=> INVITE	(n+c)
join		=> JOIN		(n+c)
part		=> LEAVE	(n+c)
quit		=> SIGNOFF	(n)
topic		=> TOPIC	(n+c)
nick		=> NICK		(n+c)

motd		=> MOTD		(n+c)
kick		=> KICK		(n+c)
ban		=> BAN		(n+c)
kill		=> KILL 	(n+c)

list		=> LIST		(c)
users		=> USERS	(c)

quit		=> QUIT		(c)
oper		=> OPER		(c)
silcoper	=> SILCOPER 	(c)

privmsg 	=> private_message callback needs to generate these
chanmsg 	=> channel_message callback needs to generate these

connect		=> connected callback needs to generate these
disconnect	=> disconnected callback needs to generate these

whois		=> WHOIS	(c)

(not sure how useful these two are)
channelid?	=> CHANNELID 	(n) 
serversignoff	=> SERVERSIGNOFF(n)

# mode stuff is different in silc than irc- not sure how to avoid confusion
# here (ie. what kinda 'mode' does the standard net-irc 'mode' event refer
# to? is it like a silc 'cumode' or more like a silc 'umode')
mode		=> ??
cmode		=> CMODE
umode		=> UMODE
cumode		=> CUMODE


1. It should be noted that i ran into a major difficulty (described briefly
below), where the code would segfault when it received a callback
to it's silc_channel_message() function.  It turns out that the example
callback code for this function, which i stole from mybot.c has changed
slightly in newer versions of the api.  Thus, for future reference, the
silcclient.h header file which defines all these callback function
prototypes should be regarded as the authoritative source. 

(original description of the problem follows..)
	Using the gdb method described earlier, i've backtraced the offending line to
	the silc_channel_message callback which defines, and is exactly the
	one stolen from mybot.c.  Turns out the tutorial's mybot code fails in exactly
	the same way.  It segfaults in a fprintf call which tries to uses the
	nonexistent (because it wasn't passed properly, perhaps?) 'sender' parameter,
	which identifies the speaker of the message.

	#0  silc_channel_message (client=0x804b018, conn=0x804dbd0, sender=0x80504f0, channel=0x804f800,
	    payload=0x8052cf8, flags=0, message=0x100 <Address 0x100 out of bounds>, message_len=134556784)
	    at mybot.c:178

2. We noticed today that older gcc versions seem to cause weird errors on
some of the SilcClientOperations callbacks.  specifically:

23:49 <mATh> Preparing to replace gcc-3.3-base 1:3.3-0pre9 (using
             .../gcc-3.3-base_1%3a3.3.4-9_i386.deb) ...

doing that upgrade fixed these problems math encountered when trying to
install my code at home:

23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs: In function `silc_say':
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:548: parse error before `va'
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:549: `va' undeclared (first use in this function)
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs: In function `silc_notify':
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:673: parse error before `*'
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:676: `rv_self' undeclared (first use in this
23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:676: `stash' undeclared (first use in this function)23:37 <mATh> Client_912d.xs:679: `self' undeclared (first use in this function)
23:39 <mATh>      547   /* construct the message from the variable arglist */
23:39 <mATh>      548   va_list va;
23:39 <mATh>      549   va_start(va, msg);

Net-SILC version 0.03

The README is used to introduce the module and provide instructions on
how to install the module, any machine dependencies it may have (for
example C compilers and installed libraries) and any other information
that should be provided before the module is installed.

A README file is required for CPAN modules since CPAN extracts the
README file from a module distribution so that people browsing the
archive can use it get an idea of the modules uses. It is usually a
good idea to provide version information here so that people can
decide whether fixes for the module are worth downloading.


To install this module type the following:

   perl Makefile.PL
   make test
   make install


This module requires these other modules and libraries:

  blah blah blah


Put the correct copyright and licence information here.

Copyright (C) 2004 by Derek Laventure 

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.8.3 or,
at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.