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Developing Services

Service Model

ZenIRCBot is a bit unique in how it works. A lot of IRC bots have plugins and you put the in the plugin directory, they get loaded when the bot starts. This model has worked pretty well in past for bots, the down side being you have to either have a really complex system to be able to dynamically load and unload plugins on the fly, or restart the bot in order to load new plugins. Also the plugins had to be written in the same language as the bot or one of the explicitly supported languages.

This bot on the other hand has no plugins, and adding or removing functionality has nothing to do with core bot itself. Not just that, but what you can do with the plugins is only limited by your imagination as they are their own processes.

When you start bot.js it connects to redis and subscribes to a pub/sub channel called 'out'. Any messages that come from IRC are published to 'in'. Then when you start a service, if it needs to know/process IRC messages it subscribes to the 'in' channel. If it wants to interact with the bot in some fashion, it publishes to the 'out' channel. Decoupling in this way allows for services to be written in any language, be running constantly or just as needed.

Writing Your Own

When writing your own service, the easiest way to do so is to place it in the services directory. This way you can use admin.js_ to start, restart, and stop your service. Also you get access to lib/api which currently has nodejs and python versions. The things in lib/api are mostly convenience functions. The details of what is in there will be discussed later.

First lets look at the low level protocol. Messages all have the same envelope:

    "version": 1,
    "type": "",
    "data": {

In messages

The possible in messages.

Out messages

The possible out messages.

API Library


The following API is depreciated, use the new API libraries instead.

These are the functions that can be found in the python and node.js api library.


If you port zenircbot-api to another language, please send a pull request with it, I'll gladly add it and maintain it to stay up to date with any protocol changes.