Building an IRC Bot with Cinch

Bot Tech

© Lead Image © Chris Modarelli,

© Lead Image © Chris Modarelli,

Article from Issue 160/2014

Chat rooms aren't just for people. We'll show you how to access an IRC channel using an automated bot.

IRC, the Internet Relay Chat has existed for 20 years, and it is still a popular communication channel in open source projects and businesses. For almost as long, automated bots have listened on IRC channels and responded to user commands. The article shows how IRC bots can make themselves useful by helping you manage tickets and prepare documentation.

Spoiled for Choice

To develop an IRC bot today, you no longer need to learn Tcl to activate the bot ancestor Eggdrop [1]. Frameworks for bots are available in virtually any language (Table 1). Although I focus here on Cinch [2], a framework written in Ruby under the MIT license (Figure 1), you can easily adapt the code examples presented in this article to other languages.

Cinch comes with an object-oriented API and a modular plugin system. Thanks to many unrelated plugins, a single bot can perform all kinds of tasks. To an IRC server, Cinch – as is typical of IRC bots – appears as a normal client. Therefore, it does not matter which system the bot runs on, whether on the same system as the IRC server or remotely on a developer machine. Nor does it matter which server software you use, as long as the server is a compliant implementation of IRC.


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