IRC commands allow a server to send and process IRC messages. Since IRC is two-way, there are functions that can send messages, and events that are fired when a message is received. Before either can happen however, a connection to the server must be created.
To create a connection, you must know two things, the server url, and the username. (The username is up to you to pick.) Because joining a server is a blocking process, and can take a moment, creating a connection is multithreaded. However, the script itself does not block, but instead can call a function once it's done, which will allow for further actions if you must wait for a connection before you take action. Usually this can be ignored though, because the connect function takes much effort to use reasonable defaults if no callback is given, and usually if a connection isn't up, the messages you are sending can be discarded anyways. Also keep in mind that when the server restarts, the connection would also restart as well.
To connect, use the following code:
irc_connect('irc.esper.net', 'CommandBot', array('#CommandHelper'))
That's it! Since no callback was provided, and a channel list was given, the following defaults will happen: It will attempt to connect to irc.esper.net. Once joined, it will pick the name CommandBot. If the connection to the server could not be established, it will echo a message to the console, and try again in 10 seconds, in case the server is just unreachable temporarily, however, this likely means you are connecting to an invalid server. If the name is already taken, it will try CommandBot_, then CommandBot__, etc until it gets a name that isn't taken. It will occasionally try to change names back to CommandBot once it becomes available. Once it joins, it will join the channel #CommandHelper (and others if provided). Now that it has joined, you can send messages, and events will activate.
So, what if we want to change the default behavior? You can provide a callback function, and it will be called when either the connection fails or succeeds. (It will not try again automatically.) You may also optionally provide an array of channels to join if the connection is successful, and those will automatically be joined. The callback function accepts a few parameters: The server name, so that if needed, this callback can be linked to the appropriate request, the name attempted, a boolean which indicates if the join was successful, an error code (null if @success was true, a string otherwise) and an array of channels that were joined. Here is an example of a callback that might be used:
# Define our callback first proc(_irc_callback, @server, @username, @success, @error, @channels, if(@success, # We joined successfully, so lets greet all the channels we joined foreach(@channels, @channel, # Sending a message is discussed below irc_message(@username, @channel, 'Oh, hai!') ) , #else # The connection wasn't successful, lets try again if it was just because the username was taken if(equals(@error, 'USERNAME_TAKEN'), irc_connect(@server, concat(@username, '_'), @channels, _irc_callback) ) ) ) # Fire off the connect now irc_connect('irc.esper.net', 'CommandBot', array('#CommandHelper', '#MyServer'), _irc_callback)
This method more or less duplicates the behavior of the default behavior, which the exception of trying to change names continually if the initial name is taken. Now that we have connected, we are free to send messages without causing exceptions. In our success handler, we also could have done things like authenticate with the server.
There are a few functions for sending a message. All of them have a switch that can be set that will make them throw an exception, instead of simply ignoring the message if the connection is invalid (which can be caused by the connection not being up yet, even though it will eventually connect).
irc_message(@username, @channel, @msg, [@throw]) accepts the following parameters, @username, which is the name of the bot that is connected, which represents a valid connection, @channel, which is the channel we are sending to, @msg, which is the message to send. Optionally, you can also send a boolean, @throw, which defaults to false. If false, if you try to send to an invalid connection, nothing happens, the error is just ignored, but if true, the function will throw an exception, which can be caught in case you need to take alternate action if the message is not successfully sent.
irc_message_bypass works the exact same way, however it bypasses the messages queue and immediately sends a message to the channel. irc_message queues messages, so that if many messages are immediately queued, it will delay sending them, to avoid setting off spam filters.
irc_command(@username, @channel, @msg, [@throw]) works very similarly to irc_message, except it sends a command (which should start with a '/'). There is a difference between a command and a normal message, so this distinction allows greater flexibility in what you send to the channel.
A quick note on connection identifiers: It is possible to have multiple connections up to different servers. Since usernames are unique across individual servers, the username is typically enough to differentiate between connections. However, if you have multiple connections to different servers with the same username, you must use the full identifier for the connection, which is the format username@url[:repeater] (example: CommandBot@irc.esper.net:_). It is acceptable to always use the full identifier, even if the username alone would be enough to identify the connection. The url is the url of the server, and the username is the username that was selected. The optional repeater part is for in case there is no connection matching username@url, it will check for a connection that otherwise matches, but has any number of repeaters on the end. By default, it is empty, and won't match any connection if an alternate was selected automatically. (Keep in mind that the default repeater is '_').