Writing IRC bots with Perl's BasicBot

Chat Bot

Article from Issue 239/2020
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Writing an IRC chat bot does not have to be difficult. We'll show you how to create your own custom IRC bot using the Perl BasicBot module.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a popular protocol for sustaining group conversations online. The user connects to an IRC server, which is usually part of an IRC network, and joins chat rooms, known as channels, in IRC terminology. Channels are carried by every server that is part of the same IRC network, so users all across the network can join the same channels and talk to each other in real time.

An IRC bot is a program that connects to a chat service as if it were a user and performs automated tasks. Bots are used for running games, conveying messages across different networks, managing user authentication, and much more.

Building a custom bot might seem like a high-end task limited to an enterprise web portal or other commercial service, but in fact, homegrown bots serve a number of roles on smaller networks and are often deployed by local organizations and community groups. For instance, the #bitcoin-otc channel in the Freenode IRC network makes use of a bot for maintaining the reputation score of the buyers and sellers that trade in the chat. On the other hand, the I2P project keeps a bot that passes messages from users in Freenode to users in Irc2p, the official I2P IRC network.

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