IRC Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/8/6
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IRC (Internet Relay Chat) may very well turn out to be the world's most successful hack. In 1988, Jarkko Oikarinen wrote the original IRC program at the University of Oulu, Finland. As he says in his foreword, "IRC started as one summer trainee's programming exercise. A hack grew into a software development project that hundreds of people participated in, and then became a worldwide environment where tens of thousands of people now spend time with each other. I have found many of my friends through IRC and learnt a significant part of my present software engineering knowledge while using and working with IRC. That would not have been possible without learning from code examples and hacks from others".IRC has continued to grow in popularity since its inception. Millions of people from all over the world now use IRC to chat with friends, discuss projects and collaborate on research. With a simple, clearly defined protocol, IRC has become one of the most accessible chat environments, with clients written for a multitude of operating systems. And IRC is more than just a simple chat system it is a network of intercommunicating servers, allowing thousands of clients to connect from anywhere in the world using the IRC protocol.While IRC is easy to get into and many people are happy to use it without being aware of what's happening under the hood, there are those who hunger for more knowledge, and this book is for them. IRC Hacks is a collection of tips and tools that cover just about everything needed to become a true IRC master, featuring contributions from some of the most renowned IRC hackers, many of whom collaborated on IRC, grouping together to form the channel #irchacks on the freenode IRC network (irc.freenode.net).Like all of our Hacks books, there are many different ways to use IRC Hacks. You can read the book from cover to cover, but you might be better served by picking an interesting item from the table of contents and just diving in.If you're relatively new to IRC, you should considering starting with a few hacks from each progressive chapter. Chapter 1 starts you off by showing you how to connect to IRC, while Chapter 2 acquaints you with the everyday concepts you'll need to use IRC effectively. Chapter 3 is all about users and channels, and introduces the first pieces of code. Chapter 4 shows you how to make useful enhancements to IRC clients.Chapter 5 is where you will learn the basics about creating IRC bots, with Chapters 6-12 introducing more complex bots that can be used for logging, servicing communities, searching, announcing, networking, managing channels or simply for having fun. Chapter 13 delves into the IRC protocol in more detail, and Chapter 14 demonstrates some interesting alternative methods for connecting to IRC. Finally, Chapter 15 will move you on to new pastures by showing you how to set up your own IRC server.This book presents an opportunity to learn how IRC works and how to make best use of some of the features that have made it the most successful, most scalable, and most mature chat system on this planet. IRC Hacks delves deep into the possibilities.
Paul Mutton is a PhD student at the University of Kent in the UK, frantically trying to finish off his thesis at the same time as writing this book. He previously graduated with first class honors in Computer Science, winning the IEE Institution Prize for being the best overall student in his department. He uses IRC to collaborate with researchers in other countries and to talk to people in his office when they have their headphones on. In his remaining spare time, he uses his Sun Certified Java Programmer skills to develop all sorts of open source software on his personal web site (http://www.jibble.org). Some of his research has culminated in the creation of the popular PieSpy application (http://www.jibble.org/piespy/), which infers and visualizes social networks on IRC, and even appeared on slashdot once. He can normally be found jibbling around in #jibble and #irchacks on the freenode IRC network with the nickname Jibbler, or Paul on smaller networks.
Since I am not interested in bot development, 'IRC Hacks' wasn't as useful to me as I had hoped. I enjoyed on chapters discussing the IRC protocol (ch. 13) and setting up an IRC server (ch. 15). Hacks about NickServ (#8) and ChanServ (#9) were interesting, and I may try the CtrlProxy hack (#93) to facilitate remote IRC access.
'IRC Hacks' is fairly well written, although the editor should have ensured that terms were explained when first mentioned. For example, CTCP appears on pages 10 and 48, with no expansion of the acronym or reference to hack #85 (which explains CTCP). This is often a problem with books by teams of contributors. I would have enjoyed more coverage of 'operational issues,' like problems associated with running an IRC server. IRC networks have been targets of denial of service attacks and other adversarial activity for years, and the means by which IRC operators defend themselves would make good reading.
If you need a book focused on bot development, give 'IRC Hacks' a try. If you're more interested in IRC as a user, or even as an operator, ask Alex Charalabidis to write a second edition of 'The Book of IRC.'
Numerous of his hacks revolve around managing an IRC channel. Problems of success, really. As IRC usage soared, what were once small communities of shared interests and values now often have to contend with others with different values. Channel operators may want to check out what Mutton offers.
Perhaps the most intriguing hack concerns finding social networks from many channels. Neat possibilities. Social networks are quite hot these days, though no one has yet found a viable business model centred on them.
Many who are new to IRC may feel the same way, and often those accustomed to the medium are less than accomodating of newbies. Fortunately O'Reilly's IRC Hacks comes to the rescue. O'Reilly uses the term "hacks" here in the positive sense of a clever way to use a particular technology, or an elegant way to solve a certain problem.
The first couple of chapters constitute an introduction to IRC. Various IRC clients for Windows, Linux, and Max OS X are covered, along with ways to enhance these clients. That might be enough for many users of IRC, but to be true to its title, the book proceeds to describe several frameworks you can use to write your own IRC bots in Java, Perl, and Python. No less than 7 chapters follow outlining a wide variety of different bots that can be used to enhance your IRC experience.
The remaining chapters give an in-depth look at the IRC protocol, describe ways in which you can connect to IRC via "other" means (such as from a mobile phone), and also provide coverage on setting up your own IRC server.
Overall IRC Hacks is very informational, and a good introduction to IRC. Perhaps one of its greatest strengths is the large number of "starting points" it provides to allow you to do just about anything with IRC. One complaint I have about the book is that in the chapters offering samples of bots you can write, the vast majority of them are written in Java. I would like to have seen more Perl in the mix. It's there to some extent in the beginning chapters, but Java examples dominate the latter part of the book.
This particular book is interesting in that it is suitable for both the beginning and sophisticated user. It starts with getting an IRC client, using it, modifying it - in general getting the most out of it. Then it goes on to writing IRC bots using Perl, Java and Python along with canned libraries that simplify the writing of autonomous agents.