The direction and future of ZenIRCBot

Back in August 2011, I started ZenIRCBot both as a learning experience in Node.js and to fill a need which was a IRC bot for personal use as well as for use at Aquameta. Since then a few of my friends have picked up using it to have their own IRC bots that they can easily write services for.

In other people using it, I got some valuable feedback like using executable config files while sometimes really handy, makes it harder to write services that build on each other in different languages. To this end I plan on changing out the executable config files with pure JSON ones. JSON is already required to communicate via the protocol so this makes sense to me.

Another thing that is spawning from others using the IRC bot is I need to start being strict about my versioning. I’ll likely go with Semantic Versioning as it is basically what I’d already do but has more formal specification. The config files will be treated as part of the public API, as well as the protocol. This means when I change the configs to be JSON I’ll also be bumping the version number to 2.0.0.

Other things that will be coming out in the near future are docs for every service, another pass over existing documentation, additional services, a way for services to register themselves, and a new mechanism for running the bot. These things and more are all in the issues on GitHub. If you have any input for additional services that would be useful please feel free to open a ticket, or if you feel so inclined, write it and send a pull request.

This project has been the most interesting IRC bot I’ve ever written. All in all I think this project is going well and I am looking forward to it evolving over the coming months as it get more adoption, better docs, and cleaner code and APIs.

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