So, I’ve been having a very geeky IRC-filled Sunday. It started with my morning RSS reading where I saw Daring Fireball point out the port of Colloquy that appeared in the iTunes App store. And to answer DF: Yes, I remember IRC, I use it everyday. I could go into this whole things about how I’m still tight with people from college who are all over the place, but I think that goes without saying, its the whole damn point of the internet, DURH.
As with any iPhone app not made by Apple, when you leave it, it will shut down and that won’t be much good until the notification API is up and around, and even then, it’d need IRC servers to support doing the notification and keeping some sort of connection/client information. That’s right out as I don’t see any IRC servers really wanting to take on that additional tasks. Reading the Colloquy FAQ, it suggested that one use an IRC bouncer/proxy.
On and off I always have considered making a middle wear irc server to persist connections and so I could use multiple clients. However, I’ve never been motivated enough to really do something about it. In general, gnu screen and ircII/irssi have filled my needs. With the mobile Colloquy, I’ll want to be able to keep a persistent connections coming in and out of the app. So I get the happy circumstance of where I go “I’d like something like this” and the Internet provides and saves me a bunch of time and gives me a working solution. (The downside is a lot of cool coding I could have done, but probably never have gotten around to.)
After doing some quick web searching, I’ve decided to give ZNC a go as that middleware layer. It seems to do everything I want, including the ability to have multiple irc clients hook into the instances its running for me. It also works with any standard IRC client, which is a huge plus. I didn’t have to retrain myself at all. It doesn’t matter if I’m using irssi from Linux, Colloquy from my MacBook or iPhone, or xChat from wherever, its all the same irc instance with the same messages AT the same time. Each client hooks into ZNC which has already hooked into the servers and channels that I frequent. I can hook into ZNC over ssl from any standard IRC client and it just works. I can also see writing a module for ZNC that will take advantage of the iPhone notification API should it ever arrive.
About 6 hours in, and I’m loving it. IRC session ubiquity and I’m happy. I can pop it up on my phone and IRC on the go, or just use a local client on my mac instead of sshing back home and using irssi. I’ll probably still use irssi 99% of the time, but having options and being able to jump on from my phone will help. IRC, how like crack you are and how I can’t quit you. I did run into one problem with irssi and it not being able to do multiple connections to what it thinks is the same host, but I found a way around it after reading this.
Also, in rereading this post before I put it out on the web, I realize it doesn’t take much to amuse me these days.