Archive for August 2009

The making of an OSGI based IRC Bot

I've released the source code of JerkBot, an IRC bot based on Jerklib and OSGI. JerkBot source code is a multi-module maven project. It's not some OSGI/Java blueprints as I'm no OSGI expert, plus JerkBot is basically a 24 hours effort without bug fixes.

The library itself is distributed under BSD license, but the bot provides plugins such as SVN for example using SVNKit , which is subject to other licensing terms.

The bot uses Declarative Services for OSGI and Java technologies such as :

  • Apache Lucene for Javadoc Search
  • Quartz for job scheduling(session tracking, pending registrations, etc.)
  • Javamail to send emails for user registration
  • EclipseLink for persistence
  • A subset of JAAS for security
  • JMX for administrative commands (accessible through JConsole or through the bot jmx command)
  • The usual Jakarta libraries and couple of other libraries

I didn't provide scripting languages to the bot for security reasons, there's only JMX. I would prefer to offer scripting languages in a secure way with a custom SecurityManager to prevent drama from happening :-).
Let's say scripting is enabled, and someone accidently tries one or all the following instructions in a scripting language.

  • File("/somepath").delete()
  • System.exit(0)
  • Download("http://website/hugefile.iso").saveToDisk();

JerkBot was roughly a one day effort with 4 rewrites(1 full day each), and of course bug fixes time to time:
  • The first version was using traditional OSGI, well not so traditional :-), with BundleActivators service trackers and listeners, etc.
  • The second rewrite used Declarative Services with manually written XML descriptors
  • The third rewrite was based on Felix IPOJO. I would have preferred to use IPOJO, but found some annoyances(abstract based classes, JMX flexibility, etc.).
  • The last rewrite is using Felix SCR but with annotations to generate XML descriptors for components. Simplify code, remove unnecessary abstractions, consistent logic, etc.

I'll be providing the binary distribution soon. The binary distribution contains everything necessary to run the bot : OSGI configuration files, Bot configuration, jars, a user/developer guide, etc.

What the bot doesn't provide is a logging mechanism, for IRC channel logs. To do it right, I think it would be better to create a new project. In my opinion, when a bot logs channel it should have, if possible, the following features:

  • Configurable tasks to schedule flexible timed delivery of existing logs(local filesystem, ftp, samba share, ssh, http put, etc.)
  • Configurable log format(HTML, CSV, TXT) with optional generation of html logs or text logs.
  • Database storage or any other persistence mechanism(Apache Lucene Index vs flat text files, database logs, etc.)
  • Ability to stop/start logging for every channel
  • Optional Web front-end to publish logs(Could be a static HTML pages with Javascript search, JSF, Wicket, GWT, Rest interface + Apache Lucene or a DB for search).
Providing a quick and dirty plugin for channel logs would be trivial but not flexible :-). I started implementing it, but I decided to stop there.

The first draft of the bot manual can be found in the svn repository. Please bear with me for grammar and spelling mistakes, it was a written very quickly at early AM :-)

In JerkBot plugins are provided by OSGI bundles. I learned a lot from my previous experience with JPF when writing XPontus.

For now the bot is sitting on in the ##swing channel, running on an old laptop(FreeBSD-CURRENT).

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