Net::Jabber::Bot Project

We discussed in the November 2007 meeting Todd doing a presentation of Net::Jabber::Bot. We also considered the possibility of maintaining the module as a group. The following is a summary of the project from Todd.

Existing perl Jabber bots in the field

Jpb seemed like a good candidate to me originally so I wouldn't have to write my own. The problem as I got into it was that the code badly mixed with the config so that I would have to alter the modules any time I wanted to change something. I decided to write my own.

Net::Jabber::Bot Synopsis

The module heavily leverages Net::Jabber, which is really just a thin shell on top of Net::XMPP. I have developed this module over the last few months to allow me to separate out the things one wants to do with a bot from the things that can get you in a lot of trouble with a bot. The assumption I started with is that most people simply want to create a bot that can do something every once and while and that is able to react when new messages it cares about are sent. This is what the module aims to do.

Needed code enhancements to the module.

  1. Needs to be able to react to version requests. This requires being able to generate customized messages. This trick is documented between Net::XMPP and Net::Jabber, but I lack the object-oriented experience to implement it.
  2. Needs to be able to tell what messages are just history messages. Currently the bot does this by ignoring everyone for a period on startup. I consider this to be a hack at the moment that sometimes fails if the server is slow.
  3. Make test is a mess. Almost all of the tests require a jabber server to be present. This is making the modules tests to look very red on the automated CPAN testers site. Robert and Wade told me I should be programming to the interface. This sounds like a grand plan but I have no idea what it means :)
  4. Some of my design decisions could use a closer look as to some of the values being hard coded, etc. Originally I envisioned a Net::Jabber::Bot being inherited from Net::Jabber::Bot::Safety, but I decided to just merge the 2 ideas. I'd love to explore if the choice I made was a good one.
  5. Currently the module is initialized and connections are made via a new being fed a hash from hell. It feels like a kludgy approach to me at the moment.
  6. The re-connect algorithm seems to have issues
  7. While it's perfectly safe to connect to a jabber server with the same username, it's very dangerous to the server to connect with the same user/resource. Unfortunately I haven't figured out a way to detect that I'm doing this. As a result I've been "chastised" by server admins for not noticing that I hadn't killed the old bot when I started the new one up.
  8. Ability to add/leave forums at times other than startup. Probably a good candidate for removal from new. I don't know what to look for to detect if the join succeeded. Right now I'm just assuming the room joins succeed.

Documentation need

  1. POD documentation is a little loose on the existing subs. I'm not documenting the private ones at all except for a few comments in the file. Not sure what the etiquette is on this. I really don't think they should be showing up on CPAN and if I pod them, they will.
  2. Need code examples on how to leverage the bot. This is pretty easy to provide, but I haven't reverse engineered someone else's CPAN to figure out how they do this to make it look right in CPAN.

Hosted Project

The perl-net-jabber-bot project is currently hosted on the Google Code site.