Internet Relay Chat: an intro to Miranda IM (Windows) and Colloquy (Mac OS X)

Walt Esquivel's picture

In addition to Skype and WebHuddle, the Drupal Dojo used Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for the first lesson on Thursday, January 4, 2007. IRC is a useful tool for Drupal developers and users to quickly resolve issues, collaborate and work on Drupal modules and themes, and, among other uses, consult with fellow Drupal consultants.

There have been many questions in the Dojo regarding how to get started with IRC, and it is presumed that the Dojo will continue relying on IRC for future lessons. Although it appears an improved screen-sharing application will be used for future Dojo lessons, having a stand-alone IRC program and knowing how to use it will be helpful in order to access the various Drupal channels should you need them in the future.

With that in mind, the following article is provided with the hope that it will be helpful and have you up and running with IRC in as little time as possible. It is a simple guide and is based on installing Miranda IM, which is designed to run on a Windows machine and will allow you to tie in IRC, Yahoo IM, AIM, MSN, Jabber, etc. For an IRC that will work with Mac OS X machines, please read this comment on Colloquy.

Please read on for more info and post your Miranda/Colloquy-related questions here if you need help. Hopefully someone will respond and be able to help you.

To begin using IRC, you should first download an IRC client. See this list of IRC clients for various platforms and this Comparison of IRC clients, both of which are very helpful. For simplicity, I chose Miranda IM, and there are several External Links that will take you directly to Miranda's web site.

After you've downloaded and installed Miranda, on a Windows machine you should see the Miranda logo (a man in a green outfit) in your system tray (bottom right, next to the clock). To get set up on IRC, right-click on the Miranda logo, go to "Main Menu", and then click "Options". In the left-most column, click on Network and then on IRC so that the "Account" tab (among a few other tabs) shows up on the right side. Next, select "FreeNode Random Server" from the "Server name" drop-down menu under the "Account" tab and Miranda should automatically select "irc.freenode.net" for you and insert it into the "Internet address" box for you. Next, type in a name you'd like to use into the "Nick" box (this is the name people will see you as) as well as your name in the "Full name (e-mail)" box (I used my nick for both). For "User ID (Ident)", I used "Miranda". I left "Alternative nick" blank. Go ahead and click "Apply" and then "OK" to close the "Options" dialog box.

Drupal uses the FreeNode IRC network, irc.freenode.net, as follows:
- #drupal-dojo for the Drupal Dojo group (this is the one you'll need initially)
- #drupal-support for support
- #drupal-themes for theme development
- for other Drupal IRC channels, you can search IRC by entering "drupal" in the search box; you'll be provided various names of channels having something to do with Drupal and you'll then simply pick the one you want to join.

To actually join a chat, right-click on the Miranda logo in your system tray and then click "Hide/Show". The Miranda app should pop up on your screen. Click on the logo (to the left of "Status"), go down to IRC, and click on "Join a channel". Underneath where it says "Join channel", type in #drupal-dojo or #drupal-support or whichever channel it is you're trying to join and then click "OK". This should immediately take you into the chat room and indicate to you the nicknames of users in the chat room via a column on the right hand side.

The channels are a great way for you to learn and, likewise, to give back to the community by allowing you to help answer other folks' questions once you're familiar enough with Drupal to do so. Enjoy and have fun!

Helpful links and references:
Hers are some helpful links:
- Freenode's FAQ
- More general IRC FAQ
- The IRC Prelude - great overview as well as detailed info
- The freenode Network - info on how to access the freenode IRC servers
- Top Ten Tricks and Tips for New IRC Users, as discussed on oreilly.net
- What IRC client do you use?, as discussed on forevergeek.com

Comments

irc.freenode.net does not even exist anymore

999csharp's picture

Hi
I'm completely new to IRC and also new to Drupal.org. I followed the video link to get started with IRC which said to connect to irc.freenode.net to net to register a node account. This web-site does not exist anymore from what can see. I found this webside http://freenode.net/ but under Group Registration its says :-
freenode group registration is currently suspended, as the group registration process became significantly backlogged to the point that it was not viable to continue taking new registrations. This is an unfortunate side-effect............

Please can you update this web-page with up to date informaton and also advise if IRC is still worth registering for.

Kind Regards
Matthew