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Why IRC Hacks?

The term hacking has a bad reputation in the press. They use it to refer to someone who breaks into systems or wreaks havoc with computers as their weapon. Among people who write code, though, the term hack refers to a "quick-and-dirty" solution to a problem, or a clever way to get something done. And the term hacker is taken very much as a compliment, referring to someone as being creative, having the technical chops to get things done. The Hacks series is an attempt to reclaim the word, document the good ways people are hacking, and pass the hacker ethic of creative participation on to the uninitiated. Seeing how others approach systems and problems is often the quickest way to learn about a new technology.

While IRC is easy to get into, it is evident that there is a demand for better understanding. Many people are happy to use it without being aware of what's happening beneath the scenes, but others hunger for more knowledge, and this book is for them. IRC is more than just a simple chat system—it is a network of intercommunicating servers, allowing thousands of clients to connect from anywhere in the world using the IRC protocol.

Some hacks in this book are designed to demonstrate the IRC protocol and how to exploit it—not in bad ways, but in ways that facilitate better use of IRC. Not only will you be shown how to enhance several of the most popular IRC clients, but you can also experiment with scripting some autonomous IRC clients, or IRC bots. It is quite exciting to see your very own IRC bot, crafted by your own fine hands, connecting to a server and joining a channel for the first time. Many of the hacks then show you how to add extra features to create useful or fun IRC bots.

Each hack has been created to save you time and show you how to perform new tricks on IRC without having to look up the information. This collection of hacks should appeal to people who are just about to experience IRC for the first time, as well as those who consider themselves to be more seasoned users. IRC Hacks provides hands-on solutions to problems faced, and solved, by people who use IRC on a daily basis.

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