Subway: A Persistent IRC Web Client

DJ Petersen make a return visit to LUG to talk about his persistent IRC web client, Subway. DJ is a former OSU student who interned at Cloudkick last summer and is currently working as web developer in Eugene.

Subway was inspired when DJ saw MostAwesomeDude attempting to explain IRC and screen to a non-technical person over at the OSL. Though the idea that many of us run irssi/weechat on a server on a forked process so that we can come back and view messages and conversations while we were gone didn't quite sift through. IRC is like email or a social network to most of us, and it would be nice to bring people into that network who aren't as technical.

A currently existing persistent IRC web client is grove.io which requires payment, although it is open source. DJ wanted to extend the capbility of current balancers such as screen, but that wasn't appropriate for multiple clients. Paul Irish, a well-known front-end developer on the Google Chrome Developer Relations and JQuery teams, had publicly said he wanted to improve design over the current popular web IRC client, webchat so people spun up qwebirc. Paul Irish even came into one of our IRC channels to give a shoutout to DJ and Subway.

Though DJ wanted a persistent IRC web client. He collaborated with Aaron Kavlie, a developer who had written IRC client libraries in Node, to help develop Subway. As of writing, it is nearly finished. Subway has many useful features after persistence such embedded and collapsible images and Youtube videos, notification sounds, user accounts, and not forgetting about the slick UI.

Subway contains:

- NodeJS, a server-side Javascript library.
- MongoDB, a NoSQL database system
- node-irc, an IRC library that handles connections, passes messages, and
  handles events
- socket.io, a NodeJS framework for WebSockets which makes it easier to
  transport data between the backend and client
- backbone.js, a Javascript MVC framework that structures Javascript
  applications used for UI management.

Check out Subway as well as its code because it is a very slick project built on very modern (and for some, hated) web technologies.