Irssi and the Summer of Code

Posted by christel on April 20th 2006

This year, the Irssi project is participating in Google’s Summer of Code, which provides funding for students to work on open source projects over the summer. This page aims to provide some information for students interested in taking part and working on Irssi. It contains some project ideas to use as a basis for your proposal, information on the mentors with whom you will be working, and some tips on structuring your proposal.

Some Proposal Ideas

Console `GUI’

Add more gui-like abilities to the console irssi client. Add menus and/or dialogs to ease configuration, especially:

  • Managing networks and server lists, as well as ignore/hilight/notify settings.
  • Managing the banlists in channels.
  • Other important irssi settings – nick/user/realname preferences, themes, etc.

Other ideas would be full xterm mouse support, as well as an interface for perl scripts to add menus, or actions to existing menus, as well as creating their own configuration windows.

Create a new GUI.

Write a complete GUI for irssi (using the common-ui layer, rather than just the core/protocol handling, so that the existing irssi commands will still function). An old, abandoned interface can be found in the `xirssi’ directory in subversion for inspiration. This client should have graphical interfaces to all the basic actions and configuration settings without needing the user to use /commands.

Script bindings for Ruby, PHP, Python, and/or other languages.

Irssi already has extensive bindings for Perl scripts. This project would add bindings for other languages, including Ruby, PHP and/or Python, which would allow scripts written in those languages most of the capabilities currently afforded to Perl scripts. At the minimum, the ability to access information about windows, window items, and nicks, to bind signals, add commands, statusbar items, and settings, and to manage redirections, timeouts, and formats would be required.

Bug-hunt project

Despite the success of Irssi, many minor bugs have been reported, and it’s time to fix them. We would like to close as many bugs as possible during the Summer of Code. Most of the bugs require a lot of research and input from the user community, so if you like R&D; and interacting with users, this project could be for you.

Update existing script archive

Irssi has a great collection of scripts which enhance the functionality of the client. However, some of these scripts are outdated and use different `styles’. The Irssi-Script project would update the entire script archive to conform to the new guidelines, combine scripts where it is desirable, and make sure that scripts use uniform settings, to make sure that every user can use the features they provide without undue hassle.

Web site improvements

The Irssi website is currently undergoing a redesign and revamp, and could benefit from some attention. Possible improvements would include:

  • Using some form of `miniature CMS’ to manage the site content. Port the existing wiki, bug tracker, and shop into this framework.
  • Allow users to create accounts and log in, in order to comment on news items (possibly with staff approval for comments).
  • Add multiple language support, so that users can easily choose in which language they want to view the site.
  • Allow staff to submit and preview news via the site. Export news via an RSS feed.
  • Improve the script repository. Link scripts to user accounts, and give users an overview of their scripts, as well as the ability to submit new ones via the web interface, and manage their existing ones. Allow ratings and comments for scripts. Display information and documentation for each script, as submitted by its author. Allow staff to review new script submissions and approve/decline them.
  • Allow users to create a user profile, with links to their scripts in the script repository, their themes, homepage, etc. Possibly allow users to register an FTP account, and some limited amount of webspace on
  • Allow staff to manage users and privileges from within the website, as well as email and DNS settings.
  • Integrate the mailing list management with the website, to allow subscribe and unsubscribe operations from the website.


If you have a project idea not mentioned above, or would like to discuss one of the above projects before applying for it, please feel free to contact us or get in touch with one of the mentors directly as listed below.

  • Christel Dahlskjær
  • Geert Hauwaerts
  • Wouter Coekaerts

Proposal Guidelines

Students must write their proposal and submit it to Google before the application deadline. The following is a suggested outline for your proposal, adapted from the Perl foundation Open Source Proposal HOWTO, and the FreeBSD summer of code page:

  • Name
  • E-mail address
  • Project Title
  • Benefits to the Irssi community – A good project should be useful to others as well as to the student working on it.
  • Deliverables – List here what concrete improvements you expect to achieve.
  • Project Schedule – How long will it take to see the improvements promised? When can you begin, and when finish?
  • Bio – Explain who you are, and why you are the best candidate to implement the project in question.