Bot Rules

A while back I posted a job ad seeking an "Inexperienced Drupal Developer." The idea was I could help people get some more experience with Drupal, give some advice and money, and in exchange get some projects done that I'd otherwise never get around to doing.

One person who signed up, Drave Robber, completed one of my vague ideas with a very full implementation: the new Bot Rules module. As the description says:

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This module provides events, conditions and actions to integrate an IRC bot with Rules.

If you're not already familiar with IRC, bots, or Rules, that probably doesn't make it clear how cool this is. IRC is, in short, a bunch of chat rooms. Drupal's Bot module allows you to run an automated IRC user from any Drupal site. Bot can do things like log a chat room, remember factoids, and track when each user was last seen. And Bot has an extensive API that allows developers to create additional functionality.

When thinking about some things I wanted to enable Bot to do, I realized that they're mostly actions or events that are already exposed to the Rules module. So Bot Rules connects Bot and Rules, allowing you to mix most everything Bot can do with everything Rules can do.

For example, at Aten we have a blog and an IRC channel. When people leave comments on our blog, we get email notifications via Rules. With Bot Rules, we also get IRC notifications. These arrive much faster than email, meaning we can approve comments or delete spam faster. Beyond speed, IRC also makes these notifications part of our group discussion, so we can talk about the great comments and make jokes about the terrible spam. The Bot Rules workflow can also go the other way, from IRC to Drupal. With the right rules, we could approve comments or even write blog posts in IRC.

So many Drupal modules have Rules integration that the possibilities for IRC integration are now wide open. If you're already spending time in IRC, you should try out Bot Rules to interact with your Drupal sites via IRC. And if you come up with interesting new uses, please share. Leave a comment, our IRC bot will let us know.

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