1. Architecture of a module

To create a new module for pipobot you have to write some python classes which are subclasses of pre-defined type of modules. See below for the description of all different modules. A classic structure of a module (here date) is :


cmd_date.py will contain the CmdDate class defining the command. __init__.py will just have to contain ‘from cmd_date import CmdDate’ so importing modules.date will result to the import of the command class. You can add as many cmd_[name].py as your module requires commands. You just have to import them all in __init__.py.

1.1. Types of modules

There are several classes of modules, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

1.1.1. SyncModule

A SyncModule is a module that can be called explicitly by a user (Sync stands for Synchronous). It can be used in a room like this :

<user> !date
<bot> Today is `insert the date of the day here !`

For more details, see SyncModule.

1.1.2. MultiSyncModule

A MultiSyncModule is very similar to a SyncModule, except that one MultiSyncModule can handle several commands in it. This is quite useful when commands are very simple, and does not require python code to be handled.

For more details, see MultiSyncModule.

1.1.3. AsyncModule

An AsyncModule is a module which is not related to anything said in the room. For instance, it could be a module announcing the hour every hour, or analysing mails from a mail server and announcing new messages in the room.

For more details, see AsyncModule.

1.1.4. ListenModule

A ListenModule is a module where the bot reacts to something that has been said in the room, but without an explicit call of a command, as in :

<user> Here is an awesome link : http://pipobot.xouillet.info !
<bot> [Lien] Titre : Forge xouillet

Every message in a room can be analysed by the bot, and he can react if the message matches some criteria (contains a URL for instance).

For more details, see ListenModule.

1.1.5. PresenceModule

A PresenceModule reacts to every presence message in a room, for instance joins and leaves of users. For instance:

*** user has joined the room
<bot> user: welcome to the room !!

For more details, see PresenceModule, or the User Monitoring Module which is a PresenceModule.

1.2. What they can return

1.2.1. A string

If a module returns a string, the bot will simply say it in the room.

1.2.2. A list of strings

If a module returns a list of string, the bot will say each element of the list one after the other. Example:

def some_function(self, sender, message):
    return ["msg1", "msg2", "msg3"]

will result to:

<bot> msg1
<bot> msg2
<bot> msg3

1.2.3. A dictionary

Thanks to XEP-0071, XMPP protocols allows to send XHTML messages for clients that support it. If you want your module to send XHTML messages, you can make it return a dictionary like :

return {"text" : "*Message for clients which don't support XHTML*",
        "xhtml" : "<b>Message for clients which do support XHTML</b>"

Some clients do not handle monospace fonts, so if you want to had some presentation in your messages (tabulars for instance) they will not render correctly. If those clients support XHTML messages, you can create an XHTML message that will do it :

raw_msg =  "| Some       | tabular   |\n"
raw_msg += "| requiring  | monospace |"
return {"text" : raw_msg,
        "monospace" : True}

The following XHTML message will be automatically created and sent :

    <span style="font-family: monospace">
        | Some       | tabular   | <br />
        | requiring  | monospace |

Finally, dictionaries can be used to send private message to several users. Example:

return { "user1" : { "text": "Message for user1",
                     "monospace": True },
         "user2" : { "text" : "raw message for user2",
                     "xhtml" : "<p> an <b> XHTML </b> message for user2 </p>"}

1.2.4. Nothing, None or “”

If a module has no return statement, returns None or “”, then the bot will simply not say anything.

1.3. Using configuration parameters

Some modules may require configuration parameters that will be provided by the pipobot‘s main configuration file.

pipobot includes a syntax to define such parameters, and will automatically:

  • check if required parameters are present
  • replace optional parameters by a default value
  • check if provided parameters are correct (type verification)

To add parameters to a module you must provide a _config attribute to the module class, listing them. For example if we want a module to parse the several sample of configuration:

        param1: True
            - foo
            - bar
            key1: val1
            key2: val2
        # OPTIONAL
        param4: "somestring"

In the corresponding module class we will add:

class MyModule(SyncModule):
    _config = (("param1", bool, None), ("param2", list, None),
               ("param2", dict, None), ("param4", string, "somestring))

Then in the code of the module we will be able to access to these parameters with self.param1, self.param2...

Possible types of parameters are defined by the yaml language:
  • a boolean
  • a string
  • an int
  • a list
  • a dictionary

Each element of the _config array is a parameter constructed with (name, type, default_value), None in default_value meaning that the parameter is not optional.

2. Specific description of modules

2.1. SyncModule

2.1.1. Definition of module

A SyncModule is a module that can be called explicitly by a user (Sync stands for Synchronous). It can be used in a room like this :

<user> !date
<bot> Today is `insert the date of the day here !`
Some parameters must be specified to define a command :
  • name : its name (date in the previous example)
  • desc : a description of the module which will be used by the help module (see Description format.)

2.1.2. Writing handlers

SyncModule mother class implements a parsing method for commands. For instance a command can take several subcommands as in this example:

<user> !todo
<bot> This is a command to handle TODO-list
<user> !todo list
<bot> Here is the list of all TODO : …
<user> !todo add some_list I have TODO this !
<bot> The todo 'I have TODO this !' has been successfully added to 'some_list'

list and add are subcommands for the main todo command. To each subcommand you want to define, you have to write a handler to the module class.

A handler is a Python method with this signature:

def some_name(self, sender, message):
The parameters are :
  • sender is the name of the user who sent the command (user in the previous example).
  • message is what the user sent, without the command name and the subcommand name.

For instance in:

<user> !todo add some_list I have TODO this !

sender will be user and message will be some_list I have TODO this !.

In order to define a subcommand, you have to add a descriptor to the method you write. It can be @defaultcmd or @answercmd("subcommand1", "subcommand2"). For instance the skeleton of the todo module will be:

from lib.modules import SyncModule, answercmd, defaultcmd

class CmdTodo(SyncModule):
    def __init__(self, bot):
        desc = "A TODO module"
        command_name = "todo"
        SyncModule.__init__(self, bot, desc, command_name)

    def add(self, sender, args):
        #what to do with !todo add some other args

    def list(self, sender, args):
        #what to do with !todo list some other args

    @answercmd("rm", "del")
    def rm(self, sender, args):
        #what to do with !todo rm or !todo del  some other args

    def default(self, sender, message):
        #In any other case this will be called

The @defaultcmd decorator specify the method that will be called when no other method corresponds to user’s input. For instance in this example, all these calls will be handled by the default method:

!todo should RTFM
!todo don't know what i am doing

This behaviour is interesting if you want to handle errors yourself : any use of the command that is not conform to the syntax defined by other decorators will be handled by the default method.

Finally you can use regular expressions in decorators to filter subcommands differently. For instance we can re-write the todo module like this:

class CmdTodo(SyncModule):
    def __init__(self, bot):

    def empty(self, sender, args):

    def list(self, sender, args):

    @answercmd("add (?P<list_name>\S+) (?P<desc>.*)"=
    def add(self, sender, args):
        liste = args.group("list_name")
        desc = args.group("desc")

    @answercmd("(remove|delete) (?P<ids>(\d+,?)+)")
    def remove(self, sender, args):
        ids = args.group("ids").split(",")

As you can see in this example, with this syntax you can do a lot of work to filter commands directly in the decorator. In the previous example, a call like :

!todo add somelist a new todo to add

will be handled by the add method, and a call like :

!todo remove 1,2,3

will be handled by the remove method.

Empty call like :


will be handled by the empty method.

Finally any other syntax will raise an error so the bot will return a message recommending to read the manual of the command since no @defaultcmd is provided.

You can use in a given module regular expression-based decorators and “classic” decorators. Just be careful of the behaviour if for instance some regular expressions are to permissive.

WARNING: Be careful not to use too permissive pattern in @answercmd decorator. For instance if you use this set of decorators :

@anwsercmd("add (?P<list_name>\S+) (?P<desc>.*)")
@answercmd("search (?P<query>.*)")
@answercmd("(remove|delete) (?P<ids>(\d+,?)+)")

ANY call to the corresponding command will be caught by the last one since an empty regular expression matches a lot of things !! If you want to define the empty subcommand, just use @answercmd("^$").

2.2. MultiSyncModule

A MultiSyncModule is similar to a SyncModule but it contains several commands which will be handled by the same module. You initialize it with a dictionary command_name → command_description. Then you will provide some handling method with the same syntax as you would in a SyncModule.

2.3. AsyncModule

An AsyncModule is a module executing a task automatically every n seconds and send a message in a room with the result of this task. Its action is not related to anything said in the room.


<bot> You have received a new mail !!!

Additionally to the name and the description of the module (see Description format) you have to provide a delay which means : every delay seconds the action will be executed. Then you write an action function with no argument :

def action(self):
    self.bot.say("The message we send to the room")

action is the method that will be called every delay seconds.

2.4. ListenModule

An ListenModule is a module executing a task which depend on something that has been said in the room. But as opposed to SyncModule it is not explicitly called with a !command syntax.

For instance, it can be used to analyse messages with URL :

<user> hey, check this amazing link : http://www.nojhan.net/geekscottes/strips/geekscottes_103.png
<bot> [Lien] Type: image/png, Taille : 68270 octets

The parameters required for a ListenModule are:

The answer handler function will have this signature:

def answer(self, sender, message):
    #some work on the message
    if (re.findall(SOME_URL_REGEXP, message)):
        #handle url
        return "[Lien] Type: %s, Taille : %s octets" % (ctype, clength))
        return None

Then if the message contains an URL you can extract it, work on it and return some information about it. If it does not, you return None so the bot will not say anything in the room.

2.5. PresenceModule

A PresenceModule is handling XMPP Presence stanza, for instance in a MUC : an user joins/leaves the room. The handling method is named do_answer with this signature:

def do_answer(self, message):
    # some work on the message
    if join_message:
        self.bot.say("Hello %s !" % username)

Which will result in:

*** user has joined
<bot> Hello user !!!

3. Some internal modules

3.1. Help Module

3.1.1. Description format

3.2. User Monitoring Module

4. High-Level Modules

These modules are derived from general module presented here : SyncModule. They exist to simplify writing some modules executing similar tasks.

4.1. FortuneModule

This module is a SyncModule with some pre-defined functions. It can be used in this context : you have a website presenting some quote/fortunes and you want to write a module which, when called, will parse quotes from the website and return it. In addition to all SyncModule parameters, it has two more attributes you have to set : url_random and url_indexed. It provides commands with the syntax:

!cmd some_number

In the first case, the module will use the url_random, and parse it. In the second case, the module will use the url_indexed, insert in it some_number, and get the corresponding page. All you need to do in your module is to override the extract_data, method using with your own, using the soup parameter which is a BeautifulSoup object created with the content of the page.

You can see some example of such FortuneModule in the bot (bashfr, vdm, chuck, …).

4.2. NotifyModule

This module is the combination of a SyncModule and an AsyncModule. You have to define a do_action method that will be called every n seconds. In a NotifyModule, the action method (see AsyncModule for more details) is already defined and will check if the module has been muted or not. If it has not, the method do_action that you are supposed to write will be called. The NotifyModule will provide a mute/unmute method that will disable/enable the notifications. You can add to it as many @answercmd as you need to, like in any other SyncModule.

The reminder module is an example of such module.