Sunday, January 21, 2024

Introducing the New Techtronix Web Chat Client

Greetings, everyone! Hope you all are enjoying the new year so far. I wanted to talk about something I have soft-launched in the wild for over a month - the new web client for connecting to the network from the comfort of your browser. Do not worry, though: it is still powered by KiwiIRC.

You may be wondering why this is an announcement in the first place, but it is a subtle but important change. For a full explanation, I need to begin with the backstory.

KiwiIRC the Project, and KiwiIRC the Website

For a long time, KiwiIRC was regarded as a software project and website. The website ran a hosted version of the client that third-party IRC networks could register for so that user information is securely passed to the network, such as the user's IP address. This system worked out well with basically no hitches. KiwiIRC's /client/ URL carried the stable version of KiwiIRC (now deprecated) and the next generation (now stable) version was available on the /nextclient/ URL. There was a notable downside to this, though: existing embeds using the /client/ URL were not automatically upgraded to the newer version, and this still seems to be the case today.

This changed in 2021 with the announcement from then-maintainer prawnsalad that he would be stepping away from IRC development following a larger section of IRC drama, which I dub "The Freenode Situation." The downfall of Freenode is not of relevance here, but you can find excellent coverage of it on sites like Hacker News and prominent IRC community members and developers.

Since then, the KiwiIRC project has been maintained by its new maintainer, ItsOnlyBinary, while the website continues to be maintained by prawnsalad. Over the years, the reliability of the website has decreased, leading to a lot of user complaints and a higher support workload for network admins as well as the #kiwiirc channel as the explanation of who controls the website is repeated over and over.

As of October-November 2023, this situation came to a head where, in my opinion, I saw the frustration start to become rather loud.

The Solution: KiwiIRC Self-Hosted (with WebSockets!)

Thankfully, the IRC landscape has changed in a few great ways since the 2010s, or even a few years ago. Many IRC daemons (IRC server software) now support WebSocket connections, with InspIRCd being no exception.

Starting in November, I soft-launched my own self-hosted version of KiwiIRC using WebSockets, available at For those who are curious, it is a completely static website hosted on GitHub Pages. The source code is available here.

I intend to keep this client up to date with KiwiIRC stable releases and will tweak its functionality over time if I find useful plugins for it. As it is a client for the entire network, it is not heavily customized in the theme or setting department. If your community wants to run their own copy of KiwiIRC, perhaps to have additional customizations/settings, contact staff so that your domain can be whitelisted.

Moving from to the Techtronix KiwiIRC Client

After running the new client in the wild for a few months, I believe it is stable enough to be used generally. While I will continue to support links for as long as it is feasible, I recommend all websites upgrade to using the Techtronix-hosted version as soon as possible. 

Upgrading is easy. Simply change the URL to, replacing #channel with the name of your channel, such as #lounge.

I hope the transition goes smoothly for everyone!

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