Re: irc: [was: New URN suggestion ]

Mandar Mirashi (
Mon, 19 Aug 1996 00:18:48 -0500 (CDT)

Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 00:18:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: Mandar Mirashi <>
To: Larry Masinter <>
Subject: Re: irc: [was: New URN suggestion ]
In-Reply-To: <96Aug18.212604pdt."2757">
Message-Id: <>

On Sun, 18 Aug 1996, Larry Masinter wrote:

> The right way to add a new URL scheme definition is to write up an
> RFC. The "URL" update (long promised) will not include any new
> schemes.
> Larry

Hello Larry,

   I've already drawn up a working draft. I'll submit it for
   consideration as an RFC after it has been reviewed. It should
   appear in a few days as draft-mirashi-url-irc-00.txt in the usual
   locations. I've attached it at the end of my reply.

							- Mandar

----- CUT HERE ------
Internet-Draft                                            Mandar Mirashi
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                             "irc: URL scheme"

Status of This Memo

     This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
     documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
     areas, and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also
     distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts.

     Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
     months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other
     documents at any time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-
     Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as
     ``work in progress.''

     To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check
     the ``1id-abstracts.txt'' listing contained in the Internet-
     Drafts Shadow Directories on (Africa), (Europe), (Pacific Rim), (US East Coast), or (US West Coast).


     A new URL scheme "irc:" is defined. The irc URL scheme is used to
     refer to either IRC servers or individual channels on IRC servers,
     as specified in RFC 1459.


    With the advent of "plugins", and realtime support via CGI and Java,
    web developers have come up with different means to integrate IRC
    support into their products. This document attempts to define a URL
    scheme ("irc:") which would make this process easier.

    An irc URL takes the form:


      The fully qualified domain name of a network host, or its IP
      address as a set of four decimal digit  groups separated by ".".
      Fully qualified domain names take the form as described in
      Section 3.5 of RFC 1034 [13] and Section 2.1 of RFC 1123 [5]: a

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      sequence of domain labels separated by ".", each domain label
      starting and ending with an alphanumerical character and possibly
      also containing "-" characters. The rightmost domain label will
      never   start   with   a   digit,  though,   which  syntactically
      distinguishes all domain names from the IP addresses.

    <port>  (optional)
      The port number to connect to. If  :<port> is omitted,  the port
      defaults to 6667. This may change in the future to default to the
      IANA assigned IRC port 194, as it gains widespread use amongst
      IRC servers.

    <channel> (optional)
      The individual channel to connect to, as specified in RFC 1459,
      and listed here for convenience:
	 <channel>    ::= ('#' | '&' | '+') <chstring>
   	 <chstring>   ::= <any 8bit code except SPACE, BELL, NUL,
			CR, LF and comma (',')>


    The URL:


    refers to global channel #wasteland on IRC server
    The URL:


    refers to a local channel &brits on IRC server and
    the connection takes place over port 6665.

Current Implementations

    Despite the lack of a common URL scheme, many integration efforts
    between IRC and the world  wide web have been successful. These
    can be roughly categorised into:

    IRC plugins:
      These are IRC clients distributed separately and designed to work
      in close conjunction with the browser. Current plugins include:
			(Netscape Chat - Netscape Corp)
			(Global Chat - Quarterdeck Corp)	
			(iChat - iChat Inc)

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    Java gateways:
      These take the form of a Java capable Web browser that interacts
      with an IRC server and  updates "live content" web pages. The
      foll. URL's which illustrate these, were functional at the time of
      These gateways take up resources on the machine hosting the web
      server, and are also slower than IRC clients which open a direct
      connection to the IRC server. A variation of the Java gateway is a
      CGI gateway, which is based on CGI scripts instead of Java, but
      quickly fading from existence due to CGI's limited realtime

    IRC client - Web browser communication:
      Recent IRC clients often communicate with the Web browser via
      mechanisms such as API calls or DDE, and pass back a URL to be
      opened via the browser.  Clients that implement this include:
        (Visual IRC)
    It is anticipated that the irc: URL scheme would allow Web
    browsers to open a local dynamic "live content" page as
    demonstrated by the gateways  (thus eliminating the need to go via a
    gateway).  They  may also choose to open a plugin IRC client. The
    choice is left to the individual  Web client coder.


    IRC as a protocol first appeared in 1988 and thus predates the world
    wide web by several years. A formal specification of the protocol
    was drawn up in 1993 (RFC 1459). Today, there are thousands of
    simultaneous users on various IRC networks. Integration efforts with
    the World Wide Web continue (as outlined above). The irc URL
    scheme first appeared in the Rating Services and Rating Systems
    document published by the PICS (Platform for Internet Content
    Selection) technical subcommitee of the World Wide Web
    However, the original definition lacked RFC 1459 conformance. This
    draft attempts to add RFC 1459 conformance to the scheme, besides
    other features previously lacking.

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Security Considerations

    The irc URL scheme introduces no new security considerations, not
    already outlined in RFC 1459 and RFC 1738.


    [RFC1738]     RFC 1738. Uniform Resource Locators (URL).
                  T. Berners-Lee, L. Masinter & M. McCahill.
                  December 1994.
    [RFC 1459] 	  RFC 1459. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Protocol
                  J. Oikarinen, D. Reed. May 1993.

Author's contact information:

    Mandar  Mirashi
    Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
    IRC Nickname: Mmmm

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