A handler that would open an irc client when an irc link (e.g. irc:// is clicked on in Firefox.


A suggestion was made during Love Day that there should be an IRC client built into the website (e.g. java applet) to enable more people to access the resources on #ubuntu. An alternative solution might be to create a handler that would open an irc client, much how the Mozilla browser opens irc links in Chatzilla when it's installed.

Use cases

What we want to prevent is this:

  • A user is looking for help on the website and browses to freesupport. There are "instructions" to use XChat, log into freenode, and join the #ubuntu channel (which is displayed as a link). They skip reading the text and click the link (think Jeff's user sunglasses!) but are given the error: "irc is not a registered protocol". They are demoralized and give up on getting immediate help.

A much better experience would be this:

  • The user browses to the support site, clicks on the link, and XChat or Gaim is opened and takes them immediately to the #ubuntu channel.


To be decided, but possibly portable to Gnome.


Ideally, if the user has a Launchpad account their irc handle would default to their Launchpad name. If they don't, options might be to default to their short user name or provide a dialog box asking for a handle before connecting.

It would have to be decided whether the handler would open XChat or Gaim by default. Gaim may be a good choice because it's a program the user would likely be familiar with, especially when comparing a dedicated irc client to the chat room interface in Gaim.


This could be done through the standard about:config settings in firefox. Add a new string "" and then set the value to the path of the executable desired.


To be... coded

Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion


FirefoxIRCHandler (last edited 2008-08-06 16:22:06 by localhost)