Live Help - IRC channels

In the last month or two some of us got really enthusiastic about the Mibbit service and how it can be a relatively easy way to direct more people to the IRC channels where we can provide quick help. I got so enthusiastic that I wrote a blog post ( What is the last element of an infinite list or how to get started with Perl 6 ? ) trying to direct people interested in Perl 6 to use that service. Adam Kennedy wrote about how we added "Live support" to Padre. Two days ago I even added an icon to the Strawberry Perl for Windows distribution that will open a browser to Mibbit to join the #win32 IRC channel.

Then yesterday Freenode has shut down the access to its service using the Mibbit web IRC client and offered their own webchat.

That's bad. Not only do I have to fix my blog entry - which is easy but disturbing - but it also means all the current users of Padre 0.35 have a broken "Live Service" link in their application. Luckily, there are not many such people.

So we have to fix the link in Padre and release a new version. that of course is not enough as I would like to avoid another such event so instead of pointing to an external service we are going to point to a web page on our site that will do the redirection automatically. It can even provide us with another chance to explain what is waiting for the un-expecting user. That way if the URLs change or services get shut down we only need to update a page on our web site and the users won't need to know about the change.

So I started to build a page in JavaScript that will redirect the users to the relevant web based IRC channel. I added a few channels that were listed on and a few that were not. I am sure there are lots of other Perl related channels out there that could be added to the list. Especially I am interested in locale specific channels so we will be able to direct the Italian speaking users to the Italian IRC channel.

Please check out this page that I now call the Perl IRC Jumper. By looking at the source you can see the list of all the channels we currently have. If you know about other channels that you'd like to see there, either post a response here or drop by the #padre channel and let me know what else to add.