This guide is for people who want to hack on Convos. You can also have a look at the “Convos revamped!” blog post for more details.

The complete manual for Convos and its dependencies are available from inside the application at http://localhost:3000/perldoc - or whatever adddress you start Convos on.


Convos has it’s own API. The REST API documentation is generated by the code running the specification.

TODO: Need to document the WebSocket API as well.


It is helpful if you are familiar with git. Mojolicious and basic Perl tools, such as prove and cpanm.

Getting the source code

The first step is to clone the repository. You can either do this directly on github or by running the command below:

$ git clone

The command above will create a “convos” directory in the current working directory. The following steps need to be run from the project root, meaning you should cd ./convos first.

Installing dependencies

Once you have the source code you should install the dependencies:

$ script/convos install --develop

--develop will install dependencies which is only required if you want to make changes to the files in the assets/ directory. Note that the dependencies are installed in local/lib/. If you want to install them globally or in your $HOME/perl5 directy, then use one of these command instead:

$ cpanm --installdeps --sudo .
$ cpanm --installdeps .

Installing an IRC daemon

It is highly suggested that you install an IRC daemon, since many networks will ban you if you reconnect to often. Any IRC compatible server will work, but ircd is a good alternative:

$ sudo apt-get install ircd-hybrid # ubuntu
$ brew install ircd-hybrid         # osx

Please ask in #convos on if you want to use the demo IRC server instead of installing your own.

Starting the application

The basics of getting the application running is the command below:

$ script/convos dev

The command above is the same as:

$ MOJO_IRC_DEBUG=1 CONVOS_DEBUG=1 morbo script/convos \
    -w assets -w lib -w public/convos-api.json

MOJO_IRC_DEBUG and CONVOS_DEBUG will print extra low level debug information to STDERR, which is useful to discover bugs. The -w switch is for watching different files and directories for changes and reload morbo automatically.

Directory structure

Convos frontend

            ____| Core |
.--------._/    '------'
| Convos |
'--------'    .-------------.
      \_______| Controllers |

The frontend contains of a single template, embedded inside of The rest of the frontend consist of a JavaScript application, powered by vue.js. This application gets its data from a OpenAPI powered JSON API with a thin logical layer inside the controllers:

Convos core

          ____| Backend |
.------._/    '---------'
| Core |
'------'   .------.   .-------------.   .---------.
    \______| User |___| Connections |___| Dialogs |
          '------'   '-------------'   '---------'

Convos::Core is the heart of Convos. The core takes care of connections, dialogs can persist to a backend and provide hooks for plugins.

The design makes Convos a multi-user application, that can persist to any backend (memory, file storage, redis, …) and connect to any chat server, as well as keeping any number of dialogs active.

The way the backend is hooked into the rest of the object graph is by events. Any user, connection or dialog can emit new events that the Backend can choose to persist to storage. The default backend is a file-based backend, which enables Convos to be started without any external database.


Any contribution is more than welcome! Examples: If you find typos on this web page or find something annoying, then please tell us.

We welcome pull requests, but any form of patches are better than nothing. The pull request does not need to be complete either, but it is more likely to get merged if it includes tests and documentation updates.


Check out the issues for open issues. Below is a list of ideas