I have started using a lot IRC lately since I became a Debian Developer (Debian use a lot IRC and mailing lists to communicate).

For those who don’t know what IRC is: it’s basically the ancestor of modern chat messaging like Discord. IRC is a quite old piece of technology, coming from 1988.

One big drawbacks of IRC is that there’s no such thing as a history, you need to be connected to receive the messages, everything that happens when your offline will be missed.

Because of such limitation, people started using Bouncer or self-hosted IRC client such as The lounge. These clients are always connected to the IRC channels in order to allow the user to read the messages sent while he is away.

I’m personally using a self-hosted The lounge on my dedicated server. The lounge is storing the logs history on the filesystem under /var/opt/thelounge/logs/{username}/{server}/*.log files.

The log files looks like this:

2021-03-29T13:16:36.853Z] *** creekorful (~creekorful@0002a854.user.oftc.net) joined
[2021-03-29T14:09:34.402Z] *** fvcr (~francisco@2002c280.user.oftc.net) quit (Server closed connection)
[2021-03-29T14:09:45.237Z] *** fvcr (~francisco@2002c280.user.oftc.net) joined
[2021-03-29T15:07:10.843Z] *** Maxi[m] (~m189934ma@00027b5d.user.oftc.net) quit (Server closed connection)
[2021-03-29T15:07:15.415Z] *** Maxi[m] (~m189934ma@00027b5d.user.oftc.net) joined
[2021-03-31T11:44:01.184Z] <b342> If a pipeline in my namespace failed to build, does it mean it that only me get the e-mail for the failed build or the project I forked from too ?
[2021-03-31T11:53:03.597Z] <Myon> should be only you
[2021-03-31T11:53:49.045Z] <Myon> plus I think it's only the person triggering the pipeline, not the whole project
[2021-03-31T12:22:27.901Z] *** sergiodj (~sergiodj@00014bc9.user.oftc.net) quit (Server closed connection)
[2021-03-31T12:23:42.039Z] *** sergiodj (~sergiodj@00014bc9.user.oftc.net) joined
[2021-03-31T14:35:02.708Z] <b342> Thanks Myon

I was wondering: maybe a could render these log file into something more visual?


I built Parakeet (in Golang) to solve this issue. Using it is a simple as: ./parakeet -input irc-log.log -output irc-log.html

How does it work?

Parsing the log file

The tool first parse the provided log file, and extract the messages from it, while excluding all login / logout events.

for {
    line, err = rd.ReadString('\n')
    if err != nil {

    line = strings.TrimSuffix(line, "\n")

    // Only keep 'message' line i.e which contains something like '] <username>'
    if !strings.Contains(line, "] <") || !strings.Contains(line, ">") {

    // Approximate line parsing
    date := line[1:strings.Index(line, "] <")]
    username := line[strings.Index(line, "<")+1 : strings.Index(line, ">")]
    content := line[strings.Index(line, "> ")+2:]

    t, err := time.Parse(time.RFC3339, date)
    if err != nil {

    ch.Messages = append(ch.Messages, Message{
        Time:    t,
        Sender:  username,
        Content: content,

Rendering the messages

Thanks to the go html/template package, it’s fairly easy to generate HTML. The template file looks like this:

<html lang="en">
    <title>{{ .Name }}</title>
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    {{ range .Messages }}
            [{{ .Time.Format "2006-01-02 15:04:05" }}] {{ .Sender | colorUsername }} {{ .Content | applyUrl }}
    {{ end }}

Assign color to the username

Here’s a little trick I’ve done to assign a color to each username, making the log files easier to read.

type Context struct {
	Colors []string
	Users  map[string]string

func (c *Context) colorUsername(s string) template.HTML {
	// check if username color is not yet applied
	color, exist := c.Users[s]
	if !exist {
		// pick-up new random color for the username
		color = c.Colors[rand.Intn(len(c.Colors)-1)]
		c.Users[s] = color

	return template.HTML(fmt.Sprintf("&lt;<span style=\"color: %s; font-weight: bold;\">%s</span>&gt;", color, s))

And here’s how I’ve made the links clickable, by making them HTML anchor. I’ve used github.com/mvdan/xurls to find the URLs.

func (c *Context) applyURL(s string) template.HTML {
	rxStrict := xurls.Strict()
	return template.HTML(rxStrict.ReplaceAllStringFunc(s, func(s string) string {
		return fmt.Sprintf("<a href=\"%s\">%s</a>", s, s)


I’m using this tool to mirror the logs for the channel I’m using. The results are available here and updated daily.

Happy hacking!