Why you are going to want to know about IRC as a programmer

Despite being developed all the way back in 1998, Internet Relay Chat or as it is more commonly know as IRC seems to be having a resurgence lately. Then again maybe it is just that this popular chat service never truly went away.

What is IRC, anyway?

IRC enables users to connect to a server using a software program or web service and communicate with each other live. To connect and chat with other IRC users, you must either have an IRC client or a web interface that connects you to IRC servers. [Source]

So, why would I need yet another way to chat with people when there is a billion different other services that I could choose from these days?

Well, because irc.freenode.net is the place to be if you are a programmer. Sure, you could go to Stack Overflow and search for an answer for your programming questions but there are chat rooms (called channels) on Freenode that are actually devoted to answering programming questions. If you can’t afford to go to university or you don’t have access to someone who is willing to be your programming mentor in real life then hanging out on IRC in the channels specific to the language you are learning is pretty much going to be the next best thing.

What program/web service should I be using to connect with IRC?

This is a tough question to answer since IRC has been kicking around since 1998 that means that there are numerous programs or web services that you could choose from.  It is really hard to go wrong here, just look around and try some out until you find what feels right to you.

Yeah, okay…..I get what it is that you are saying but honestly I am too lazy to look around. Why don’t you tell me what it is that you are using to connect then?

If you are using Windows as your operating system then I am currently fond of Nettalk these days. If you are using an operating system other then Windows then I am afraid you are going to have to figure out what works for you on your own. Sorry about that.