soju/doc/ext/webpush.md -rw-r--r-- 6.3 KiB
a662091aJeff Martin server: fix panic stacktrace print formatting 6 days ago

title: "Web Push Extension" layout: spec copyrights:

#Notes for implementing experimental vendor extension

This is an experimental specification for a vendored extension.

No guarantees are made regarding the stability of this extension. Backwards-incompatible changes can be made at any time without prior notice.

Software implementing this work-in-progress specification MUST NOT use the unprefixed webpush CAP name. Instead, implementations SHOULD use the soju.im/webpush CAP name to be interoperable with other software implementing a compatible work-in-progress version.


Historically, IRC clients have relied on keeping a TCP connection alive to receive notifications about new events. However, this design has limitations:

  • It doesn't bode well with some platforms such as Android, iOS or the Web. On these platforms, the connection to the IRC server can be severed (e.g. when the IRC client isn't in the foreground), resulting in IRC events not received.
  • Battery-powered devices aim to avoid any unnecessary wake-up of the modem hardware. IRC connections don't make the difference between messages which may be important to the user (e.g. messages targeting the user directly) and the rest of the messages. As a result messages are frequently sent over the IRC connection, resulting in battery drain.

To address these limitations, various push notification mechanisms have been designed. This specification standardizes an extension for Web Push.

      ┌────────────┐              ┌────────────┐
      │            │  Subscribe   │            │
      │            ├─────────────►│            │
      │ IRC client │              │ IRC server │
      │            │              │            │
      │            │              │            │
      └────────────┘              └─────┬──────┘
             ▲                          │
             │                          │
        Push │                          │Push
notification │                          │notification
             │       ┌──────────┐       │
             │       │          │       │
             └───────┤ Web Push │◄──────┘
                     │  Server  │
                     │          │

Web Push is defined in RFC 8030, RFC 8291 and RFC 8292.

Although Web Push has been designed for the Web, it can be used on other platforms as well. Web Push provides a vendor-neutral standard to send push notifications.


The soju.im/webpush capability allows clients to subscribe to Web Push and receive notifications for messages of interest.

Once a client has subscribed, the server will send push notifications for a server-defined subset of IRC messages. Each push notification MUST contain exactly one IRC message as the payload, without the final CRLF.

The messages follow the same capabilities and the same RPL_ISUPPORT as when the client registered for Web Push notifications.

Because of size limits on the payload of push notifications, servers MAY drop some or all message tags from the original message. Servers MUST NOT drop the msgid tag if present.


If the server supports Voluntary Application Server Identification (VAPID) and the client has enabled the soju.im/webpush capability, the server MUST advertise its public key in the VAPID ISUPPORT token. This key can be used to verify notifications upon reception by the Web Push server.

The value MUST be the URL-safe base64-encoded public key usable with the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) over the P-256 curve. The value MUST NOT change over the lifetime of the connection to avoid race conditions.

#WEBPUSH Command

A new WEBPUSH command is introduced. It has a case-insensitive subcommand:

WEBPUSH <subcommand> <params...>

#REGISTER Subcommand

The REGISTER subcommand creates a new Web Push subscription.

WEBPUSH REGISTER <endpoint> <keys>

The <endpoint> is an URL pointing to a push server, which can be used to send push messages for this particular subscription.

<keys> is a string encoded in the message-tag format. The values are URL-safe base64-encoded. For the aes128gcm encryption algorithm, it MUST contain at least:

  • One public key with the name p256dh set to the client's P-256 ECDH public key.
  • One shared key with the name auth set to a 16-byte client-generated authentication secret.

If the server has advertised the VAPID ISUPPORT token, they MUST use this VAPID public key when sending push notifications. Servers MUST replace any previous subscription with the same <endpoint>.

If the registration is successful, the server MUST reply with a WEBPUSH REGISTER message:


On error, the server MUST reply with a FAIL message.

Servers MAY expire a subscription at any time.

#UNREGISTER Subcommand

The UNREGISTER subcommand removes an existing Web Push subscription.


Servers MUST silently ignore UNREGISTER commands for non-existing subscriptions.

If the unregistration is successful, the server MUST echo back the WEBPUSH UNREGISTER message. On error, the server MUST reply with a FAIL message.


Errors are returned using the standard replies syntax.

If the server receives a syntactically invalid WEBPUSH command, e.g., an unknown subcommand, missing parameters, excess parameters, or parameters that cannot be parsed, the INVALID_PARAMS error code SHOULD be returned:

FAIL WEBPUSH INVALID_PARAMS <command> <endpoint> <message>

If the server cannot fullfill a client command due to an internal error, the INTERNAL_ERROR error code SHOULD be returned:

FAIL WEBPUSH INTERNAL_ERROR <command> <endpoint> <message>