jwgc - Jabber Windowgram Client


jwgc [-h] [-debug <flags>] [-f <filename>] [-j <jid>] [-u <username>] [-p <password>] [-r <resource>] [-s <server>] [-register] [-ssl] [-port <port>] [-priority <priority>] [-ttymode] [-nofork] [-default <driver>] {-disable <driver>}* [output driver options]

Jwgc is the base of all of jwgc's functionality. It handles connections to the Jabber server and from the various jwgc clients. (such as jwrite, jlocate, etc) You must have the jwgc component running for anything else to work. It also handles displaying incoming messages on any output devices you have enabled.


Jwgc is almost entirely configurable from the command line. Almost all of the command line options have associated variables as listed below.


Provides a listing of all of the available flags.

-debug flags
Without flags, -debug lists all of the available debug output types. Otherwise, this option enables debugging output of the specified types, or 'all' for all debugging output.

-f filename
Load an alternate description file.

-u username
Username to log into the jabber server as. If this isn't specified anywhere, and -j isn't specified, jwgc will use your unix username.

Associated variable: username

-p password
Password to log into the jabber server with. If this isn't specified anywhere, jwgc will prompt you for it.

Associated variable: password

-r resource
Jabber resource to use. This defaults to jwgc unless you specify something else.

Associated variable: resource

-s server
Jabber server to connect to. This defaults to unless you specify something else.

Associated variable: server

-j jid
This option causes -u, -r and -s to be ignored. Instead, all of this information is taken directory from the jid specified, which tends to be of the form: username@server/resource

Associated variable: jid

Turns on ssl support. This will try to connect to the ssl port of the Jabber server for a secure connection.

Associated variable: usessl (true)

Turns off ssl support. This can be useful if ssl is enabled by default and you don't have ssl support on the target server.

Associated variable: usessl (false)

-port port
Specifies the port to connect to on the Jabber server.

Associated variable: port

-priority priority
Specifies the Jabber priority to connect with.

Associated variable: priority

Enables only tty mode, which eliminates any graphical interface.

Prevents jwgc from backgrounding itself.

Causes jwgc to attempt to register your account with the Jabber server on startup. This is necessary to create a new account.

-default driver, -disable driver, [output driver options]
These are all currently undocumented, sorry.

Extra Variables

The following variables have no associated command line arguments:

Programs specifed with this variable are run automatically when jwgc is started up.


Jwgc consists of two main types of configuration files, and extra configuration files depending on which drivers you have enabled.

Jwgc Description Files

The jwgc description files are the most important piece of jwgc's configuration. They tell jwgc how to display incoming messages. If your description file is broken, then most likely nothing will be displayed at all. There are two instances of the description file. One is jwgc.desc, installed in an etc directory wherever the root of your installation is. This is the default description file users will be using. This can be overridden by placing a .jwgc.desc file in one's home directory. Note that this is a -complete- override. The default will not be read at all if a .jwgc.desc exists in the user's home directory. As such, if a user wants to modify the output, that user should copy the default jwgc.desc into their home directory as .jwgc.desc and modify it there.

Jwgc Variable Files

The jwgc variable files contain default settings for any of the various variables jwgc uses. These are described in more detail later, but there are three incarnations of this file: jwgc.vars, jwgc.vars.fixed, and .jwgc.vars. jwgc.vars is a system default file, and can be overridden by .jwgc.vars. jwgc.vars.fixed is a system default file that contains variables that can -not- be overridden by other config files, or by command line options. Finally, .jwgc.vars is the user's personal configuration options. These files don't have to exist at all for jwgc to function. In fact, all of the options in them can be specified at the command line.


A description file is simply a list of commands. Whitespace (spaces, tabs, and line breaks) is used to separate tokens. The type and amount of whitespace separating tokens is irrelevant. Comments can be delimited by # and newline (for line-oriented comments, e.g. ``# this is a comment'' on a line by itself) or by /* and */ (e.g. ``/* this is a comment */'').


Expressions are used by certain commands. They are composed from string literals, variable references, function calls, and operators. Parentheses can be used anywhere in an expression to group expressions or increase readability.

String literals are specified by putting the contents in ``double quotes''.

Variables are set using the set command (see ``COMMANDS'', below). They are referenced in an expression by using the form $varname. Some variables are set by default for each notice. All other variables retain their values between notice interpretations, so that if you set a variable, it retains that value until later modified.

Functions are called using a C-like syntax, fname(expr1,expr2), where fname is the function name and exprn are the arguments.

Binary operators use infix notation, such as ``a == b''.

Some commands use an expression list (exprlist), which is simply a set of expressions separated by whitespace (e.g. $var1 ``lit1'' $var2).


The following variables are always available:

  1. 1, ...
    Numeric variables are assigned values corresponding to that field in the notice (the body of each notice is conceptually an array of fields, each terminated with a null character). If the number is greater than the number of fields actually in the notice, the value is ``''. For example, the standard jwrite messages have two fields: $1 is the signature, and $2 is the text of the message.

    The date on which the notice was sent.

    An error message from the port read/write commands.

    Event markers for messages, such as ``composing''.

    The full jabber id of the user that sent the current notice.

    The date on which the notice was sent, in a longer format.

    The full text of the message, with nulls converted to newlines.

    The nickname associated with the jabber id of the user that sent the current notice, if present.

    The number of fields in the message (a string represen- tation of a decimal number).

    The name of the output driver in use.

    The resource set by the user that sent the current notice.

    Only the username of the user that sent the current notice.

    Only the server hostname of the user that sent the current notice.

    This is a piece of type: presence notices, and can be used to indicate more information about the user's presence.

    This is a piece of type: presence notices, and can be used to indicate more information about the user's presence.

    The subject of the messaage.

    The jabber notice subtype of the current notice. This depends fairly highly on what type the message is.

    The time of day at which the notice was sent, in 24-hour format.

    The time of day at which the notice was sent, in 12-hour format.

    The jabber notice type of the current notice. This can be message, presence, or some other variety of notice.

All of these variables (except for error, output_driver, and version) are re-set before each notice is processed.


Following is a list of functions available for use in the description file.

The contents of the current output buffer.

Returns the value of expr, converted to lower case.

Returns a line from the port named expr. If there is no text waiting on the port (e.g. the program connected to the port has not printed any output), this function will wait until it can read a line of text from the port.

Returns the value of the environment variable expr, or the empty string if it does not exist.

lany(expr1, expr2), rany(expr1, expr2)
Return a number of characters equal to the length of expr2 from the beginning (lany) or end (rany) of expr1 (e.g. lany(``1234567890'',``foo'') would return ``123''). If expr1 is a variable reference, the variable is modified to remove the characters returned. If expr2 is longer than expr1, the value of expr1 is returned (and expr1 is set to ``'', if a variable).

lbreak(expr1, expr2), rbreak(expr1, expr2)
Expr2 defines a set of characters. The function returns the longest initial (lbreak) or final (rbreak) string from expr1 composed of characters not in this set (e.g. lbreak(``characters'', ``tuv'') would return ``charac''). If expr1 is a variable reference, the variable is modified to remove the characters returned. If no characters in expr2 are in expr1, then expr1 is returned (and expr1 is set to ``'', if a variable).

lspan(expr1, expr2), rspan(expr1, expr2)
These functions are the negation of the break func- tions; the returned string consists of characters in the set defined by expr2

Returns a string which will be evaluated identically to expr, but will not affect any surrounding environments. That is, any characters which could close outside environments are quoted, and any environments in expr which are not closed at the end are closed.

Evaluates variable references of the form $variable in expr and converts $$ to $.

Returns the value of expr, converted to upper case.

Returns a string that will be displayed exactly as expr looks. Anything which could be mistaken for an environment is quoted.

Returns the value of the jabber variable expr, or the empty string if it does not exist.


Following is a list of operators which can be used in the description file to compose expressions:

expr1 + expr2
String concatenation of expr1 and expr2

expr1 == expr2
True if the two expressions are equal, false otherwise.

expr =~ expr2
True if the regular expression pattern expr2 matches expr1.

expr1 !~ expr2
Negation of ``=~''.

expr1 != expr2
Negation of ``==''

expr1 and expr2, expr1 & expr2
True if expr1 and expr2 are both true.

expr1 or expr2, expr1 | expr2
True if either of expr1 or expr2 are true.

! expr1, not expr1
The logical negation of expr1.


Following is a list of the commands usable in the descrip- tion language:

appendport expr1 expr2
Creates a port called expr1. All output to the port will be appended to the file expr2. There is no input. If the file is created, its mode is set to read-write, owner only (no access for others).

Exits the innermost if, case, or while block.

case expr1 [ ((match expr [,expr ...]) | default) commands ] ... endcase
Evaluates expr1. Then, each of the match expressions is evaluated in order. The first time an expression matches expr1, then the body of commands under it is executed, and the rest of the case statement is skipped. This compare is case-insensitive. default always matches, so it should always appear as the last set of commands. See the default description file for an example of use.

Clears the output buffer (see below for details on buffering).

closeinput expr
Closes the file associated with expr.

closeoutput expr
Sends an EOF (end-of-file) to the process if expr was a port created by execport, or closes the file if it was created by outputport or appendport.

closeport expr
Closes both input and output of expr as defined above.

fields variable1 ...
sets the list of variables to be equal to the fields in the notice. If there are more variables than fields, the extra variables are left empty.

exec exprlist
Executes a program without any input or output. A com- mand named by exprlist is executed. Each expression is used as an argument to the program; the first expres- sion names the program (it may be either an absolute pathname, or a program name; the user's PATH is searched to find simple program names).

execport expr1 exprlist
Creates a port called expr1. A command named by exprlist is executed, as described above for exec. All output to the port is sent to the standard input of the process. Reading from the port will return the stan- dard output of the process.

Completes processing of the current notice. The remainder of the description file is ignored after exe- cution of this command.

if expr1 then commands1 [elseif expr2 then commands2] ... [else commandsn] endif
If expr1 evaluates to true, execute commands1, etc. [A conditional construct, similar to the constructs in the C shell (csh).]

inputport expr1 expr2
Creates a port called expr1. All input from the port comes from the file expr2. There is no output.

does nothing

outputport expr1 expr2
Creates a port called expr1. The file expr2 will be truncated, or created if it does not exist. All output to the port will be appended to the file expr2. There is no input. If the file is created, its mode is set to read-write, owner only (no access for others).

print expr1 ...
adds the values of the expressions to the current out- put buffer. The values of the expressions are separated by spaces in the output.

put [expr [exprlist]]
Sends data to a port. If expr is provided, then it is used as the port, otherwise the port used is the port corresponding to the default output device. If exprlist is provided, the expressions in the list are sent to the port, separated by spaces. If it is omit- ted, then the contents of the output buffer are sent as the data.

set variable = expr
sets variable equal to expr. Variable can later be referenced by $variable.

show text endshow
Appends text to the output buffer. This command is special, because the string does not need to be quoted. Whitespace at the beginning or end of the lines of text is ignored. The endshow must appear as the first token on a line (it may only be preceded on that line by whi- tespace). Variable substitutions and formatting com- mands (but not expressions or functions) are processed in the text. Example:
       this is some text
       from: $sender

while expr do statements endwhile
Executes statements until expr is false.


Ports are an abstraction encompassing all I/O forms of which jwgc is capable. There are pre-existing output ports corresponding to each of the output devices, and more ports can be created with the port commands described above.


The output is usually collected in the output buffer and saved until a put command sends the output to an output dev- ice (such as an X display or a terminal). The output buffer is implicitly cleared after each notice is completely pro- cessed.

Output devices are implemented as output ports. A message is displayed in a device-dependent manner when a string is output to the port corresponding to the output device. For- matting commands are embedded in the text as @ commands of the form @command(text). Command names are case-insensitive and consist of alphanumeric characters and underscores. Valid brackets are () [] {} and <>. If the command name is empty (such as in ``@(foo)''), then a new environment with no changes is created (This is useful to temporarily change some parameter of the output, such as the font).

The following output devices are supported:

Sends the string to standard output exactly as is.

Sends the string to standard error exactly as is.

Sends the string with all formatting environments removed to standard output.

Does formatting on the message according to @ commands embedded in the text. The output, with appropriate mode-changing sequences, is sent to the standard out- put. The appropriate characteristics of the display are taken from the TERMCAP entry (see termcap(5)) for the terminal named by the TERM environment variable. Supported @ commands are:
Roman (plain) letters (turns off all special modes).

@b or @bold
Bold letters. If not available, reverse video, else underline.

@i or @italic
Italic letters (underlining, if available).

``bl'' termcap entry, else ``^G'' (beep the terminal); limited to once per message.

@l or @left
left aligned

@c or @center
center aligned

@r or @right
right aligned

Other @-commands are silently ignored.

Displays one window per string output to the port. The output is formatted according to @ commands embedded in the string. Supported @ commands are:
turns off @italic and @bold

@b or @bold
turns on boldface

@i or @italic
turns on italics

@l or @left
left aligned

@c or @center
center aligned

@r or @right
right aligned

large type size

medium type size

small type size

Ring the X bell (limited to once per message)

sets the current font to the font specified in the contents of the environment (e.g. @font(fixed)). This will remain in effect for the rest of the environment (a temporary change can be achieved by enclosing the font-change in an @(...) environment). If the named font is not available, the font ``fixed'' is used instead.

sets the color to the color specified in the contents of the environment. The color name should appear in the X color name data- base. This color will remain in effect for the rest of the environ- ment. If the named color is not available, the default foreground color is used.

Any other environment name not corresponding to the above environment names will set the current ``sub- style.''

The attributes of a given block of text are determined by any active environments, evaluated in the context of the current style and substyle.

The style is specific to each window. Its name has three dot (``.'') separated fields, which are by default the values of the class, instance, and reci- pient variables, with all dots changed to underscores (``_'') and all letters converted to lowercase. The style can be altered by setting the style variable. Note that it must always have exactly two ``.'' char- acters in it.

The substyle is determined by @ commands in the message text.

Jwgc variables which the X output device reads are:

default geometry for notices, set from resources

overrides geometry in resource file, if set

default background color for notices, set from resources

overrides bgcolor in resource file, if set

style, as described above

The expected geometry values are described below.

The fonts and color for a piece of text are determined by the styles defined in the X resources file. The following resources relating to text style are used by jwgc:
geometry for messages of the specified style
background color for messages of the specified style
fontfamily name for the specified style and substyle
foreground color for the specified style and substyle

specifies the fonts for a given fontfam- ily. size is one of small, medium, or large, and face is one of roman, bold, italic, or bolditalic.

The best way to get started in customizing X resources for jwgc is to examine the default application resources and other users' resources to understand how they specify the default appearance.

X Resources

Other X resources used by jwgc are listed below. Entries like

    jwgc*option: value
    Jwgc*option: value
    jwgc.option: value
    *option: value

will work.

An entry labeled with jwgc*option in any of the sources takes precedence over Jwgc*option, which takes precedence over *option entries. The following sources are searched in order: command-line arguments (-xrm) contents of file named by XENVIRONMENT environment variable X server resource database (see xrdb(1)) application resources file

Logical values can be ( Yes On True T ) or ( No Off False nil ).

number of a code from the cursorfont (should be an even integer, see <X11/cursorfont.h>) to use for the windows.

Primary foreground color

Secondary foreground color (if foreground not set) [BlackPixel is the default if neither is set]

Primary background color

Secondary background color (if background not set) [WhitePixel is the default if neither is set]

Primary border color

Secondary border color (if borderColor not set) [BlackPixel is the default if neither is set]

Primary mouse pointer color [foreground color is the default if not set]

(logical) Toggles foreground and background (and border, if it matches foreground or background).

Secondary toggle, if reverseVideo is not set. [off is the default if neither is set]

Primary border width selector

Secondary border width selector (if bor- derWidth is not set) [1 is the default value if neither is set]

Primary border between edge and text

Secondary selector (if internalBorder not set) [2 is the default value if neither is set]

Primary POSITION (not size) geometry specif- ier. The geometry should be of the form ``{+|-}x{+|-}y'', specifying an (x,y) coordinate for a corner of the window displaying the notice. The interpretation of positive and negative location specifications follows the X conventions. A special loca- tion of `c' for either x or y indicates that the window should be centered along that axis. Example: a geometry of ``+0+c'' speci- fies the window should be at the top of the screen, centered horizontally.

Secondary position specifer. [+0+0 is the default if neither is set.]

(logical) Primary value to force screen to unsave when a message first appears.

(logical) Secondary value to force screen to unsave. [default True]

(logical) Primary value to specify that jwgc should attempt to stack WindowGram windows such that the oldest messages normally show on top. Some X window managers may silently ignore jwgc's attempts to restack its win- dows. This option can cause some unusual interactions with other windows if the user manually restacks either the other windows or the WindowGram windows.

Secondary value to enable reverse stacking. [default False]

(string) Primary window title

Secondary window title [defaults to the last pathname component of the program name, usu- ally ``jwgc'']

(logical) Primary value which determines if jwgc windows will be created with the WM_TRANSIENT_FOR property set. If this resource is true, the property will be set, telling certain windowmanagers to treat jwgc windows specially. For instance, twm will not put decorations on transient windows, mwm will not let you iconify them, and uwm ignores the resource entirely.

Secondary transient determining value [default False]

(logical) If true, jwgc creates a WM_PROTOCOLS property on all jgrams, with WM_DELETE_WINDOW as contents.

Secondary value to enable WM_DELETE_WINDOW protocol on jgrams [default False]

Primary value which specifies the minimum amount of time (``minimum time to live'') a WindowGram must be on-screen (in mil- liseconds) until it can be destroyed. This feature is useful to avoid accidentally clicking on new WindowGrams when trying to delete old ones.

Secondary value of ``minimum time to live.''

(string) Primary icon name

Secondary icon name [defaults to the last pathname component of the program name, usu- ally ``jwgc'']

(string) Primary window class name

Secondary window class name [defaults to the last pathname component of the program name, usually ``jwgc'']

(logical) Primary X synchronous mode specif- ier. On means to put the X library into syn- chronous mode.

Secondary X synchronous mode specifier. [default is `off']

The window class is always ``Jwgc''.

X Buttons

Clicking and releasing any button without the shift key depressed while the pointer remains inside a WindowGram win- dow will cause it to disappear. If the pointer leaves the window while the button is depressed, the window does not disappear; this provides a way to avoid accidentally losing messages.

If the control button is held down while clicking on a Win- dowGram, then that WindowGram and all windowgrams under the point where the button is released will be erased.

Portions of the text of a message may be selected for ``past- ing'' into other X applications by using the shift key in cooperation with the pointer buttons. Holding the Shift key while depressing Button1 (usually the left button) will set a marker at the text under the pointer. Dragging the pointer with Shift-Button1 still depressed extends the selection from the start point, until the button is released. The end of the selection may also be indicated by releasing Button1, holding down the Shift key, and pressing Button3 (usually the right button) at the desired endpoint of the selection. The selection will appear with the text and background colors reversed.

If jwgc receives a WM_DELETE_WINDOW, it destroys the jwgc window as if it were clicked on.

If a jwgc window is unmapped, it is removed from the stacking order used by reverseStack.


This is the default jwgc description file, read if a user's own .jwgc.desc does not exist. This is more or less required to exist, unless you plan on automatically putting a .jwgc.desc in everyone's home directory by default.

jwgc.vars, jwgc.vars.fixed
These contain default jwgc variable settings. Neither are required to exist, nor contain any actual settings. Any settings in jwgc.vars.fixed can -not- be changed by .jwgc.vars, jwgc.vars, or command line options.

.jwgc.vars, .jwgc.desc
These are the user (personal) variable and description files. If a user wishes to customize jwgc, they should create these files in their home directory.

This contains the default X resources for jwgc. These can be in a variety of ways, all explained in X windows documentation.


jwrite(1), jctl(1), jlocate(1), jstat(1)


Daniel Henninger


Copyright (c) 2002 Daniel Henninger. All right reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms explained in the LICENSE file that comes with the jwgc distribution. The bulk of this documentation is taken almost directly from MIT's zwgc man page. I may have reworded a fair amount of it, but it's by far not my original work.