mIRC is an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client for Microsoft Windows, created in 1995 and developed by Khaled Mardam-Bey. Although it is a fully functional chat utility, its integrated scripting language makes it extensible and versatile.
mIRC has been downloaded over twenty-six million times from CNET's www.download.com service. Nielsen//NetRatings also ranked mIRC among the top ten most popular Internet applications in 2003.
It is unknown if the "m" in mIRC stands for anything (the author's personal FAQ explains that "it quite possibly stands for 'moo', or perhaps even MU"). The author pronounces it "m-I-R-C", or "mirk" for short.
Khaled Mardam-Bey decided to create mIRC because he found the first IRC client for Windows, WinIRC, lacked some basic IRC features. Then he continued developing it due to the challenge and the fact that people appreciated his work. The subsequent popularity allowed him to make a living out of mIRC. It costs $20 to register it after the 30-day evaluation period. Recent versions of mIRC also spawn new browser windows with the registration page.
mIRC has a number of features that set it apart from other IRC clients. One of the more obvious differences is its own advanced scripting language (see below) which is further developed with each version. The scripting language can be used to make minor changes to the program like custom commands (aliases), but can also be used to completely alter the behavior and appearance of mIRC. Another widely used feature is mIRC's file sharing abilities, via the DCC protocol. It also has a built in file server.
Over the years various other features that have often been suggested by users have been incorporated. This includes support for multiple server connections, SSL, UTF-8 display support and an option to view channels and notify lists in a treebar format rather than the default switchbar. mIRC is still in active development but it is very rarely announced what features will be introduced in the future.
mIRC's abilities and behaviors can be altered and extended using the embedded mIRC scripting language.
mIRC scripting is not limited to IRC related events and commands. There is also support for COM objects, calling DLLs, sockets and dialog boxes, among other things. This allows the client to be used in a variety of ways beyond chatting, for example as an IRC bot, a media player, a web HTML parser or for other entertainment purposes such as mIRC games. In practice however, mIRC will not be used solely for such specific purposes, but rather scripts for such purposes are addons for the client, which will otherwise be used for chatting.
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