hubot-imessage

An iMessage (and general AppleScript) adapter for hubot

npm install hubot-imessage
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Hubot iMessage Adapter

Description

This is an adapter for Hubot that lets you communicate with Hubot via Apple iMessage.

Installation and Setup

Since Apple doesn't (currently) offer an API for accessing the iMessage protocol, the only way Hubot can use iMessage is by communicating with Messages.app through AppleScript. As such, using hubot-imessage requires Hubot to be running on a machine with OS X 10.8 or newer.

Download the latest version of Hubot (more info at https://github.com/github/hubot). Extract it somewhere, and then add both hubot and hubot-imessage to the dependency section of your package.json:

dependencies: {
    // more dependencies here...
    "hubot": ">=1.4.6",
    "hubot-imessage": ">=0.0.1"
}

You likely also want to add the hubot-scripts package as well; see the regular Hubot documentation for more info.

Run npm install to properly install your dependencies.

Configure Messages.app

At this point, you've got a basic Hubot instance, but the Hubot iMessage adapter requires some additional setup.

  1. You'll need to set up a secondary iMessage account for your Hubot. Sign up for a new Apple ID at https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/wa/createAppleId and sign in to it from your desktop Messages.app.

  2. Open $HUBOT_PATH/node_modules/hubot-imessage/src/sendMessage.scpt (here, and all other times $HUBOT_PATH is mentioned, replace it with the actual path to your Hubot instance) in AppleScript Editor (located in /Applications/Utilities). On line 6, replace $HUBOT_PATH with the full path to your base Hubot dir.

  3. In order for Messages.app to properly route conversations to Hubot, it needs to be set up to run a few AppleScripts in response to events. Open up Messages.app, then its Preferences pane from the title menu. Go to the Alerts tab.

  4. Select the event "Text Invitation". Check the box for "Run an AppleScript", and select Auto Accept.applescript from the dropdown menu.

  5. Select the event "Message Received". Check the box for "Run an AppleScript". In the selection dropdown, click "Choose Script". Find and select messageReceived.scpt, which is located in $HUBOT_PATH/node_modules/hubot-imessage/src (and which you should have already edited, as per the above section).

  6. Messages.app is now configured to accept iMessages from any user, but Hubot will only repsond to commands sent from iMessage users in its whitelist. Hubot reads in a comma-separated list of iMessage IDs from the environment variable HUBOT_IMESSAGE_HANDLES to know who to trust. iMessage IDs typically take the format of +15551234 or E:steve@mac.com. You can easily set this from your Terminal with something like:

    export HUBOT_IMESSAGE_HANDLES=+15551234,E:steve@mac.com

Usage

Run Hubot with the following command:

$HUBOT_PATH/node_modules/.bin/hubot -a imessage

I'd probably recommend creating an alias for it, or adding $HUBOT_PATH/node_modules/.bin to your $PATH.

From there, you can treat it just as you would any normal Hubot instance with regards to installing custom scripts, etc.

Warnings and Miscellanea

Typically, you'd host a Hubot on Heroku or something similar; requiring OS X makes that impossible. There are a few unfortunate snags I've found from running Hubot / hubot-imessage on a consumer desktop OS:

  • Messages.app doesn't let you sign in to multiple iMessage accounts at the same time. If you want to be able to send iMessages from your main account on your home computer, you may want to set up a second machine to act as a dedicated Hubot server.

  • If your computer is in sleep mode, Hubot won't respond immediately. However, the iMessages you send will queue up; when your computer comes awake, Hubot will process and respond to messages in the order in which they were received.

  • When using Hubot in a chat room setting, many commands require you to type Hubot's name before the command. If you enter help to get a list of commands, many will list the prefix, but you do NOT need to enter it.

Extending

All iMessage-specific functionality for hubot-imessage lives in AppleScript scripts rather than the core CoffeeScript code, meaning it would be really easy to adapt to support any arbitrary AppleScript-based I/O flow.

To send incoming text to Hubot, just run the messageReceiver.coffee script with three arguments: the user ID of the sender (any string, provided it's whitelisted in the HUBOT_IMESSAGE_HANDLES env variable), the message to be sent, and a friendly name for the sender. If Hubot is running, it will receive the message.

When Hubot is ready to send a message out to a user, it calls sendMessage.scpt with two arguments: the user ID of the user (corresponding to the user ID passed in with a received message) and the message to send. You can easily replace that with your own custom AppleScript that takes in those same arguments.

Contribute

I gladly accept pull requests!

License

(c) Michael Walker Licensed under the MIT License. See LICENSE for more info.

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