GSOC report: Moving matrix-ircd to async/await and futures 0.3

2020-09-18 — GSOC — Brooks Karlik

This is part of a series of reports on the six projects assigned to Matrix for Google Summer of Code 2020.

View project: Moving matrix-ircd to async/await and futures 0.3

The goal of this project was to port matrix-ircd from the outdated combinators style of futures 0.1 to the new-and-improved style of futures 0.3. As initially proposed, this greatly improves code readability and removes the convoluted compiler errors that were pervasive in futures 0.1


The matrix-ircd project functions as a bridge between two chat platforms: Internet relay chat (irc) and Matrix. matrix-ircd lets you use any standard IRC Client to communicate with Matrix chatrooms and direct messages.


This project is mentored by Philipp Mandler (@phlmn) and Jonas Platte (@jplatte). I would like to thank them for the helpful advice and code reviews they have given me over the course of GSoC 2020.

Project Results

Since much of the code was written in late 2016, there were many portions of the code that were unidiomatic and produced compiler errors. The first step I made was to remove all compiler errors from cargo and clippy in #64.

Additional tests were then written in various parts of the codebase to ensure that the upgrade would produce the same results. These changes were made in #64 and #66.

Since the project master branch currently used a custom http implementation, I moved it to use hyper, a fast and correct http implementation that already supported async/await. Additionally, I moved the module that most utilized http, matrix, to async-await and the new hyper code. Not only did these changes shrink the code by ~700 lines, they also removed a lot of unnecessary complexity. These changes were made in #67.

The last large module remaining, irc, was then ported to irc, along with its dependencies in and its upstream user in the bridge module. The most exciting part of these changes was the removal of the futures 0.1 dependency. All code was now running in futures 0.3! These changes also moved away from tasked-futures which further improved code readability. This PR was in #71.

Since the bulk of the changes were now complete, I moved onto bug fixes. As @jplatte mentioned in #71, the current single threaded approach to the application was not ideal. In #72 I updated all code to be multithreaded-compatible.

Lastly, In #77 I included more tests to functions with heavy changes, added additional logging, removed unnecessary complexity that was introduced to keep code as "1:1" as possible, and added TLS support to hyper so that https would work. This patch also fixed a rather difficult bug regarding the irc TCP streams and the buffer they were reading into.

Remaining Work

Based on my personal testing there is no additional work to be done in the realm of updating to async/await. All tests pass and the IRC server and matrix bridge function as expected. @jplatte kindly announced in the This Week In Matrix blog that we will be conducting public testing of the async_await branch on github. Barring any issues the async/await code should be merged into the master branch in the next few weeks.

Pull request list