Technical Documentation

Welcome to the irdest technical documentation. Following is an outline of the system, which will hopefully give you an initial understanding of the project stack.

This manual is relevant for both irdest hackers, and irdest application developers.

Note to future editors: make sure every major component has an internals section, so to make it convenient to skip.


Fundamentally, irdest is a highly distributed system. It is not accountable to a single set of rules across all devices that are part of this system. Each device can be home to many users, that can all send messages to each other, but have separate states. Furthermore, connections in this system are not always real time.

A lot of traditional networking infrastructe is built up in layers. Similarly, the irdest project replicates these layers. To give you a better understanding of what parts of the irdest project do what, here's an overview of the layers in a full irdest application stack.

LayerComponent nameDescription
Network driversnetmod, netmod-tcp, ...Network drivers to establish and manage connections with peers via different underlying transport mechansms
Irdest RouterratmanA decentralised packet router using cryptographic public keys as addresses for users
Service API coreirdest-coreThe main irdest state handler, managing an encrypted database, user profiles, and more
Irdest RPCirpc-sdk, irp-brokerA generic RPC protocol to connect different irdest services together
Servicesirdest-chat, irdest-groups, ...A service is a micro application (or actor) that communicates with other services via the irpc bus
Clientsirdest-hubd, irdest-gtkUser facing applications that uses a collection of services and the RPC layer to implement different features

Services & clients

A service is a client on the irdest RPC interface. A service MAY expose an API to other services. An example of such a service is irdest-groups, which implements encrypted group management logic.

A service that does not expose an API of its own can be referred to as a "client service". Technically all user-interfaces are client services.

The irdest project develops and ships a set of core services, that can all be used via the irdest-sdk library. Check out the Rust documentation to find out how you can write a simple client service using these existing APIs.

Irdest RPC

The irdest RPC interface uses a central broker (called irpc-broker) which listens for connections over local TCP connections. This broker is included in the irdest-hubd client. A development utility client is available: irpc-client.

TODO: link to example service section

Irdest core

The irdest-core manages user identities.


This is arguably the heart of the irdest application stack. Ratman is a fully decentralised, delay tolerant gossip router. It provides an API that takes messages to send to peers on the network, and returns messages received from the network.

It handles announcements, network segmentation, message journaling, route updates, and networked archive storage.

Addresses on a Ratman network are 32-byte ed25519 public keys, meaning that all direct messages are automatically encrypted.

Network Modules