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5.1.2 Out-of-Band Processing

It is possible to compile the server to recognize an out-of-band prefix and an out-of-band quoting prefix for input lines. These are strings that the server will check for at the beginning of every unflushed line of input from a non-binary connection, regardless of whether or not a player is logged in and regardless of whether or not reading tasks are waiting for input on that connection.

This check can be disabled entirely by setting connection option "disable-oob", in which case none of the rest of this section applies, i.e., all subsequent unflushed lines on that connection will be available unchanged for reading tasks or normal command parsing.

Quoted Lines

We first describe how to ensure that a given input line will not be processed as an out-of-band command.

If a given line of input begins with the defined out-of-band quoting prefix (`#$"' by default), that prefix is stripped. The resulting line is then available to reading tasks or normal command parsing in the usual way, even if said resulting line now happens to begin with either the out-of-band prefix or the out-of-band quoting prefix.

For example, if a player types

#$"#$#mcp-client-set-type fancy

the server would behave exactly as if connection option "disable-oob" were set true and the player had instead typed

#$#mcp-client-set-type fancy


If a given line of input begins with the defined out-of-band prefix (`#$#' by default), then it is not treated as a normal command or given as input to any reading task. Instead, the line is parsed into a list of words in the usual way and those words are given as the arguments in a call to $do_out_of_band_command().

If this verb does not exist or is not executable, the line in question will be completely ignored.

For example, with the default out-of-band prefix, the line of input

#$#mcp-client-set-type fancy

would result in the following call being made in a new server task:

$do_out_of_band_command("#$#mcp-client-set-type", "fancy")

During the call to $do_out_of_band_command(), the variable player is set to the object number representing the player associated with the connection from which the input line came. Of course, if that connection has not yet logged in, the object number will be negative. Also, the variable argstr will have as its value the unparsed input line as received on the network connection.

Out-of-band commands are intended for use by advanced client programs that may generate asynchronous events of which the server must be notified. Since the client cannot, in general, know the state of the player's connection (logged-in or not, reading task or not), out-of-band commands provide the only reliable client-to-server communications channel.

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