Ejabberd Developers Guide

Alexey Shchepin

I can thoroughly recommend ejabberd for ease of setup – Kevin Smith, Current maintainer of the Psi project



ejabberd is a free and open source instant messaging server written in Erlang/OTP.

ejabberd is cross-platform, distributed, fault-tolerant, and based on open standards to achieve real-time communication.

ejabberd is designed to be a rock-solid and feature rich XMPP server.

ejabberd is suitable for small deployments, whether they need to be scalable or not, as well as extremely big deployments.

1  Key Features

ejabberd is:

2  Additional Features

Moreover, ejabberd comes with a wide range of other state-of-the-art features:

3  How it Works

A XMPP domain is served by one or more ejabberd nodes. These nodes can be run on different machines that are connected via a network. They all must have the ability to connect to port 4369 of all another nodes, and must have the same magic cookie (see Erlang/OTP documentation, in other words the file ~ejabberd/.erlang.cookie must be the same on all nodes). This is needed because all nodes exchange information about connected users, S2S connections, registered services, etc…

Each ejabberd node have following modules:

3.1  Router

This module is the main router of XMPP packets on each node. It routes them based on their destinations domains. It has two tables: local and global routes. First, domain of packet destination searched in local table, and if it found, then the packet is routed to appropriate process. If no, then it searches in global table, and is routed to the appropriate ejabberd node or process. If it does not exists in either tables, then it sent to the S2S manager.

3.2  Local Router

This module routes packets which have a destination domain equal to this server name. If destination JID has a non-empty user part, then it routed to the session manager, else it is processed depending on it’s content.

3.3  Session Manager

This module routes packets to local users. It searches for what user resource packet must be sent via presence table. If this resource is connected to this node, it is routed to C2S process, if it connected via another node, then the packet is sent to session manager on that node.

3.4  S2S Manager

This module routes packets to other XMPP servers. First, it checks if an open S2S connection from the domain of the packet source to the domain of packet destination already exists. If it is open on another node, then it routes the packet to S2S manager on that node, if it is open on this node, then it is routed to the process that serves this connection, and if a connection does not exist, then it is opened and registered.

4  Authentication

4.0.1  External

The external authentication script follows the erlang port driver API.

That script is supposed to do theses actions, in an infinite loop:

Example python script


import sys
from struct import *

def from_ejabberd():
    input_length = sys.stdin.read(2)
    (size,) = unpack('>h', input_length)
    return sys.stdin.read(size).split(':')

def to_ejabberd(bool):
    answer = 0
    if bool:
        answer = 1
    token = pack('>hh', 2, answer)

def auth(username, server, password):
    return True

def isuser(username, server):
    return True

def setpass(username, server, password):
    return True

while True:
    data = from_ejabberd()
    success = False
    if data[0] == "auth":
        success = auth(data[1], data[2], data[3])
    elif data[0] == "isuser":
        success = isuser(data[1], data[2])
    elif data[0] == "setpass":
        success = setpass(data[1], data[2], data[3])

5  XML Representation

Each XML stanza is represented as the following tuple:

XMLElement = {xmlelement, Name, Attrs, [ElementOrCDATA]}
        Name = string()
        Attrs = [Attr]
        Attr = {Key, Val}
        Key = string()
        Val = string()
        ElementOrCDATA = XMLElement | CDATA
        CDATA = {xmlcdata, string()}

E. g. this stanza:

<message to='test@conference.example.org' type='groupchat'>

is represented as the following structure:

{xmlelement, "message",
    [{"to", "test@conference.example.org"},
     {"type", "groupchat"}],
    [{xmlelement, "body",
         [{xmlcdata, "test"}]}]}}

6  Module xml

element_to_string(El) -> string()
El = XMLElement
Returns string representation of XML stanza El.
crypt(S) -> string()
S = string()
Returns string which correspond to S with encoded XML special characters.
remove_cdata(ECList) -> EList
ECList = [ElementOrCDATA]
EList = [XMLElement]
EList is a list of all non-CDATA elements of ECList.
get_path_s(El, Path) -> Res
El = XMLElement
Path = [PathItem]
PathItem = PathElem | PathAttr | PathCDATA
PathElem = {elem, Name}
PathAttr = {attr, Name}
PathCDATA = cdata
Name = string()
Res = string() | XMLElement
If Path is empty, then returns El. Else sequentially consider elements of Path. Each element is one of:
{elem, Name} Name is name of subelement of El, if such element exists, then this element considered in following steps, else returns empty string.
{attr, Name} If El have attribute Name, then returns value of this attribute, else returns empty string.
cdata Returns CDATA of El.
         get_cdata/1, get_tag_cdata/1
         get_attr/2, get_attr_s/2
         get_tag_attr/2, get_tag_attr_s/2

7  Module xml_stream

parse_element(Str) -> XMLElement | {error, Err}
Str = string()
Err = term()
Parses Str using XML parser, returns either parsed element or error tuple.

8  Modules

8.1  Module gen_iq_handler

The module gen_iq_handler allows to easily write handlers for IQ packets of particular XML namespaces that addressed to server or to users bare JIDs.

In this module the following functions are defined:

add_iq_handler(Component, Host, NS, Module, Function, Type)
Component = Module = Function = atom()
Host = NS = string()
Type = no_queue | one_queue | parallel
Registers function Module:Function as handler for IQ packets on virtual host Host that contain child of namespace NS in Component. Queueing discipline is Type. There are at least two components defined:
ejabberd_local Handles packets that addressed to server JID;
ejabberd_sm Handles packets that addressed to users bare JIDs.
remove_iq_handler(Component, Host, NS)
Component = atom()
Host = NS = string()
Removes IQ handler on virtual host Host for namespace NS from Component.

Handler function must have the following type:

Module:Function(From, To, IQ)
From = To = jid()




-define(NS_CPUTIME, "ejabberd:cputime").

start(Host, Opts) ->
    IQDisc = gen_mod:get_opt(iqdisc, Opts, one_queue),
    gen_iq_handler:add_iq_handler(ejabberd_local, Host, ?NS_CPUTIME,
                                  ?MODULE, process_local_iq, IQDisc).

stop(Host) ->
    gen_iq_handler:remove_iq_handler(ejabberd_local, Host, ?NS_CPUTIME).

process_local_iq(From, To, {iq, ID, Type, XMLNS, SubEl}) ->
    case Type of
        set ->
            {iq, ID, error, XMLNS,
             [SubEl, ?ERR_NOT_ALLOWED]};
        get ->
            CPUTime = element(1, erlang:statistics(runtime))/1000,
            SCPUTime = lists:flatten(io_lib:format("~.3f", CPUTime)),
            {iq, ID, result, XMLNS,
             [{xmlelement, "query",
               [{"xmlns", ?NS_CPUTIME}],
               [{xmlelement, "cputime", [], [{xmlcdata, SCPUTime}]}]}]}

8.2  Services



-export([start/2, init/1, stop/1]).


start(Host, Opts) ->
    MyHost = gen_mod:get_opt(host, Opts, "echo." ++ Host),
    register(gen_mod:get_module_proc(Host, ?PROCNAME),
             spawn(?MODULE, init, [MyHost])).

init(Host) ->

loop(Host) ->
        {route, From, To, Packet} ->
            ejabberd_router:route(To, From, Packet),
        stop ->
        _ ->

stop(Host) ->
    Proc = gen_mod:get_module_proc(Host, ?PROCNAME),
    Proc ! stop,
    {wait, Proc}.

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.