Getting started with Lita

Lita is an extendable chat bot for Ruby programmers that can work with any chat service. If you've used Hubot before, Lita is similar, but written in Ruby instead of JavaScript. It's easy to get started, and you can have your own bot running in minutes.

Lita uses regular RubyGems as plugins. You'll need at least one "adapter" gem to connect to the chat service of your choice. Add as many "handler" gems as you want to add functionality to your bot.

  1. Install the lita gem.

    $ gem install lita
  2. Create a new Lita project.

    $ lita new

    This will create a new directory called lita with a Gemfile and Lita configuration file.

  3. Edit the Gemfile, uncommenting or adding the plugins you want to use. There should be an adapter gem (such as lita-hipchat or lita-irc) and as many handler gems as you'd like. For example:

    source ""
    gem "lita"
    gem "lita-hipchat"
    gem "lita-karma"
    gem "lita-google-images"
  4. Install all the gems you specified in the Gemfile:

    $ bundle install
  5. Install Redis. On OS X, you can use Homebrew with brew install redis.

  6. Test Lita out right in your terminal with the built-in shell adapter.

    $ bundle exec lita

    Type "Lita: help" to get a list of commands available to you.

  7. Edit the Lita configuration file to add connection information for the chat service you're using. For example, if you're using the HipChat adapter, it might look something like this:

    Lita.configure do |config| = "Lita Bot"
      config.robot.adapter = :hipchat
      config.adapter.jid = ""
      config.adapter.password = "secret"
      config.adapter.rooms = :all

    You'll want to consult the documentation for whichever adapter you're using for all the configuration options. If you're going to deploy Lita to Heroku, you'll want to add the Redis To Go add on and set config.redis.url = ENV["REDISTOGO_URL"].

  8. Deploy your Lita project anywhere you like. If you're deploying to Heroku, you can use a Procfile like this:

    web: bundle exec lita

    Lita also has built-in support for daemonization if you want to deploy it to your own server.

Be sure to visit the Lita home page for lots more information on usage, configuration, and adding your own behavior to your robot!