Some Fun Features in 1.2
Hey folks. A recent discussion on the development list about blogging has sparked me to write about some of the new things in 1.2 that I’ve been working on. You can partly blame Colin for this. Enjoy!
One of the fun features of Adium is the status menu item, often referred to as the “Evil Menu Duck” (or EMD). It’s the little duck that sits in your menu bar and tells you all kind of information about your status. Coming in 1.2 is a bunch of additions and changes to the little guy.
The most obvious change is the inclusion of a Contacts list, which lets you quickly message contacts without having to go to the contact list itself. It shows the contact’s status and user icon next to their name.
You can also hold option while clicking on the status item (as shown in the second image) to just get the contacts menu on its own. Very quick, very easy access to your contact list.
As you can see, there have also been several other changes to it. The menu bar now tells you how many unread messages you have (in this case, I have 1, from myself). Open chats also have the user’s icon instead of their status icon, and tab-order is respected in their list.
Account-specific status has been moved to a sub-menu if you have more than 1 account. From the accounts submenu, you can quickly open the accounts list (you’ll see why you’ll want to in a bit).
In cleaning it up, I’ve also removed a few of the items that used to be there. “Bring Adium to Front”, “Show/Hide Contact List” and “Quit Adium” are all gone. I don’t think they were used often enough and were making the menu a lot more cluttered. You can open the contact list quickly by clicking “Contact List…” in the Contacts menu.
Menu Bar Icon Xtras can now specify whether or not the “unread content” icon flashes on and off. This makes catching your attention a lot easier when you get a new message. We’ll be including a more flashy (and colorful) version of the Adiumy menu bar xtra to complement the current one with the release of 1.2.
Accounts List and Reconnecting
The other major project I’ve been working on is making account connection status a lot easier and more obvious. Accounts will no longer give up trying to connect to the server, but will instead attempt to (at an exponential decay) connect indefinitely. Of course, things like invalid passwords, signing on at another location and rate limiting will stop the reconnect attempts.
Most accounts have steps for logging in, such as “Connecting”, “Authenticating”, “Sending Password”, etc. Previously we’d drop the information; now it’s displayed inline in the accounts list. Error messages are also shown in the same location. When the network isn’t available, the account will be labeled as “Network Offline”.
You can right-click on any of the accounts to quickly change their options or set their individual status from inside the account list. I’ve also added a new command to the File menu that is “Connect All Accounts”. Early in the 1.0 beta, setting an online status would connect all offline accounts. This behavior was reverted, but an easy way to connect offline accounts was never reintroduced.
In my testing, I’ve had no situations where an account doesn’t somehow manage to get back online when disconnected.
Of course these aren’t the only changes that can be found in 1.2. Lots of work has been put into it so far, and the finished product is going to be quite nice. Oh and MSN users, get ready for some fun new features (yes, working personal messages is one of them).