Now that Leopard is finally here, I've been able to see for myself whether Chax for iChat 4 is feasible. Apple has indeed made Input Managers more secure, although they have yet to close it off entirely. Thanks to an updated SIMBL and the newly-released PlugSuit, loading into other applications is still possible. That being said, iChat 4 is drastically different from iChat 3 in 10.4, and getting Chax working at the same level that it was previously will take some time. Fortunately, it appears that Apple has put the two-and-a-half years since 10.4 to good use. A number of features that Chax supplied in 10.4 are now built-in to iChat in 10.5. I don't think a feature-by-feature comparison with iChat 3 with Chax versus iChat 4 is necessary, but it is obvious that iChat 4 is still missing some features that I know I'd like to have.

One of the biggest things I missed moving up to iChat 4 is Growl notifications. This isn't something I would expect Apple to include in the system by default, but they did provide a way to get our own notifications fairly easily – AppleScript support. I threw together an AppleScript that will display a Growl message each time a message is received. AppleScript events can be set in the Alerts preferences, as shown in this video. You may also notice that there's a few scripts provided by Apple, including auto-accept. If you set the Auto Accept script to run on a Text Invitation event, you'll no longer be bothered by the floating notifier window, just as Chax did in iChat 3.

So where does this leave Chax? As of right now, right here. I'd like to have the contact list customization settings, log viewer, activity log, and Growl support returned first. I don't have a timeframe for this happening, but I'll be posting previews soon.


www at 2007-10-29 13:12:46 -0400

Thanks for the work... just having the ability to change the size of the text in the buddy list would be a blessing!

anonanon at 2007-10-29 13:16:32 -0400

yes! i really miss the visual customizations and the dock alerts with name! i miss my old chax

Tye at 2007-10-29 13:23:31 -0400

The one thing I'm really missing from iChat 4 that Chax provided is the ability to have it automatically resize the buddy list based on the amount of people online. It would also be pretty sweet to see another tab implementation if possible, for those of us who don't prefer it to the side of the chat window (although it's certainly bearable). Thanks for all your work :)

Chris at 2007-10-29 14:02:10 -0400

Thanks for the update. I also miss my old Chax and I'm looking forward to the Leopard update.

TonyK at 2007-10-29 14:04:20 -0400

Thank you for the update. That applescript is really helping!

Martin at 2007-10-29 14:08:05 -0400

I really miss the function, that chax removed that HTML-code from conversations with ICQ-clients. I had to switch to Adium as long as there is no new version of Chax. Thanks a lot for your work!

Paul Nowak at 2007-10-29 14:31:41 -0400

Yes, resizing buddy list is missed :) Also - notification on Dock icon.

Grant at 2007-10-29 14:48:22 -0400

Great to hear that Chax for Leopard is in the works. I couldn't function without Growl support, so I have been running Adium for the past few days. Your work is appreciated.

gurki at 2007-10-29 15:53:34 -0400

Thanks for your work! Does anybody know a way to remove html tags out of icq conversations? would be really great!

Bahamut at 2007-10-29 17:47:13 -0400

With regards to removing html tags from ICQ messages, I had my own iChat hack which did this and only this for iChat 3.x. I've had a go at updating all my definitions for the iChat 4.x classes and overloading the methods that create the html tags. I've used tcpdump to ensure that my outgoing messages had the html tags removed, with great success. However, it caused iChat to become very unstable. The main problem I'm having is that the class definition for AbstractRichTextGenerator is no longer printed out when using class-dump. I could try using the definition from iChat 3.x, but that has a good chance of causing the same stability issues.

jkr801 at 2007-10-29 18:46:06 -0400

could there be a script written for buddies signing off and on holy crap that would make my day..

heckmueller at 2007-10-29 19:00:09 -0400

Chax offered so many features i grew accustomed to, that i really forgott the main one: I primarily talk to people on icq, so as long as there is no way to get rid of that html formating, ichat is a dead thing for me. Chax changed that to my delight because I prefer to use iChat over Adium. Besides me whishing for Chax to develop as fine as it did once already, i'd like to know if anyone has any inside knowledge or idea why they did not change the html formating problem in iChat for Leopard. I mean, it is *not* a feature when sending to an icq client and can't be impossible to prevent - so why are they doing it? Is there an actual reason? I'd be happy to hear any thoughts! :)

scifiguy at 2007-10-29 20:12:11 -0400

The big thing for me is Growl support. I really miss that. I also want to put in my vote for still implementing tabbed chats. I think the way Apple did it is terrible, AND takes up an extra 2 inches of space on the side! The bottom tabs were the best. Looking forward to the update!

kdr4186 at 2007-10-29 21:30:43 -0400

The script was a big help, but I do recommend adding a statement that disables the notifications if iChat is the frontmost application. To anyone who was as bothered by this as I was: it can easily be done by adding 'and application "iChat" is not frontmost' into the first if statement. One thing I would like to see in the next Chax is Away/Idle notifications in a tabbed text chat window. Apple's fading of offline buddies is a start, but there's no way to tell their status. Beyond that, I just want my Tiger Chax back!

fredo at 2007-10-29 21:34:10 -0400

let me just say that if I have overlooked it, sorry. yet I am disappointed with that ichat finally figured out tabbing yet can't grasp the fact of grouping all user names in one list if you have multiple accounts running (aim & google siamotainously) there is a feature that should be addressed. I should not be having to have two separate windows... learn from adium.

Ben at 2007-10-29 22:14:01 -0400

Thanks so much man! Mac OS X wouldn't be nearly as great as it is now without all of our 3rd party developers. Keep up the great work with Chax!

Jed at 2007-10-30 00:23:58 -0400

I really do not like the look of the tabs in the new iChat. If there's any way you can make them look like they did with the older version of iChat with Chax running that would be awesome. In the mean time, I'm using Adium.

Bahamut at 2007-10-30 00:37:07 -0400

Alright, with a helping hand from Kent, I have fixed the issue on my own project which just performs the stripping of html from ICQ messages. I'm keen to spend a little more time after work tonight checking to ensure it doesn't affect stability and to check with tcpdump to ensure that the tags are definitely being stripped. With Kent's permission I'll post up a link to download it when I'm done to keep those of us who are ICQ users happy until the next version of Chax is available. =)

nd at 2007-10-30 02:03:40 -0400

Hey good to see an update coming for Leopard. I just installed Leopard and using their standard is a little annoying. Hope to see all the features of chax brought back for the update. They added tabbed windows, or "all in one" window, but there doesn't seem to be an option to change button configuration to get to the next chat. Always having to accept an incoming message is pretty annoying also. Thanks for the good work!

Adrian Molnar at 2007-10-30 08:01:17 -0400

Hi, happy to see an update for Leopard as well, however i don't know why chax doesn't appear in ichat preferences. I use Plugsuit and it appears within the plugin list, but won't appear in ichat... Do you maybe have any idea what is wrong? Thanks for your effort!

Martin at 2007-10-30 08:19:54 -0400

Another nice feature would be: Get control which contacts are shown via statusbar-icon (the one at the top, where WLAN and VPN and so on are displayed). At the moment, iChat just shows "green" contacts. I would like to see all of my online contacts.

Rainer at 2007-10-30 12:04:22 -0400

I use iChat a lot, and the log viewer with its search function is a precious tool for me ! Thanx for developing Chax !

Kevin at 2007-10-30 13:19:23 -0400

Resizing Buddy List! I *need* it! :)

Jason at 2007-10-30 14:05:04 -0400

I want resizing too, it is driving me mad not having it!

Pellucidity at 2007-10-30 14:54:51 -0400

As someone who donated as a bounty on a feature I have a new request - a unified buddy list for all accounts. I have to say I like Adium's approach here.

JP at 2007-10-30 15:43:59 -0400

Feature that I miss the most is the automatic resizing of the contact window! Please bring that back to use!

Ryan at 2007-10-30 15:44:36 -0400

Log viewer is huge for me. I upgraded my wife's computer over the weekend and needed to look for an old conversation and totally hated having to use spotlight.

scifiguy at 2007-10-30 17:13:33 -0400

@Ryan: yeah, I totally forgot about the built in log viewer. I miss that too. In the meantime you can download Logorrhea, which is simple and free and still works in Leopard @Adrian Molnar: I 'think' the problem with Chax and Plugsuit has to do with some of the things that were stated in the blog...that a lot of the iChat 4.0 back-end working have been changed significantly enough that Chax can't currently plug into them. I have read (correct me if I'm wrong) that Chax is one of the more complex Input Manager plugins, so I would not be surprised if it got broken entirely with iChat 4.

Kent Sutherland at 2007-10-30 17:26:08 -0400

Adrian: Chax 1.5 and below are totally incompatible with iChat 4, and as such will not even attempt to load. Automatic resizing of the contact lists will be coming back in the first version of Chax for 10.5, as will with log viewer. A unified contact list is something I would like to do also, but I don't know if it is possible yet. Kent Sutherland

Brad at 2007-10-30 18:13:26 -0400

Here's a few feature requests that I believe didn't appear in the last release. (LONG POST) 1. It would great if you could lock tabs from being closed automatically. I chat with the the same people on a regular basis and all too often hit one too many CMD+w's and wipe out my regulars. I really like the ability to disable the close buttons on tabs. 2. It would be cool if when you open a new tab to chat with a person (or they start one with you) that iChat (Chax) pull the last few lines of the last log and post it in the chat window above so you can pick up where you left off. This would also be handy for when you close the window JUST as someone sends you a message and you miss it without having to go back and check the log. 3. Would it be possible to be able to specify words in a list that when they appear in a chat automatically become a weblink (on both the sending and receiving end)? If I, or my buddy, type it would know it should be a link because I have .com specified. or, at least anything that starts with www without having to put in the http:// each time. 4. It would be great if you could hit the up and down arrows and scroll through all the previous things you've typed in your history (logs). You could specify how many lines to buffer in prefs. This would be great to save on cutting and pasting for typos. OK now 3 questions.. 1. I don't know if this is an iChat bug or a Chax one, but when I click the audio or video icon next to a buddy, it tries to connect to the buddy underneath it. I log in using an AIM screen name if that makes a difference. 2. Is there a way to keep others from seeing if you've gone idle? I never want to look anything other than available. 3. For some reason, in iChat, you can't see yourself on the buddy list like you can in other AIM flavors. I use this often as I log into the same aim name on several PC and MACs and send messages between then by pasting a chat to my own buddy screen name. I LOVE Chax, thanks. Favorite things to keep in new version: Growl support auto-resizing of buddy list auto reconnect no video pause during file transfers tabbed chats! (and all options, they're perfect!) save window position for each person (would be great in Spaces) logs and viewer Thanks for a great product, Apple should be paying you the big bucks!

Bahamut at 2007-10-30 18:54:22 -0400

Kent, feel free to remove this if you don't want it posted here. I have uploaded a quick hack for us ICQ users that will work with iChat 4 at the website I entered for this post. There is a readme with instructions on installation. Something I've noticed which I will need to fix up: iChat converts all characters to < and > respectively, meaning ICQ users will see < and > if you send messages with these characters in them.

Bahamut at 2007-10-30 18:55:06 -0400

Sorry, iChat converts to &lt; and &gt; respectively.

Graham English at 2007-10-30 21:26:30 -0400

Dig the AppleScript. It makes a big difference for the time being. Thanks.

scifiguy at 2007-10-30 23:46:46 -0400

Anybody have an Applescript to trigger a Growl note when buddy sign on and off?

dietmar at 2007-10-31 09:33:08 -0400

Hi there It would be really cool if u can unify the budylist. So that all accounts are listed in one buddylist. This is the only think which keeps me from using ichat;) BTW if u need an icon design or a GUI designer feel free to send a request. I would do it for free if u like;) cheers dietmar