My Miranda IM Experience - Part 4 - Plugin Customization

Submitted by Lo Yuk Fai on Tue, 2008-10-14 12:52

This last part will focus on the rest of the customization.

I originally intended to write in more detail about the customization process and the reasons behind each tweak. But then the articles will probably become too tedious and boring.

Also, besides recommending Miranda, these articles serve as a log for myself, in case I need to setup Miranda from scratch in future.

At the current form, I hope they are good enough both to generate interest for this nice program, and for my personal need.

Classic Contact List

I use the Classic contact list because I prefer its simple and minimal interface to the more graphical and extensible Modern and Nicer+ (Download).

2008-10-22: While Classic supports customized colours and background images, Modern and Nicer+ have more comprehensive "skinning" (or "theming") systems. For example, to make your contact list looks like an iPhone. You may check out this Google Image search for some examples. More are available on the Addons site and other places.

The obvious setting change is to hide offline contacts. You can also change this using the main context menu (right-click on empty space of the contact list). Besides, I use the single click interface too - When enabled, you can click the tray icon once to bring up or hide the contact list.

I chose to hide the vertical scroll bar so to maximize the available space. I can still scroll the contact list using the mouse wheel or keyboard.

The status bar is also removed as I saw not much use for it. And I made Miranda to be always on top and disabled the title bar. Fading in/out is enabled as well.

Finally, transparency is set at 19% for inactive mode and 78% for active mode. I set a high transparency for inactive mode, in case I want to leave the contact list on the screen, don't want it to be too much a distraction, but still able to access it quickly (by hovering the cursor above it).

Send/Receive Messages (SRMM)

SRMM is the default message dialog plugin. If you prefer more (e.g. Tab support). Try Scriver and tabSRMM.

Few changes were made, I use the contact's status icon as the window icon. It's a bit more informative but still maintains a minimal stance. The "Send" button is also shown to make it easier to send messages when operating my convertible tablet in slate mode.

Events that are less than 10-minute old are loaded when a new message dialog is brought up, just in case the previous one is closed accidentally.

The below plugins are not included by default.

Updater

Miranda checks for core updates automatically, this utility checks the rest plugins for you.

However, I have doubt whether it works for all plugins. Since some of them don't utilize the Addons site for posting updates.

UpdaterUpdater

2008-10-19: It seems that Updater doesn't work fully on Vista boxes due to permission issues. It can check for updates but cannot update the files automatically.

History++ (Alternative Site)

The built-in history browser is functional. This one is miles ahead through.

Built-in HistoryBuilt-in History

History++History++

SmileyAdd

This is necessary for graphical emoticons to work. Remember to extract the "smileys" folder as well during installation. Additional smileys can be downloaded from the Addons site.

The main reason I installed it is to see the emoticons from others. The default settings are fine with me, except that I don't feel a need to be informed whenever someone send a custom smiley to me via MSN, because I can see in the message dialog anyway. You have to disable it in the MSN module through.

Zero Notifications

The ding ding sounds echoing when new messages arrive are indicative but they can become a distraction or annoying in certain times. So with this utility I made them roaring only in online and free for chat mode.

Tipper YM

The classic contact list cannot show the status messages of your contacts. I like it that way because showing them will consume much space in the contact list. If you prefer to have them shown you need to use one of the other contact lists.

Even without an alternative contact list, one can still read a contact's status message by using the context menu (right-click on a contact).

This utility brings a good balance. It itself brings up a popup when the cursor hovers above a contact, showing the status message among other information.

I disabled the fade in effect to speed up the popup appearing.

Tipper YMTipper YM

Popup Plus (Alternative Site) and Message Notify

These 2 plugins combined bring Outlook 2003-like popups for new messages.

The defaults make the message comes and goes too fast and abruptly for my slow eyes and mind through. So I adjusted the popup delay to 7 seconds, change the display and vanish time to 500ms and 1000ms respectively.

I also changed the position to the lower right corner.

If you use Vista, you may like to enable the Aero Glass option in the advanced tab as well.

Popup PlusPopup Plus

DBEditor++

You may think it's the registry editor for Miranda.

Warning: Use with caution.

Epilogue

I think I've only barely scratched the surface of the "customizability" of Miranda. If you want to go further, check out the Miranda forums.

Speaking of the forums, they're also the places whereas you're most likely to get help. Some of the threads about plugins are >100-page long and growing.

Although there are enthusiastic people hanging around to answer questions. They do so on a voluntarily basis and I would suggest refraining from posting questions whenever you got one. Instead, use the search function and see if it's been asked and answered already.

And of course, your friend across the room or currently online may give you an answer even quicker.

There's also a Bug Tracker which is a more formal place to report bugs and make feature requests.

One last thing which may be important in affecting some people's decision, Miranda, and some of its plugins, are released under the GPL license (Read: Open source).

Other Parts

Part 1 - Introduction
Part 2 - Installation
Part 3 - Core customization

( categories: )