In Depth Review of Adium 1.0

The Adium icon/logo.Yesterday, Adium, a popular multi-protocol instant message client, finally hit version 1.0, and I’m very happy to say that the result of six years of hard work came out great. Wow, do I love Adium.

It’s got tons of new features, and, according to this press release, it’s got hundreds of bug fixes.

Installation

Installing Adium couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve downloaded the disk image from the Adium website, you’re treated to a beautiful graphic, courtesy of Adam Betts. This graphic explains very clearly how to install Adium.
Installation is a very simple two-step process:

  1. Drag the Adium icon to your applications folder.
  2. Eat your shoe.

Adam Betts' installation graphic.

Setup Assistant

A great new feature in Adium 1.0 is the setup assistant. If you’re a first time user, this will really help you get started quick.
The setup assistant.

Adding accounts from the setup assistant couldn’t be easier.
Adding an account from the setup assistant.

Now you’re ready to begin using Adium!
The last screen of the setup assistant.

Growl

On its first launch, Adium asks you to install Growl. (Growl installation happens automatically and seamlessly if you accept.) Growl is a notification system, which means that, for example, it displays a small, unobtrusive notification whenever someone sends you a message in Adium.
A Growl notification.
This message appears, by default, in the upper-right corner of your screen.

Growl is really really useful because it allows you to know that you have a message, without being inturrupted by an alert sound.

Of course, Growl, just like Adium, is very customizable. You can customize everything from what notifications you receive, to what those notifications look like.
A customized Growl notification.

Growl can also send you notifications from tons of other apps, including iTunes, Mail, Safari, and Transmit (my favorite FTP app), so I highly recommend that you install it.

Xtras

Now that Adium is installed, you might want to begin customizing the look and feel of Adium. Fortunatly, the Adium makes this easy. Adium Xtras are third-party add-ons for Adium, such as dock icons, message styles, and sound sets. Xtras can be installed with one click from the Adium Xtras website. They’re downloaded and installed automatically for you, which is great.
Downloading an Xtra
One minor complaint that I have here is that, if you download an Xtra that has many variants, such as the different colored icons of Vectory Ducks, you have to click through lots of these windows:
Annoying little window.
Annoying little window.
etc.

Some of my personal favorite Xtras include:

The minimal_mod message style (included with Adium 1.0).
The minimal_mod message style.

The Vectory Ducks dock icon set.
The Vectory Ducks dock icon set.

And the 8-Bit Bass sound set.

Xtras Manager

The Xtras Manager is a new feature that allows you to delete Xtras that you have installed, without digging through Application Support folders.

The Xtras Manager is nice, but I feel like a lot more could be done with this feature. For example, I’d like to be able to activate Xtras from within the Xtras Manager.

Guest Accounts

Another great new feature is that people can sign onto accounts, from your Adium, and not save any of their info after they sign off.
This is really great for when I have friends at my house who want to use AIM.
Connecting a guest account.

Global Personal Settings

As Adium is a multi-protocol client, many people who use it will have a lot of accounts. The new global personal settings preference pane allows you to set a buddy icon and a profile for all of your accounts at once. This is really really useful. No longer do you have to change your buddy icon twelve times to change it on all of your accounts.
Changing global personal settings.

Customizability

Of course, the best part of Adium is how customizable it is. You can change pretty much every part of the look of Adium, from the typefaces used to the amount of spacing on the sides of your contact list. If there’s one reason I use Adium, this it is.

Conclusion

Overall, I’d say version 1.0 is an excellent update to an already great app. It still has a few annoying bugs (such as how all my Gmail contacts are added to my Gtalk buddy list every time I sign on), and it still has a few features I want (IRC), but it also has some great new features, and overall it’s much more stable.

That, and you can’t beat the price (it’s free)!

loading

Comments have been disabled for this post