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Submitted By mathuaerknedam


There are now two versions of Tül. Tül Elysian is the classic Tül for light backgrounds and Tül Stygian is Tül for dark backgrounds.

Sender display is no longer a user-selectable option, but is displayed automatically in groupchat (as of Adium 1.3).

The über-minimalist message style. The inline variants easily make it the most compact message style available. It's predicated on the belief that icons, service info, screennames, and timestamps are usually extraneous clutter and that the display of these details in a tültip not only adequate, but preferable.

There is a sense in which aNon and Tül are brothers. Where aNon explores different concepts without limiting the number of variants, Tül hopes to refine the best ideas from aNon while exploring the additional features of inline text and stark (yet usable) minimalism. Tül may occasionally adopt new variants and old variants may be retired in hopes of preserving only the best of breed.

• Everything has some degree of transparency, and everything scales to whatever size makes you happy. (The bars may be *too* transparent for high-contrast backgrounds; please let me know if it's a problem.)

• If you select "Show user icons" in the messages prefpane, Tül will display the icon of the last person to send a message. It displays it at its native size, and it's ghosted behind the message text. Take a look at the screenshots below to see what it looks like.

• If you select "Show header" in the messages prefpane, Tül will hide all status messages except date separators.

• Hovering the cursor over any message will highlight that message. As of Adium 1.3, hovering the cursor over the sender in a groupchat will highlight all other messages from that sender. Props to David Smith for the javascript.

Known Issues:

Copy/Paste ugliness. As far as I can tell, this is a bug in Apple's Webkit, and I have no way to work around it.

Small emoticons. If you know of a way to get emoticons to "float" vertically on the appropriate line without altering the line's height, I'd love to hear about it.

The hover effects can get slow in long chats (several hundred lines).

Please report any other bugs/limitations you find.


(08/06/08) 2.3:

Renamed "Tül" to "Tül Elysian" (light) and added "Tül Stygian" (dark).
Removed spiffy fade from background hover states. A webkit bug caused Adium to hold on to cpu (sometimes at 100%) until you closed the chat window!
Disabled buddy icons in groupchat since you'd only see your own.
Misc code tweaks.


You can reply to individual comments by clicking the "Reply" link next to each.

# by on 07/22/04 at 23:03:40

Interesting. (You stole my idea! Or, had the same one...) I might still try a different implementation of it, though; a tad less minimalist (and perhaps with a 'copy-friendly' variant).

# by Nooon on 07/23/04 at 01:01:27

innovative, but not very functional..

# by mathuaerknedam on 07/23/04 at 14:15:17

While I'm not surprised that this would be an unpopular message style, I find it highly functional and it's my default! What in particular do you find non-functional about it?

# by SteveT on 07/25/04 at 05:25:57

I wasn't really a big fan after trying this for a little, until I tried to switch back to something else. The most functional message style there is

# by The Valrus on 07/28/04 at 21:06:08

T?l? Is that Hungarian? Or am I a git?

# by mathuaerknedam on 07/29/04 at 13:24:04

Heh, No. I named it using an idiosyncratic spelling of tool (since this was designed to introduce the use of tooltips and maximize their use), and it was the perfect opportunity to make legitimate use of an umlaut. :) I probably should have googled for the string first, though. Google shows the string being used on German and Turkish domains, though I have no idea what it means. Incidently, this page is Google's eleventh listing!

# by on 07/30/04 at 18:45:53

I must say that this in now my favorite Message View Style. It's not that it's pretty but innovative. I had to tweek it a bit but that aside it's a great idea.

keep up the good work!

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/19/08 at 21:41:29

I'm curious how you tweaked it to work better for you. Thanks!

# by on 08/02/04 at 12:02:51

This style is great! There seems to be a small bug though: the text doesn't show sometimes when you receive a new message from a contact you've been talking to but who's been offline (at least it seems to be that way). Once you resize the window, the text shows.

# by Sigma on 08/09/04 at 09:58:30

Yeah, pretty neat idea... most compact theme :)

# by on 10/08/04 at 17:11:43

I get same problem as mel, as well as some text getting cut off along the right edge of the window.

# by on 10/10/04 at 22:01:54

I really like it. I just wish that you can add a pic to the bg, or let the font color change in the view. Also, I've had the same problems as burke and Mel. It would be really cool it you can have a translucent window to match my buddy list.

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/11/04 at 17:19:18

Ter: As far as I know, Adium currently provides no mechanism for changing the color in which you see outgoing text, or support translucent message windows. I can't do anything about those, sorry. You should be able to select an image for the background of the message view under preferences -> message -> background -> custom...

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/11/04 at 17:21:48

As for the problem seen by Mel, burke, and Ter, I can't seem to reliably duplicate the problem. I've looked into it but can't find anything that should cause it. And since I can't duplicate it, I can't really experiment with fixes either. :(

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/14/04 at 13:50:48

Okay, I can now reliably duplicate the problem, and I'm trying to figure out the cause and/or a fix. FWIW, the problem disappears if your window is small enough and you have message history set large enough to produce a scroll bar. That's why *I* wasn't seeing it. :)

# by bob_the_gorilla on 10/17/04 at 11:28:16

Great style, I love it.

I had the same scrolling problem with my style; it seemed to go away by itself after some more editing. Not sure why, I'm no CSS wizard. Temporarily I added some padding to the chat window to sort it out.

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/20/04 at 19:49:39

Is anyone *not* using one of the inline variants when you see this problem?

# by on 10/20/04 at 23:33:17

I have this problem with inline, too. Otherwise it'd be my favorite!

# by Anonymous on 10/21/04 at 22:58:30

I created a forum thread to facilitate discussion.

# by on 10/28/04 at 04:47:41

Great theme! I modded the colors so it's nicer to me, but that was it.

# by darmot7 on 11/21/04 at 05:42:21

what about using the mockie mod, big icon in the upper corner for this.. for all the people who would like a buddy icon?

# by on 11/21/04 at 14:50:56

can somebody post a transparent theme that shows the same background that's on the desktop? (similar to contact list view) I suppose it shouldn't be a big deal...

# by mathuaerknedam on 11/22/04 at 16:30:18

MalexV: Transparent message windows are not possible in Adium. This might change when OSX 10.4 comes out next summer.

# by mathuaerknedam on 11/22/04 at 16:34:16

darmot7: Personally, I don't like it, but I'm not necessarily opposed adding it as an option. I'm not too fond of how it's already been implemented, so I'd have to figure out how I'd want to do it (and I *could* decide there is no "acceptable" way of doing it...). I have another project I'm working on at the moment, I don't see this happening anytime soon. (Unless I have a breakthrough on other said project...)

# by on 11/29/04 at 02:04:20

I asked because T?l is Hungarian for "too", which I guess would be kind of silly in this context. Anyway, just wanted to say that I love this message view, although my girlfriend came over and said "WTF IS THIS" and switched to one with lots of bells and whistles. ;)

# by Cassandra on 02/23/05 at 01:05:23

I love this view. It's simple and for someone like me who breaks up their sentences up during chat, it gives more flow to the conversation.

# by on 04/02/05 at 21:21:55

you should make it so if you click on a block of it put the text and the user name on the clipboard. serialbox does something like this. nevermind. this is a bad idea. it would be annoying.

# by on 05/11/05 at 09:36:26

I've got to say, I never expected to like it but this has been my favorite style for a while now. I'm surprised I downloaded it to begin with because it is so minimal, but I'm glad I did! My only suggestion would be a few color variations built in (so we don't have to make our own). But otherwise, great work.

# by The Valrus on 05/12/05 at 22:04:01

The best.

# by thebeav on 10/27/05 at 02:03:21

this is a brilliant message style, very good work, the only problem i'm having is that i can't get rid of the shadows on the text

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/27/05 at 11:05:13

The hover shadow appears but never disappears? Could you post a screenshot?

# by thebeav on 10/27/05 at 17:01:56

there's a copy, i've noticed it's only on old conversations, everything i've done since then works just like it's supposed to

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/27/05 at 17:25:11

Ahhh... The context messages are set apart by a heavier shadow. The hover shadow is less than that, so that when you over over context messages, the shadow lessens. It's not a bug, it's a feature. :)

# by thebeav on 10/27/05 at 22:48:18

ok, cool, it doesn't bug me, it just seemed odd, and none of your screenshots show it doing that so i thought i'd mention it

# by mathuaerknedam on 10/28/05 at 11:48:37

Yeah, I *really* need to update those screenshots. :)

The version used in the SS italicizes the context messages, but there is/was an Adium bug whereby italicizes fonts would change to helvetica, so I changes the contextual indicator.

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/25/07 at 18:11:56

Hey, I finally updated those screenshots! Only took another six months... :)

# by Dylan1077 on 10/28/05 at 22:53:46


# by ecable on 04/05/07 at 06:52:10

This is so awesome. I love it! But more color themes and what not would be awesome. Such a novel idea though, It's very very conducive to deep chats, makes them much more like a spoken conversation and less like a series of emails or forum posts or comments! So awesome!

# by jyaltma on 04/24/07 at 05:08:10

yeah is there a way to make the font a little bigger?

# by jyaltma on 04/24/07 at 05:21:35

and also perhaps a way to indicate autoreply?

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/24/07 at 16:39:29

I don't think Adium provides any mechanism besides screenname for indicating an autoreply. But if you're aware of a message style that does, I'd be happy to take a look at it and see if I could implement something similar.

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/24/07 at 13:17:39

Tül should use whatever font size you've specified in the "messages" pref pane of Adium. Is that not working for you?

# by Flea on 04/26/07 at 19:33:56

5 ducks! Just loved it! It has a brainstorm feeling!

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/27/07 at 02:35:04


# by tasmanian_devil on 04/26/07 at 23:15:05

its nice, but it is like you don't know who wrote in a chat room and crap like that...

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/27/07 at 02:37:03

Very true, which is why I mention that limitation in the description. I do have a version that with toggleable names for situations like that, but I've not gotten all the bugs worked out.

# by tasmanian_devil on 04/27/07 at 20:58:14

Oh that would be great because that's exactly what I need

# by mathuaerknedam on 05/08/07 at 15:37:03

Did you receive the one I emailed you?

# by tasmanian_devil on 05/13/07 at 15:38:55

yup. thanks!

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/19/08 at 18:04:54

It's finally out of beta. :) You should be able to download the final version whenever it gets approved.

# by prach on 04/27/07 at 03:14:42

wow - i really love it! great job!!!! :D

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/27/07 at 18:59:57


# by spacec0w on 04/29/07 at 09:36:04

I don't understand why the default colors are faded ones. Am I the only one that finds it hard to read? The light gray and light blue I'd like to change to black and navy blue or something, but I can't find that option in Adium. Any help? Otherwise, I'm really liking this, good work!

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/30/07 at 17:45:44

I'm not sure if you're the only one, but this is the first comment of that sort that I've seen. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't a way of consistently changing colors in Adium itself. The CSS of the message style itself needs to be changed.

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/19/08 at 21:46:04

The colors have been tweaked since your comment. Do the current ones work any better for you?

# by jyaltma on 01/17/08 at 04:33:13

will there be any update to incorporate any changes made in the latest adium version and/or leopard? i don't know if it's tul or some other aspect of adium but every so often it crashes ever since i installed the latest adium update. again, don't know if it's tul or what but just wondering. thanks!

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/19/08 at 18:07:02

I'm not aware of anything in Tül that could cause Adium to crash. However, there is now an update for Tül with a host of changes.

# by jyaltma on 02/19/08 at 18:15:52

hmmm, it won't download, it says it's not found... weird... also for some reason if i search for "Tül" in the adium xtras it doesn't come up. maybe those issues are related?

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/19/08 at 18:20:50

Sorry, I neglected to mention that you won't be able to download it until the site admins approve it.

The search problem is because the site's search function isn't Unicode capable. There's a ticket filed on it, but it seems to be low priority.

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/19/08 at 21:34:14

The update has been approved and should now be downloadable.

# by jyaltma on 02/20/08 at 04:09:38

hey i like the updates and definitely like the screenname bits... but what is the smaller font that was used in the older versions? i liked that better than the new bigger font... anyway to change that?

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/20/08 at 13:45:43

Glad you like the update.

The only font I specify is a default, so it should use whatever font you specify in the preferences. The default is set to Lucida Grande 9, so the point size can't get any smaller. I think I used the same font for the last version, but if not then it was Helvetica (which *is* slightly more condensed).

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/20/08 at 04:36:36

Glad you like the update.

The only font I specify is a default, so it should use whatever font you specify in the preferences. The default is set to Lucida Grande 9, so the point size can't get any smaller. I think I used the same font for the last version, but if not then it was Helvetica (which *is* slightly more condensed).

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/20/08 at 13:46:21

Oops, this was supposed to go on jyaltma's comment above. :)

# by Xjs on 02/20/08 at 12:34:04

I like that one. Very nice.

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/20/08 at 14:25:08

Thank you.

# by Xjs on 02/20/08 at 13:07:25

Oh, by the way: I would appreciate more color combinations, for example white/gray/red on black or something.

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/20/08 at 14:24:48

I don't really want to add any more color combinations for a few reasons:

1) I'm trying to keep the number of variants low. I don't want it to turn into aNon, which has 99 variants (with only 1 set of colors!). :-/ To maintain order, I'd want to add the color combo for each current variant. And since there are 12 now, adding a color would bump it up to 24. The next request would make it 36, and you can see how this would add up. :)

2) Due to my obsessiveness, each border, background, and text chunk is pretty much a different color. The RGB values are maintained for incoming, outgoing, and status, but the alpha value is tweaked (to the second decimal place) in order to achieve the effect I want. (Now that HSLA is supported, I should look into using that and tweaking colors with S or L rather than A.) This means that making color variants will be tedious, and that variants that use different shades (black, grey, white) might drive me crazy.

3) I don't want to release anything I don't think is as good as it can be, or that I think is bad. And since I could conceivably dislike a requested color combo, I'm inclined to leave that can of worms closed. I can't *not* obsess(*), so I try to only obsess about what I like or will use. :)

However, despite these reasons, one possibility has occurred to me. Because I'm not opposed to the release of a derivative work (you're welcome to tweak it yourself), I might be willing to maintain a version with one-off "user-requested" variants that's released and updated alongside the "official" version. This would contain a user-requested variation on one of the variants in the official version. Feel free to make a specific request to this end while I ponder how far I'm willing to take this. :)

(* I'm serious about the obsessing. The Tül update has been years in the making, waiting for changes in WebKit and Adium that would allow me to get past the problems I encountered. :-)

# by verloren on 02/21/08 at 15:54:57

I love your theme, but the emoticons aren't showing up in my chats. At first I guessed that was the minimalist styling you were after (which is fine), but I don't see anything at all, not even the raw characters. I find them essential for IM to get tone across. Is there a problem with the theme, or with me? :)

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/21/08 at 15:56:39

I'll look into it.

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/21/08 at 15:57:30

are your emoticons set to "none"?

# by verloren on 02/21/08 at 16:01:10

No - they've been working fine in other themes today, just not in this one. I can see the text of the emoticon come in through growl, but not in Adium. Also, if I send the message

. :)

then only the '.' bit shows up on my screen, though the smiley gets through at the other end.

# by verloren on 02/21/08 at 16:05:03

They do show up in the transcript though. And if I send something that looks like a smiley but isn't, such as :0 instead of :o it gets through fine.

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/21/08 at 16:08:31

Yeah, the issue is that I set images to not display without realizing it would affect emoticons (which I always have set to "none"). If you set emoticons to none, everything will work as expected. I'm looking for a better solution.

# by verloren on 02/22/08 at 07:37:58

Works for me, and as I'm not intending to use another theme this fix is enough. Thanks!

# by mathuaerknedam on 02/21/08 at 16:05:32

I'll look into it.

# by pketh on 03/15/08 at 16:12:27

I love this style (just started using it) , but I've got a prob with emoticons, while they do show up fine, they are superly tiny for some reason to the point where I can't differentiate a :) from a :O

any ideas there to make the emotes jump out a little bit? for the record i'm using inline-roundbar.

oh ya, the emotes work better if i increase the text size to ridculous sizes though. is there a way to just sort of make the emotes pop outside of the boxes then?

thanks so much

# by mathuaerknedam on 03/15/08 at 22:28:55

You're welcome. As you noticed, Tül is designed so that emoticons to scale according to text size. Otherwise the emoticons will force the line-height to increase wherever they occur, making the style look broken. To be honest, I don't think many users of Tül use graphical emoticons. If you look at the immediately preceding comment-thread (by verloren) you'll see that when I released 2.0, graphical emoticons weren't displaying at all! Oops.

I did look into using a larger line-height, but that works against the goal of compactness. It also turned out to be ineffective because different emoticon sets are different sizes. Setting a maximum height for emoticons retained compactness and ensured consistency. Tül 2.0 is actually less compact than 1.0, so it's already somewhat improved.

It might be possible to allow emoticons to "float" a little outside of the structure, but I don't think so. I'll look into it, but I can't make any predictions as to when I'll know if it's possible. In the meantime, I can only suggest that you set emoticons to "none". The textual emoticons should be identifiable, so it should at least provide a functional workaround.

# by pketh on 03/15/08 at 22:36:54

thanks for the response, I upped the font size to 13 to somewhat help with this and I like it so far .

unfortunately, I can't disable emotes completely because I regularly talk to not-so-sophisticated (using the term jokingly) windows msn users and their animated stupid emotes which i (very sadly) sometimes need to see.

Thanks so much again, I'll be looking forward to the new versions of this theme :)

# by mathuaerknedam on 04/19/08 at 20:55:28

The version released today has somewhat larger emoticons.

# by phibxr on 03/16/08 at 15:48:38

This style is brilliant!

# by mathuaerknedam on 03/16/08 at 15:53:09

Thank you.

# by phibxr on 03/16/08 at 17:23:18

It has one downside though, I'll never be able to re-adapt from it. :)

Great work!

# by jolleyjoe on 06/23/08 at 22:00:49

Agreed. My new favorite!

# by mathuaerknedam on 07/09/08 at 01:25:35


# by therusskey on 03/02/09 at 15:53:53

anybody else have the problem with direct connect sent images? when the image is wider than the window a horizontal scroll bar appears, which covers up the bottom parts of the last line of text: any ideas?

# by mathuaerknedam on 03/02/09 at 16:17:57

From your screenshot it looks like you're not scrolled down completely. Do you see the last line of text if you scroll down?

# by therusskey on 03/02/09 at 18:49:14

oh yes, you can manually scroll down, but every time a message comes in, it jumps back to that level. this is the only problem i've ever encountered with this layout, but its a pretty annoying one.

# by Hamelin on 12/06/09 at 10:11:34

Any chance this is going to be updated anytime soon? I really want to use it with Digsby but the message colors nor my own messages show up. Incoming messages do.

The dividers display with the correct colors (grey/black) and incoming messages (in black) but that's it.

# by mathuaerknedam on 12/06/09 at 17:37:55

I track compatibility with Adium's latest release, and after Adium 1.4 is released, Tül will be updated to use (and require) Adium's latest features.

Am I correct in thinking that you're seeing problems in Digsby, not Adium? It works find for me in Adium, and because I tend to make use of Adium's latest features, it's not likely to be compatible with any other IM client unless that client actually tracks the changes in Adium.

# by Hamelin on 12/07/09 at 03:50:04

Yeah, I'm using Digsby, but they both use Webkit so in theory they should be compatible but you know how little differences can make big issues with this sort of thing. It's a shame too, because I can't find a single other chat theme that does inline chats like Tül does.

# by mathuaerknedam on 12/07/09 at 09:03:02

Webkit does the rendering, but the job of actually constructing the html falls to the app. In this case there are probably two main problems.

1) Adium allows me to omit files, so I have. I suspect Digsby requires the files.

2) Adium will auto-class for me. I include the %messageClasses% ad Adium will assign, incoming, outgoing, history, consecutive, etc, whatever is appropriate, and I rely on it. I suspect Digsby does not provide this functionality.

# by Hamelin on 12/08/09 at 04:56:39

That makes sense. I think I'll see if there's a bug report for this, or open one myself because the Digsby developers state on their forums that their IM client supports Adium message styles and my experience is that a ton of these styles don't work correctly in Digsby.

# by mathuaerknedam on 12/08/09 at 06:06:43

It's not the simplest thing. Adium doesn't version message styles, per se. It versions the message view whenever a change in the code might break an existing message style. But changes are regularly made that don't break existing styles, but results in styles that don't work with earlier versions of Adium and break other apps.

# by therusskey on 01/10/10 at 20:56:32

i've been looking through the code and i can't seem to find how you combine user status changes so that only the most recent one shows up. its a very handy feature, especially when talking to somebody on a gmail google chat client which tends to go available and away very often.

# by mathuaerknedam on 01/11/10 at 04:52:41

It's an Adium feature, not a message style feature. Personally, I don't like it. However, there's no way for me to avoid it without declaring an old "message view version" that would prevent Tül from benefiting from a variety of message view enhancements in Adium.

# by therusskey on 01/11/10 at 04:56:16

well, it seems to have broken in some recent release of the beta.

# by mathuaerknedam on 01/11/10 at 05:52:03

Hm, that's not good. What is the broken behavior like? Any idea in what beta it started being broken?

# by therusskey on 01/11/10 at 05:55:37

not sure when it started, but i now see all status messages, not just the most recent in a set. all i know is that in 1.4b17 this is the case. not sure when it might have started.

# by mathuaerknedam on 01/11/10 at 05:55:51

Hm... I bet it's been since 1.4b8. That's the beta after my patch (fixing coalescing problems) first appeared in a beta. I had forgotten about that! I need to update Tül to mvv=4 and verify that it doesn't cause any problems. You can open the info.plist to make the change to your local version.

# by therusskey on 01/11/10 at 05:57:22

not sure what you mean by that.

# by therusskey on 01/11/10 at 06:18:49

ah, i found it now. but that hasn't fixed anything in the chat style i'm working with. oh well, i guess i could just wait or try to hack it in the code myself.

# by p_ghede on 08/12/10 at 08:43:53

This is a really cool theme but I find that the show user icon preference doesn't work for me. Nothing shows up in the background behind the text.

Using 1.4b18

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Current Version: 2.3
Last Updated: 08/06/08
David Smith for the all-by-sender javascript.