Adding chat styles to Skype

2006-02-27 12:16:00 UTC

The Mac version of Skype has a pop-up menu in its Preferences labeled “Style”.

Screenshot of Skype's Preferences, Chat tab, with the “Style” pop-up set to Stockholm.

But wait. Why does it say “Stockholm” in my screenshot?

Well, it turns out that the format of Skype’s “chat styles” is the same as Adium’s message view styles. This isn’t something they openly tell people; the only evidence of it is a folder named “ChatStyles” inside the Skype application bundle, with the built-in chat style in it. A cursory analysis suggested that the format might be the same, and this was proven when I dropped the chat style into Adium’s message styles folder (and changed its filename extension) and it worked.

But you can’t go the other way — if you change the contents of Skype’s application bundle in any way, by adding, changing, or removing files, Skype will log an error to Console and refuse to launch.

So here’s how I installed the third-party Adium message view style “Stockholm” as a Skype chat style.

  1. Create a folder named “ChatStyles” in Library/Application\ Support/Skype.

  2. Copy an Adium message view style of your choice to the new ChatStyles folder.

  3. Rename it from “Foo.AdiumMessageStyle” to “Foo.SkypeChatStyle”. The icon will change to a folder; this is normal. But Finder’s column-view preview will still show the Adium message style icon. ;)

    UPDATE 03:47 PM: Actually, you don’t have to rename it. An AdiumMessageStyle will work just fine. (Sorry, should have tried that first…)

When you launch Skype, it will have the new chat style(s) in its pop-up menu.

UPDATE 3:51 PM: A previous version of this post claimed that you have to rename the style to Foo.SkypeChatStyle. Well, you can, but you don’t have to — Foo.AdiumMessageStyle will work just as well.

12 Responses to “Adding chat styles to Skype”

  1. Snarfer Says:

    Wait, I thought that Adium’s contact list code was GPL’d? Wouldn’t that mean that Skype would have to release all of it’s code as well?

  2. Peter Hosey Says:

    I’m not sure what the contact list has to do with it.

    The WKMV is GPL, as are the message view styles that come with Adium. However, Skype can roll their own WKMV without violating the GPL, and roll their own styles or use third-party styles from Adium Xtras with the permission (read: non-GPL license) of their authors without violating the GPL.

  3. Tim Says:

    It doesn’t work for me. It looks like it does, the styles appear in the drop down list. However when I use them the chat text doesn’t appear. The style is there with no data. :-(

  4. Peter Hosey Says:

    Are you sure you’re doing this in Skype and not Gizmo? Skype supports Adium message view styles; Gizmo doesn’t.

    If you really are using Skype, what version is it?

    (Reference for posterity: Gizmo in Adium?!!?)

  5. Tim Says:

    I’m using Skype (BETA) Version 1.5.0.48 …

  6. DtC Says:

    Nice trick.

    Make a symlink of Adium Message Styles Folder, renamed it “ChatStyles” and put it in Library/Application\ Support/Skype. It will work too and be less ressources consumer (you don’t need them twice on your computer).

  7. Skyper Says:

    Sorry to say, but we have dropped Adium Message Style support. The basic framework we use is still similar to Adiums’s but we have added so many additional features to it that Adium Styles just won’t play. The coming versions will not support AdiumMessageStyle extension neither. However, it’s not very difficult to modify an existing Adium style to make it work with Skype.

  8. Peter Hosey Says:

    Skyper’s comment came from a skype.net email address. So I guess we can consider this official word.

    Skyper: Is it not possible to add a reduced-functionality mode to Skype’s message view? I’d say that having the vast library of Adium message view styles available would be an asset.

    Also, you could get in contact with us (the Adium developers) to work on a unified message view style format. We’re looking at some style format changes right now (admittedly somewhat minor); now might be a good time to propose any additions.

    If you want, I’ll send you by private email the address of the Adium developers’ email list (anybody can email it, but we do not state the address in public for spam reasons); I’m sure we’d love to work with you toward even better message view styles.

  9. anonymous Says:

    *cricket sounds*

  10. Josh Says:

    So is there any word on making Adium styles work in skype? “skyper” said it wouldn’t be that difficult

  11. Peter Hosey Says:

    Not that I know of. Both are just HTML+CSS+JavaScript files, so as “skyper” says, it shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve never written a style for either client, though, so I don’t know any details beyond that.

  12. Jonas Says:

    I recently remade the skype modern theme for Skype 2.8 to make it hava a more terminal look (black background for all you non-nerds). I was a major headache. The basics were easy enough to tweak but lots of stuff was annoying to get perfect and nice. And that saying when I work as a webdeveloper. It didn’t take more than one or maybe two hours but still. It should have been easier since I didn’t even create it from scratch.
    Skype should really try to make use of Adium’s great community here in my opinion.

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