More compact client

I have encountered some interesting feedback from users at my workplace who would like to use mattermost, but have quite specific requirements regarding the client (due to their working environment):

  • maximum information in a small window (most compact use of screen space)
  • rapid switching between channels

They have been using the Pidgin client and are happy with how compact they can make it and the fast channel switching using the channel tabs. Something like this screenshot:

Experiments with the mattermost client have not yet reached the bar on those requirements. We are using the desktop client and have enabled compact display mode and zoomed out to make everything smaller - but it is not enough; the side bar takes up too much space if visible, and if not visible then it is not fast enough to switch channels, and in any case even the compact message display uses too much space.

Another route we can go down is to use an IRC bridge to mattermost and connect to that from Pidgin - however we only get basic mattermost functionality in that setup.

I don’t know if there is anything else we can try, or whether there would be any interest in supporting a client as compact as the Pidgin style, with channel tabs?

One route I wondered about is to try to customise the CSS. I found this plugin that makes some modifications (but I guess is liable to break in future mattermost versions):

As it stands, I suppose that plugin would affect all users, but maybe there’s a way the CSS could be modified according for different clients…? Could I theoretically write a plugin that would allow the user-selectable themes to also modify CSS?

This has unfortunately become a blocker for some users at my workspace. The mattermost plugin for pidgin doesn’t yet work with mattermost 5.4, and I can’t sufficiently customise the client to make it compact enough. If anyone has any ideas, they would really be appreciated…

Hi @gubbins, When you say the plugin doesn’t work, do you mean it is not compact enough or do you have other issues with it? The pidgin plugin for Mattermost is community-managed (GitHub - EionRobb/purple-mattermost: A libpurple/Pidgin plugin for Mattermost) and if you encounter any issues with it, you could contact the creator of the plugin to provide feedback.

@amy.blais I meant that the plugin itself is not able to authenticate with mattermost 5.4 at present, so it is not usable for me. Understand that it’s third-party - they’re already working on the problem.

In this post I am really asking for any other suggestions, particularly on whether we could customise the layout of the mattermost client instead of going with Pidgin at all.

Hi @gubbins,

Yes, in this case a plugin would probably be most useful as you mentioned earlier. We have instructions here on how to go about developing a plugin:

If you need further help, you can join our developer toolkit channel on our community server and our developers will give you advice!