Typing notifications (in short: MTN for Message Typing Notification) is a feature present in almost all modern Instant Messaging protocols. It allows a user to see when the opponent is typing a message thus making him or her aware that a new message may soon arrive.
Typing notifications are only exchanged between two authorized clients who have usually added each other to their contact lists. The information that you are typing a message is only transmitted to the actual receiver but never to other contacts – so nobody except the user who will eventually receive that message can see when you are typing.
Some things you should be aware of
- When you receive a typing notification from a user, this does not necessarily mean you will receive the final message – if the user cancels typing and does not send the message, you'll never see it.
- You cannot see what the user is typing. This information is not transmitted and there is no way to implement this, so just don't ask. A MTN is a simple notification that someone has started to write a message, but that's all. The notification does not contain any information about the content of the message someone is typing.
- You'll never be able to see when a user is typing a message to someone else. Like said above, MTNs are only sent to the receiver of the message and nowhere else.
Typing notifications in Miranda and TabSRMM
Miranda implements MTN for all its default protocols except private IRC chats (often called queries) which do not offer such a feature because of limitations in the IRC protocol. To protect your privacy, sending out typing notifications is an optional feature and can be disabled completely. You can also disable the feature to show typing notifications of other users, of course, if you think that you do not need to see when your opponent is typing.
MTN features available in TabSRMM
Sending typing notifications to either all or only selected users
You can enable or disable outgoing MTNs for every single contact. So it is possible that some users will see when you type to them while others won't.
Display typing notifications with different methods
- Within the message window. TabSRMM will indicate when a contact for which you have an open message window is typing to you by showing a small message in the status bar of the message window. If the message window is minimized, its title bar will change its icon and title text to indicate a typing event. If you are using a tabbed message window, the icon on the tab will change for a short period of time, showing you that the user is typing.
- On the contact list. With this method, the contact from whom you receive a MTN will be shown with a flashing typing icon on the contact list. Additionally, the contact list's system tray icon will flash a few times.
- With a popup. When you have a popup plugin installed, TabSRMM can use it to display such popups when a user starts or stops typing.
- With sounds. You can configure sound effects under Sounds → Other which will be played when a user starts and/or stops typing.
Configuring the typing notification feature
To configure the global options for the MTN feature, you must go to Message sessions → Typing notify.
Selecting contacts to which you want to send MTN
In the list of contacts, you can choose which users can receive typing notifications from you. This means, when you are chatting with a "checked" user he or she will receive a typing notification when you start writing a new message. Of course, he or she must use a client which supports receiving and showing typing notifications.
There are special entries for New contacts and Unknown contacts which can be used to set defaults for contacts you are just adding or contacts which are not known to the contact list. For example, when you check New contacts outgoing MTNs will be enabled for all contacts you are going to add in the future.
You can check or uncheck an entire group of users by just clicking the check box next to the group name.
In TabSRMM, there is an easier way to enable MTN on a per user base. In the message window, you will find a typing icon in the lower right corner (the rightmost part of the status bar). You can click this icon to enable or disable outgoing typing notifications for this user. When you hover this icon with your mouse pointer, a tooltip will tell you the status. Also, the icon will change to indicate whether outgoing MTNs are enabled or disabled. The picture on the right shows this icon in.
Choosing notification methods
The lower part of the dialog contains 3 sections to customize the methods you want to use for indicating incoming typing notifications.
Show typing notifications in the message window
By checking this, TabSRMM will display incoming typing notifications in the message window, using the methods described here.
- Flash window once on typing events (only if flashing enabled). Check this if you want a minimized message window to flash once in the task bar when the user starts typing. This option only works when window flashing is enabled under Message sessions → Containers.
Show typing notifications in the contact list and tray
These options allow you to configure Miranda to show incoming typing notifications on the contact list. The typing user will be indicated with a flashing typing icon and the same icon will flash in the system tray a few times. The available sub options are:
- Show typing notifications when message dialog is open. The contact list and tray notifications will appear when there is an open message window for this contact.
- Show typing notifications when no message dialog is open. The contact list and system tray notifications will show when there is NO open message window for this contact.
- Show balloon tooltip in the system tray.
Show popups when a user is typing
This option can be used to configure the display of popups when Miranda must indicate an incoming typing notification. These options will not be available when no popup plugin was found or Popups → Events → Typing notifications option is not enabled.
From the drop-down box, you can choose one of 3 methods to specify in which case MTN events should be shown with popups.
- Always. Do not consider the message window status at all. Popups will be shown for every incoming typing notification.
- Always, but no popup when window is focused. Like above, but with one exception: No popup will be shown for the foreground message window. If this window holds multiple message tabs, notifications for inactive tabs will still appear.
- Only when no message window is open. Popups for incoming typing notifications will only appear when no message window has been opened for this contact.
Using sound effects
TabSRMM will play sound effects when a user starts and/or stops typing under the following conditions:
- The sound effects have been set under Sounds → Other. If no sound effects are set or sound effects are disabled globally, no sound will be heard on typing events.
- No message window is open or the message container has been configured to hide itself under certain conditions.
- The message window is open and the container has not been set to be quiet (the sound icon in the message window status bar will show you the status of sound effects for this container).
Selecting multiple methods
It is of course possible to choose multiple methods for incoming typing notifications. You can enable them all, if you want, or choose only a single method – just like you prefer it. Always remember that not all protocols may support incoming and/or outgoing MTNs.
Notes about privacy
Some protocols allow you to choose an "invisible" status mode which can prevent other users from seeing your online status. If such a status mode is chosen, you'll most likely be visible (meaning: online) to only a few selected contacts which you have added to your visibility list.
The MTN feature is implemented in a way that it will not send out typing notifications to a user you do not want to be visible to. For example, if you are in "invisible" status on ICQ, typing notifications will only be sent to users which are on your visibility list, that is, users which can see that you are invisible. This prevents you from accidentally revealing your online presence when you are in a privacy mode.