Side tabs in Empathy

Going quickly to the interesting part.

If you happen to use Ubuntu Saucy 13.10 and would like to have side tabs in Empathy, just write the following commands:


$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tanty/ppa

If, in addition to be using Ubuntu Saucy 13.10 you are using also GNOME3 Team’s PPA, you will need to run the following command:


$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tanty/gnome3

Finally, update your repositories, upgrade empathy and set the proper configuration:


$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install empathy
...
$ gsettings set org.gnome.Empathy.conversation tab-position 'left'

After this, you can just open the chat window in a new Empathy running instance and you should see something like this:

Side tabs in Empathy by ::Tanty::
Side tabs in Empathy, a screenshot by ::Tanty:: on Flickr.

Motivation

I’m a long time user of Jabber and Empathy. I use it for every day’s communications and, in Igalia, we have several internal rooms in which we coordinate ourselves. Because of the amount of rooms in which I am as a regular basis, Empathy’s chat window is unable to display the tabs of each of them in the top bar of the conversations.

This forces me either to split in different windows or just to navigate among them every now and then to check if there is any interesting update. Quite annoying :) .

Some time ago, #586145 was filed requesting the possibility of having the chat room tabs not only displayed on top but also in other positions, specially in the side.

Hence, I decided to take the existing patch and perform some small changes to the work done by Neil Roberts in order to be able to have these side tabs.

With this new feature, you can change the position of the tabs just by changing a setting, as the position property is bond to it. If you want to set the tabs at ‘top’, ‘left’, ‘bottom’ or ‘right’, you should run, respectively:


$ gsettings set org.gnome.Empathy.conversation tab-position 'top'
$ gsettings set org.gnome.Empathy.conversation tab-position 'left'
$ gsettings set org.gnome.Empathy.conversation tab-position 'bottom'
$ gsettings set org.gnome.Empathy.conversation tab-position 'right'

Now, I’ve uploaded a new version of the patch and I’m waiting to pass the review process and land it.

This is a tiny enhancement on top of the great work that several GNOME developers have done in Empathy over the years. However, it is really making a difference to me so I’ve decided to share it quickly in case someone else would find it useful since it will take a while to come into the main distributions. Hence, I’ve ported it to the Empathy version I’m using in the Ubuntu Saucy 13.10 running on my desktop.

If you want to give it a try, just follow the instructions I’ve written at the beginning of this post.

Final notes

In addition to Empathy, you will be able to find in my PPAs:

  • A working (and custom) version of the faulty official icecc package with patches fixing LP#1182491.
  • A custom version of webkitgtk with patches fixing WK#115650 which will speed up opening new tabs in Web.

Enjoy!

Update: I’ve added recently empathy patched versions also for Ubuntu Trusty 14.04.

4 Responses to “Side tabs in Empathy”

  1. anonim says:

    Hi,

    Can you please take a look at this bug??
    https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=710177

    Thanks,

  2. This is, indeed, very useful.

    But if you want to have side-tabs today, without installing PPAs, in Ubuntu Trusty, then you can just install smuxi :-)

    Regards

  3. tanty says:

    Indeed, you can install other apps, but I want to keep using Empathy :)

  4. […] Gomez recently made a patch for Empathy to put the tabs on the side. This patch is fantastic for any of us who idle in a large […]

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