One of the companies I work with has decided to use the 37signals line of products for internal project management and communication (which I think is great BTW). This means that I sit in a Campfire chat room for the working hours of my day, along with a handful of other developers. I started to run into a problem, though, when I didn’t need to be talking with others. It is difficult to tell when people are trying to talk to me. Campfire has, by default, two methods of notifying you of new messages: an unread messages counter (dock icon or browser tab), and optional sound ‘dings’. When I’m trying to work on something though that doesn’t involve chatting with others, all the while the chat room still active with other developers, it’s really distracting to hear constant ‘dings’ or have to repeatedly check new messages to see if they pertain to me.

The situation for me is similar to lurking on IRC channels. But IRC has been around much longer than Campfire, and IRC client developers are familiar with the problem. Thus, many IRC clients allow you to specify keywords, that, when present in other users messages trigger some form of notification, like a sound or Growl message. Well, this clearly is the feature I needed to solve my Campfire problem.

Greasemonkey to the rescue! I stumbled across this userscript that allows you to set triggers for Growl notifications. Boy was that a welcome find. There were still some problems though. For one, I noticed that the chat window wouldn’t always detect that it had lost focus correctly, and as a result, I would miss some of my notices. Two, I wanted the same functionality for sound notifications. Three, it would be nice if at least some of it would work in Firefox, not just Fluid.

Thus, a new userscript was born: Campfire Notifications. As expected, it aims to solve the problems mentioned above. Growl notifications of course won’t work in Firefox. I’ve read, however, that Firefox 3 has added support for Growl. If I can get more information on that I may get it working in a future version.

On a related note, the guys at collectiveidea came up with an interesting way of writing Campfire plugins for things like post_commit VCS hooks. It’s called Tinder. Enjoy!