Want to Know What Your Applications Are Up To? Check Out Growl!

Product Link: Growl (Donationware)

When using your Mac, you may often be running several applications at once. In some cases, you may only want to focus on a single application, but there are times when you may want to know what other applications are up to. Sure, you could switch among your application every now and then to see what they’re up to, but this can disrupt your workflow and be a pain. If only there was a way to get gentle, unobtrusive notifications from the applications of your choice…

Growl is a notification manager which allows you, on a per application basis, to receive notifications of certain events without having to rotate among all of your applications. Growl support has to be incorporation into the application you’d like notifications from, but is pretty straightforward, thanks to the Growl Developer Downloads that are available. Hundreds of Mac application currently support Growl. If an application doesn’t directly support Growl, there are third-party plugins which can enable this support.

Growl Application Configuration

In many cases, if your application supports Growl, it will automatically register itself when installed. In some cases, you may have to manually enable Growl support in your application. From this point forward, you configure the rest of Growl’s behavior from the Growl prefpane. The Applications tab in the prefpane shows all application that are registered with Growl. Click on an application, then Configure…, and you can then choose the specific notifications you’d like growl to send for that application. This can be nearly any important event, from the completion of a file download, to receiving a new email, to receiving an instant message, to the insertion or removal of a usb device, to the mounting or dismounting of a network. It depends on the imagination of the application developer.

Of course, Growl also allows you to adjust the Style of the notifications to your liking, from the obvious to the unobtrusive. You can choose the Opacity, Duration, and Position of notifications, and even choose a custom Style for specific application. Growl comes with a few Extras to get you started. There’s GrowlMail, which offers support for Apple Mail, GrowlSafari which offers Safari support, and HardwareGrowler, which provides notification regarding your system and network devices.

So start learning what your Mac is up to, and check out Growl today! Have any other gadgets that let you know what your Mac is doing? Send an email to John and he’ll check it out.