Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Growl - An event notification system System
The macosxhints Rating:

[Score: 9 out of 10]
Growl is a system-wide notification system -- it sits there silently in the background, watching any number of things, waiting for an event to occur. When an event occurs, Growl then notifies you via a customizable pop-up window, which appears and then vanishes after a set amount of time. And just what is an event? An event is something that a supported application tells Growl about. For instance, in Transmit, when an upload complete, Transmit will inform Growl of that fact, and Growl will then show an "upload complete" window. There are a large number of programs that include native Growl support; in addition to Transmit, the list includes Skype, Adium, Colloquy, and many others. Other programs, such as Camino, Firefox, and Safari can have Growl support added by way of their own Growl notifiers.

So why would you want to be notified about events? I'll give you a couple examples of how I use Growl. I use the GrowlMail extra (in the Extras folder on the Growl disk image) to pop up a small message showing the sender, account, and subject of the message when I receive a new email in Mail, as see in the image at left. If I click in the window, that message will open in Mail.

I use GrowlCamino in place of Camino's built-in Downloads window (there's a similar Growl add-on available for Firefox, and a Safari add-on is included in the Growl distribution). When a download starts, a window pops up to let me know. When the download completes, another window appears -- and with a simple click in that window, the downloaded file will be opened (i.e. the disk image will mount). The add-on will also notify Growl if Camino blocks a pop-up window.

I use the Transmit notifiers all the time, so that I'll know when a large upload is complete. The recent PotW selection HandBrake includes a Growl notification for "Encode Done," so I don't have to keep checking the app to see its progress. There are other apps I use with Growl, but you get the idea -- Growl proactively tells you when whatever it is you're waiting for has happened. Growl is also a popular subject here on, with 20 Growl-related tips in the system.

You can configure Growl notifications in any number of ways, changing their appearance, style, and duration on an application- and event-specific basis. If you don't like any of the built-in notification styles, you can download some others, or even (if you have some HTML and CSS abilities) create your own. To do its work, Growl uses an always-running background process (GrowlHelperApp), but I've not noticed any problems from this process.

Growl isn't for everyone, but if you prefer the system telling you about things when they're done instead of having to actively check them for yourself, it's well worth a look.
  • Currently 2.20 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (10 votes cast)

Growl - An event notification system | 11 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Growl - An event notification system' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
And add notifications to your own scripts!
Authored by: jvr on Sep 26, '07 10:35:09AM
Also worth noting are the Show Growl Notification Automator action and the growlnotify command-line tool. I have found both of these to be useful additions to some of my workflows and scripts.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: thehigherlife on Sep 26, '07 11:07:51AM
it also has adium support which is really cool.

I think adium actually asks you if you want to install growl when you start adium for the first time.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Adium has Growl support
Authored by: boredzo on Sep 26, '07 01:00:40PM

Adium supports Growl, not the other way around. Growl doesn't implement anything specific to any application; it's the applications that have to use Growl themselves.

This means, of course, that if you have an application that doesn't use Growl, you should contact the developer of that application and ask them to make that happen.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Adium has Growl support
Authored by: thehigherlife on Sep 27, '07 08:31:40AM

sorry i mis worded my sentence. you are absolutely right.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: ptone on Sep 26, '07 11:57:42AM

To me Growl is only half of what it should be. It does this great job of flowing notifications from applications to Growl, but they end there.

There are no hooks, no way to register a custom action, application, or script to received some signal when a notification occurs.

I want to be able to have growl send an Apple event with the notifier, and notification to a custom applescript that does something in response to the Growl notifications.

That would make Growl twice as awsome as it is.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: NovaScotian on Sep 27, '07 10:03:26AM

Wouldn't it be great if dismissing a notification generated an Apple Event you could capture in an AppleScript that generated it? Even if the GrowlHelperApp would return a status: 1 if dismissed, 0 if timed out.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: eboss on Sep 26, '07 02:30:36PM

Growl is great !

I use it all the time with tens of applications that send notifications. Each one has it's own set of popup style, duration, ...

And for Linux server admins, thete is a lib to send notifications over the net to your desktop mac and display them : hardware alerts, backup, ssh failures, ... you can write your own code and plug that lib in no time.

It's huge and I love it

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: rjbailey on Sep 26, '07 05:09:01PM

Please point to this!

[ Reply to This | # ]
GrowlMail replacement
Authored by: kevinway on Sep 26, '07 05:44:22PM
I use growl to notify me of new mail, but only of some new mail. I wrote a brief article that contains the AppleScript, but basically, I only growl on new messages from members of certain groups in my address book.

That way I get growled if somebody important (perhaps a client, coworker, or family member) e-mails me, while unknown people, and mailing list traffic arrives without growl's fanfare.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: dal20402 on Sep 26, '07 06:42:14PM

I've never understood the wish for more popups... when I've played with Growl, it seems well implemented, but the last thing I want is more windows appearing when I don't ask them to. That stresses me out.

I like subtle notifiers like MailUnreadMenu, Adium custom menu bar icons, and the like... that stay out of my way when I don't want to look at them.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Growl - An event notification system
Authored by: joh on Sep 27, '07 06:20:10AM

I felt very much the same, but then tried the "Music Video" style notification (which slides in a semi-transparent strip from the bottom) and now I have no problems with that anymore. Windows popping up are distracting but that strip sliding in and out over the dock is subtle enough.

[ Reply to This | # ]