apps compatible with mountain lion notification center

Apps-compatible-with-mountain-lion-notification-center-featured.jpg

These animal sound app names might be getting a bit out of hand, but the new Hiss app will bridge your Growl notifications to the new Notification Center in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Growl was the original-gangsta solution for notifications on OS X before Apple went ahead and ported its Notification Center to Mountain Lion. Some worried that Growl would grow quiet as a result, but Hiss from Collect3 is helping it re-find its voice.

9to5Mac has a review of the application, which is still in beta. The software preempts Growl’s notifications and reroutes them to the official Notification Center. It does have a few limitations, though, as it doesn’t show the icons for the specific apps, instead bundling them all together under Growl.

Clicking on the notifications won’t take you to the app that you’re being notified about. Notification Center also won’t automatically clear the notification when you go to the app in question since it thinks it’s from Growl, rather than from the originating application.

If you’re looking for more info on notifications in Mountain Lion, check out our complete guide to notifications or our full review of the new OS.

Notification Center in iOS has changed the way we view, read, and reply to messages, calendar appointments, and push notifications from social networking services like Twitter and Facebook. In Mountain Lion, this feature does this and more, allowing you to tweet conveniently from your Mac. Continue reading as we take you on a walkthrough of all the features in Notification Center.

Notification Center Basics
To open the notification center on your Mac, click on the icon beside of Spotlight in the right-most corner of the menu bar (it looks like a bulleted item list). This action will cause the Mac desktop to move over, and a new sidebar will appear on your Mac. This is where all registered notifications will appear.This is only one part of the notification center, however. Apps can send along important information in the form of popups that appear in the top right corner of your screen. Here, for instance, iCal has sent a notification about an upcoming event. You can choose to close or snooze the event reminder.All of these notifications are great, but if you are in a meeting, or giving a presentation, it can be important to silence personal notifications from being visible by others. Fortunately, Apple has included an easy way to do this. Simply open Notification Center and scroll to the top of the sidebar. You will see a small switch to “Show Alerts and Banners.” By flipping this switch off, you will effectively silence all Notification Center alerts for the entire day (the alerts will resume the next day or whenever you flip the switch back on). Notification Center alerts will also be silenced whenever you plug in an external projector to your Mac.Notification Center has many preferences that can be tweaked on an app-by-app basis. To do this, open System Preferences > Notifications. Once here, you will notice all of the apps registered to send notifications to Notification Center will be listed on the left-hand side of the preference pane.Clicking on one of these apps will give you preferences for the alert style, and what type of alerts are sent. For each app, you can choose to have no alert, a banner alert, or a regular alert. The difference between banners and alerts is that a banner is automatically dismissed, while an alert must be manually dismissed by clicking one of the available buttons in the alert.

Here, you can also select whether or not to show the app in the Notification Center, and how many notifications to show in the Notification Center sidebar at one time. You can also choose whether or not to badge the app icon in the Dock (essentially displaying how many notifications are currently waiting for you), or whether or not to play a sound when receiving notifications.By default, in the Notification Center, notifications are listed on an app-by-app basis and are automatically sorted by time of notification arrival. To rearrange the app to your taste manually, select “Manually” from Sort Notification Center by drop-down menu at the bottom of the Notifications system preference pane. Next, drag and drop the apps names in the Notification system preference pane in the order that you would like them to appear in the Notification Center. As you receive notifications from these apps, they will stack up in this order in the Notification Center.One of the most touted features of Notification Center is the ability to update your social networking status on Twitter right from the sidebar on your Mac. To enable this feature, select the “Share Button” feature in the Notification Center, and check the box labeled “Show share button in Notification Center.” You will also need to be signed into Twitter by visiting the “Mail, Contacts & Calendars” preference pane.Growl, the system-wide OS X notification framework that has been somewhat usurped by Notification Center in OS X Mountain Lion, saw a major 2.0 upgrade on Thursday. The new version allows apps that use Growl’s notification APIs to have those notifications forwarded to Notification Center, replacing several hacks that attempted to bridge the two systems since Mountain Lion was released in July.

In addition, the new version supports forwarding notifications to iOS devices using Prowl or BoxCar. You can choose these as an “action” to fire on certain notifications, and Growl will forward a notification to any suitably configured iOS device.

For those who aren’t fans of Apple’s baked-in notifications, Growl 2.0 also adds a number of customization features to tailor your notifications setup. And perhaps most important to long-time Growl users, the update addresses several persistent performance bugs that cropped up in the app as its developers worked to recode it to work within Apple’s Mac App Store guidelines.

Growl developers had promised an update that would integrate with OS X notifications, as many apps that use Growl haven’t been updated to use OS X’s notification APIs. But Mountain Lion was released on July 25, and the Growl update did not materialize. Workarounds like Hiss and Bark sprung up in the meantime, but Growl 2.0 is designed to make such workarounds redundant.

At its heart, Growl listens for apps to send it some type of notification using the Growl API, and then displays the notification on a small pop-up window on your desktop. It offers a number of customization features for the style, position, and frequency of these notifications. It also offers a number of power user features, like the ability to fire actions when certain notifications are received, tweak which notifications an app can send, or can even send and receive notifications from Growl running on a network-accessible machine. Growl 2.0 still includes all these features for those apps that use its API.But flick a large switch in Growl’s preferences, and all the notifications it gets from different apps are instead forwarded to Notification Center. These notifications appear just as though they were sent by an app using OS X’s native notification APIs.

I installed Growl 2.0 to take its new Notification Center integration for a quick test spin. Most of the apps I use on a regular basis already have support for Mountain Lion’s notification APIs, and to be frank, I’m generally satisfied with it. However, a couple apps don’t use the new OS X APIs, including IRC client Colloquy and Dropbox. I wanted these apps’ notifications to be routed to Notification Center.

I have set Colloquy to pop up a notification whenever one of my Ars colleagues mentions my name in an IRC conversation. (This lets me work with Colloquy in the background without having to constantly check it for important notices.) These notifications came through just fine, and collected in Notification Center’s list.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work with Dropbox at first; I suspected it may have been using an older version of the Growl API that isn’t compatible with the latest versions of Growl. However, Growl integration allows apps to send desktop notifications using a default style even if the Growl app isn’t installed. Once I quit and restarted Dropbox, it started sending notifications to the centralized Growl app, which were then forwarded to Notification Center.

If you’re updating an existing Growl install, you shouldn’t run into this issue. Otherwise, you’ll want to quit and restart all apps that use Growl to make sure the messages are being received properly.

Notifications forwarded via Growl don’t show individual app icons.
One problem I had with Growl 2.0′s notification forwarding is that while it correctly forwards the name of the app that the notification came from, it sends its own icon to Notification Center. This was a complaint that many Hiss users also had, since notifications from multiple apps all end up in the same section in Notification Center; sorting through them can be tough if you have more than a handful. It’s worth noting that the Bark plugin for Growl doesn’t share this limitation, and you may prefer to use it instead of Growl’s own forwarding for now.

It’s also worth noting that Growl 2.0 doesn’t in any way enhance the Notification Center functionality in OS X. If you’re not happy with the way it works, or you’re already happy with Growl, you’ll probably want to stick with Growl. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way to have Growl intercept native OS X notifications and handle them instead. You’re stuck with either juggling two different notification systems, or picking one and shutting the other off. As long as the apps you use on a regular basis all support one API or the other, though, you should be fine.

Forwarding notifications to iOS devices via Prowl or BoxCar are among the actions Growl can perform.
The reviews for previous versions of Growl on the Mac App Store are riddled with users complaining about CPU usage spiking, or issues launching or otherwise running Growl. Growl 2.0 promises to squash these bugs, and I noticed no performance problems running Growl all morning on my lowly 2010 MacBook Air.

As long as Apple prohibits developers outside the Mac App Store from using OS X’s notification APIs, Growl will still find an audience. And as long as users are unhappy with Apple’s own limited notification implementation, Growl will still have its fans. The 2.0 update should be a welcome improvement for existing users, and perhaps worth exploring if Mountain Lion’s native notifications aren’t fulfilling your needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>