Character counting plugin for Pidgin

Someone asked if there was a plugin for displaying the character count of the current message in a Pidgin chat window’s input widget, which would be useful when using Twitter via IM, to know if you’re going over the 140 character limit. I looked things over and came up with this simple plugin after about two hours of hacking … it places the current character count on the right-hand side of the GtkIMHtmlToolbar:

Screenshot of Pidgin 2.2.2 with the convcharcount plugin

I’m inclding the new plugin’s source as a diff/patch to the Pidgin source, and a pre-built DLL binary for Win32:

For those of you on Win32, just unzip the .zip file into your C:\Program Files\Pidgin\plugins directory. Then, go into your Buddy List window and select “Tools -> Plugins,” then click the checkbox next to “Conv. input chars count“.  That’s it!

Let me know what you think of the plugin. Thanks!

UPDATE: I’ve finally gotten around to spinning a Debian 4.0 etch .deb for i386. If you’re on Debian, give it a try.

UPDATE: I’ve also spun a Fedora 8 RPM for i386.

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  1. Wow – I’ve been looking for such a plugin for … well, since I’ve started using Pidgin!
    And now it just pops up in my Technorati search – what are the odds!
    Thanks a bunch, Dossy!

  2. FND: It seems a lot of people have been looking for such a plugin, so I’m glad it wasn’t too hard to implement. I’m also glad you found it–that’s awesome!

    Let me know if you have any trouble getting it working or if you find any bugs with it. I tested it pretty thoroughly but only on one machine, WinXP SP2.

  3. No bugs so far – but I’m on WinXP SP2 as well…
    Nevertheless, I’ll report back here should I find anything.

  4. FND: Great, thanks! Any other plugins you’d like to see implemented? I’m always looking for good ideas … :-)

  5. Typical – now I have someone to write plugins for me, and I can’t think of anything…
    If/when I think of anything, I’ll let you know – thanks for the offer!

  6. Awesome… I want this for Adium, hopefully someone creates it. (Also, I still can’t log in with OpenID: “Login with OpenID failed. Reason: Couldn’t create OpenID URL.”)

  7. Pete: You know, if I had a Mac and could run Adium, I’d definitely implement the same functionality as an Adium Xtra/plugin.

    re: OpenID, I’ll ping you directly about it.

  8. says

    Nobody against about that i added this plugin in plugin list on ?

  9. Useful plugin – thanks. Definitely helps a lot when ‘twittering’ via IM :-)

  10. am i missing something? I put the .dll file in the plug-ins folder and I clicked the check box in the Plug-Ins menu to turn it on. Nothing happened. I even restarted pidgin, but I still don’t see any character counter. I’m using 2.2.2.

  11. beslie: Look at the screenshot I posted–the character count is just a subtle change in the right-hand side of the bar above the text input box.

  12. Can i use it on linux??

  13. Kuba: You should be able to patch the Pidgin source and compile the plugin on Linux, yes. I can take a whack at compiling it for Debian 4.0 and openSUSE 10.3 which is what I have available to me. You’re on your own for other distributions, though. (The Debian and/or openSUSE binaries may work on other distributions, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.)

  14. You’re a life saver. Thanks for your hard work.

  15. Thanks for the kind feedback, Justin!

  16. Wow! Thanks!

  17. You’re welcome, Grace. :-)

  18. Nice to see how a random idea turned into such a useful tool…

  19. FND: Yeah. What’s even more amazing is how many people love Twitter Karma. Such a simple little app. with such a tremendous response.

  20. I was hoping for a plugin like this as soon as I started using Twitter through Pidgin. Any progress on a Linux version? Thanks!

  21. Dan: what distribution of Linux are you using?

    I only have Debian 4.0 and OpenSUSE 10.3 readily available to me, so those are the two distributions that I could easily compile binaries for. If anyone else has compiled this plugin for Linux and would like to share, please post a link to your build in the comments here, thanks!

  22. Bingo! This is just what I wanted. Thanks for putting this out there!

  23. Joe: Thanks for letting me know you found it useful!

  24. Works great! Those on vista should make sure they allow the file to the plug-ins folder, I had to allow it before it would work! =]

  25. Awesome! I almost exclusively twitter things through IM, and now I won’t be the laughing stock of the Twittersphere when I post things with too many characters.

    Icing on the cake would be if I could specify buddies to turn it on/off for (i.e. only on for Twitter), but it’s small enough and tucked away in the window so it’s not really that big of an issue.

    Great work! Thanks for making this!

  26. Rudi: I’m glad you found it helpful!

    I find that having the character count in my IM windows in general help me stay focused on how long my messages are getting. It takes conscious effort to be clear and concise and the character counter serves to remind me.

  27. Thank you, haven’t tried it yet but now I’m using pidgin to twitter this is a necessary addition!

  28. @beslie this may be a stupid question, but do you have the formatting toolbar displayed? the only reason i ask is that i tripped up on this myself…

  29. Thanks for the plugin

  30. Haudy Kazemi says

    Have you considered trying to get your plugin added to the Pidgin PluginPack? At only 4kb compressed, and at least as useful as some of the already included plugins, I think it would make a useful addition.

    Here’s their relevant wiki entry:

  31. Haudy: I’ve thought about it, but I don’t see what the benefit would be. If folks want the plugin, they can download it and install it from me.

  32. Haudy Kazemi says

    The major benefits I see are raising awareness of the plugin amongst Pidgin users, and making it easier to get installed. The nice thing about the PluginPack is it is a one-stop-shop for many useful plugins…that’s what I really like about it.

    The only two plugins I use that aren’t included in the pack are Off-The-Record and Guifications, and now your character counting plugin. I initially found your plugin while searching for a Pidgin Twitter plugin, but the character count is an interesting statistic to have even on general, non-Twitter chats.

  33. Haudy: Well, the plugin is GPL’ed, so if whoever maintains PluginPack wants to include it, they can.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  34. Use this on all my PCs, and it’s part of my essential downloads when I get a new one. Great for twitter. Thanks!

  35. Paul: Wow, thanks for the praise! This is why free software is so great, the feedback you get from all sorts of people you otherwise never would have met.

  36. Just a quick comment to say thanks for putting this plugin together. I needed this for Twitter like everyone else. Much appreciated!

  37. Mike Paahana says

    i da hawaiin pidgin massa no duddys can spoke um betta dan me

  38. Thanks for this, makes twitter so much more useable from Pidgin

  39. Thank you for writing this! Now I won’t go over the limits when posting to

  40. Indeed, very useful! I just installed the Debian package on Ubuntu 8.04 and it’s working fine. Thanks!


  41. Hi, can I have the source of your plugin ?? thanks!!

  42. leegurus: The source is included in the patch already linked to above.

  43. Can you tell me how to apply the patch to the source. I am attempting to compile the latest Pidgin on Ubuntu. I’ve compiled pidgin before, however not applying a patch

  44. Kevdog:

    Basically, like this —

    $ cd /path/to/your/pidgin/source
    $ patch -p1 < /path/to/where/you/saved/pidgin-convcharcount-plugin-patch.txt

  45. Dossy: Thanks! I couldnt get that in first look. I am writing a pidgin plugin, i hope your handon would help me lot. thanks again for the source.

    hey, could you consider posting clean make file and source code?? i would make more easy for developers to get started!!

  46. leegurus: Considering only 4 lines are changed in the, reposting the whole thing is wasteful. I also don’t want to encourage people to use an outdated file they download from this page–people should apply my patch to the latest Pidgin source, not reuse an old version they might download from here.

    The code is open source, of course. Feel free to post it somewhere yourself, if you feel it would be valuable to do so. I think it will do more harm than good with people using an older file that may not work with newer Pidgin source, resulting in questions and problems that are wholly avoidable.

  47. Dossy — I guess this has been asked, but what happens with future versions of Pidgin — will this patch still be valid since obviously line numbers and code have changed

  48. Kevdog: The patch should continue to apply as long as the doesn’t change drastically, which it hasn’t in quite a while.

    If in a future version of Pidgin, the patch doesn’t apply cleanly, just leave a comment here with the Pidgin version number and I’ll post an updated patch.

  49. Hello! I’m trying to download the Win32 file, but the server at keeps timing out… is there a download mirror somewhere else?

  50. MKLopez: Ah, was a DNS issue that I just fixed – thanks for bringing it to my attention. It may take ~15 minutes to propagate. Try again.

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