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Spark UI - Hard to read, ugly as sin, my chat user is PINK?

Ok, I’m on a Mac, that’s my first problem. When it comes to quality IM clients, my only real choice is Adium and the developers wouldn’t know a XMPP specification from their own face in the mirror.

The Spark client is pretty cool. It does XMPP well, IM gateways work fairly well, you can transfer files, the Asterisk plugin is nice and you can autojoin group chat on login. (You listening Adium devs?)

What’s not cool about Spark is the god-awful UI. It’s washed out, has tiny hard to read fonts and the leading and spacing between text is squashed and poorly designed. You can’t customize anything about a message or group chat window other than the font size. No colors, no background, nothing. If you have trouble reading pink over white, good luck, because you are stuck with it in Spark. Yes, you heard me right, my username in chat is PINK for god’s sake!

Spark seems to have it from the technical side, but why, oh why have the devs totally ignored one of the most important things about an application centered around nothing but text? You need to be able to change the colors and fonts to allow different people to comfortably read the text.

Did I mention my username in chat is PINK? Yes, PINK and I can’t change it. Nevermind that it’s near impossible to read pink on white, why am I pink?



I never heard of such a problem with pink text within Spark and I don’t have a MAC, so I have no idea how to fix it. Does is happen in MUC and in P2P chats?

As it’s Open Source one could fix these things for oneself or submit a patch to @Derek DeMoro (the main developer). The ability to change the font size is quite new and is a small step to increase the UI.


PS: Some hints why you are pink:

  1. Pink on white is hard to read and quite useful for unimportant text, so it may be possible that you post only unimportant things 2. Pink is the color of the guys from the other bank, you know what I mean?

Well, after looking around at some screenshots of the Windows version, it appears that only the Mac version suffers from the poor design choices and readability issues. The windows version is suitably designed to appear as a Windows application with proper fonts, colors and layout. The Mac version is some random Java skin, washed out and hard to read.

Why bother porting to another platform if you are only going to do a half-assed job? Just because Java is portable doesn’t mean it should be.

Hi Dan,

Could you post a screenshot showing the pink text and what version of Spark and OSX you’re using? It would probably help Derek figure out what might be going on.




I did try the “/me” command today … and with “/me text” the action/line gets pink within Spark, but only this line.


I run spark on my mac and my winblows machine. I see no real difference in the quality of the UI. Both are easy to read. What version are you running?