Utilities for sending messages to Growl on Mac OS X.

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Patrick Stein <>


Patrick Stein <>


Public Domain

CL-Growl Client Library

Growl is a notification system originally written for Mac OS X, but now supported on Windows and Linux. Growl supports a small network protocol over UDP called GNTP. This is a Common Lisp client library for registering an application with Growl and sending Growl notifications on behalf of the registered application.

Obtaining the code


Before your application can start sending messages to Growl, it needs to register the notification types it intends to send. On the receiving end, the message display can be customized based on the notification type. Here is a simple example showing some of the many options to the register function for an application called Lambda Fun with four types of messages: debug, info, warn, and error where debug messages are not displayed unless you tweak your Growl preferences to display them:

   :app "Lambda Fun"
   :app-icon ""
   :enabled '( "info" "warn" "error" )
   :disabled '( "debug" )
   :host "localhost"
   :port 23053
   :password "growl-password"
   :checksum-mode :sha256)

See (documentation #'growl:register t) for a description of the other parameters available when calling register.

After an application has been registered once (from anywhere, in any process), you can send a message Cannot connect to database! with the title Critical Error of type Error with priority 2 that will stay showing on the receiving desktop with:

(growl:notify "Cannot cannoect to database!"
              :title "Critical Error"
              :priority 2
              :sticky t)

See (documentation #'growl:notify t) for a description of the other parameters available when calling notify.

Almost all of the parameters to both register and notify take their default values from special variables which can be rebound by your application. Here are the available variables. You can use (documentation <variable-name> 'variable) to see documentation for each of these variables.

*growl-default-host*     ; initially "localhost"
*growl-default-port*     ; initially 23053






This library does not currently implement the subscribe protocol method of GNTP.

Currently, the Mac OS X Growl server does not support any of the encryption modes that Growl for Windows supports.

Dependencies (4)

  • flexi-streams
  • ironclad
  • trivial-utf-8
  • usocket

Dependents (0)

    • GitHub
    • Quicklisp