Skype has plenty of notification options. For example you can separately configure it to give sound or visual notification when one of you contacts comes on-line. Unfortunately it is an all-or-nothing option. Either you get notified for every contact or for none of them.

The constant pop-ups disturb me, but I'd like to get alerted when my mother comes on-line.

Luckily I found Skype::Any written by Takumi Akiyama. It's wonderful. It let's you connect to your running Skype client and then it can do all kinds of magic.


Before looking at the actual code. As I read in the documentation, the module (version 0.06) it only works on Linux and Mac OSX. Patches for Windows are welcome.

I tried this on Mac OSX.

After installing Skype::Any I also had to install Cocoa::Skype, and Cocoa::EventLoop separately.

The module also comes with a warning. Apparently Skype is shutting down part of this API in December 2013. That's now. So this whole solution might go away in a few weeks. We'll see.

The Selective Skype Notification Agent

use strict;
use warnings;
use 5.010;

use Skype::Any;
my $skype = Skype::Any->new(name => "Selective Notification Agent");

$skype->user(sub {
    my ($user, $status) = @_;
    say $status;
    say $user->handle;
    say $user->fullname;
    say '---';


That's the whole script.

When you run this script it will try to connect the already running Skype client. The Skype client will ask for your permission. (For a screenshot see the documentation of Skype::Any.) You can let this script connect to your Skype once or always. Later you can turn this off, from within Skype.

Also, as far as I understand the permission is given to a third-party application with a specific name. By default Skype::Any would use the name Skype::Any, but in the constructor we gave it another name.

Anyway, once the connection is established, the events in the Skype client will generate call-backs in our script. We are interested in the user-related events, so register the event handler $skype->user passing an anonymous subroutine to it.

When a user changes their status, this function will be called and two values will be passed. The first one is a Skype::Any::Object::User object and the second one is the new status of the user. In the short time I ran this script I only saw the strings NA, OFFLINE, and ONLINE.

The Skype::Any::Object::User has all kinds of interesting methods providing details about that specific contact, but the most interesting to us is the handle field. This is the unique Skype ID of the person.

In the above example I only printed it along with the fullname but I could do other interesting things.

Filtering Selected Users

I could create a hash of "username" => "Text message" pairs for the important people. (In this case my mother), and print the message only when the user handle matches one of the keys:

my %vip = (
    mothers_handle => 'Your mom is online!',
    handle_of_boss => 'Pretend you are busy working!',

$skype->user(sub {
    my ($user, $status) = @_;
    return if $status ne 'ONLINE';
    my $handle = $user->handle;
    if (exists $vip{ $handle }) {
		say $vip{ $user->handle };
        system qq{say "$vip{ $handle }"};

First we disregard notifications where the user has just went off-line by next if $status ne 'ONLINE';.

Then if the handle exists as a key in our hash, we do something. Specifically I just read about the say command available on Mac. It would read the text to me. So instead of a visual notification I went with a speaker telling me what to do.

You might have a better idea what to do there.