BetterDiscord allows users to modify the application according to their preferences


Over the years, gamers Already swear Discord-Not Slack-is the best desktop chat application. But like any great thing, there is still room for improvement. Enter BetterDiscord.

Better discord Allow users to customize Discord’s desktop application according to their personal aesthetic and user experience preferences, and introduce other major and minor quality of life improvements. Just download and install the free software, and then select plugins and skins from BetterDiscord’s database. Other changes will appear automatically, such as buttons for browsing the list of servers submitted by users and new emoji layouts. (This software is not suitable for mobile applications or browsers.) The background of your Discord window can be the face of your favorite anime grandma, and you can delete the annoying gift button on the right side of the text box. You can make Discord look like it did three years ago, or add a Google Translate option.

This experience is reminiscent of the early Internet era, when black and green terminal style Winamp skins were very popular, and all content downloaded online was customizable-formal or not. BetterDiscord is not an officially recognized application; and may violate Discord’s terms of service, which prohibits modification of Discord. But since 2015, the software has been installed more than 5.3 million times, and its developers said that they have not seen Discord take action on users to modify the client.

BetterDiscord is the work of a loose volunteer development team, led by a 27-year-old full-time firmware engineer named Zack Rauen. The project started a few months after Discord was launched in 2015. At first, BetterDiscord was patching small loopholes in the chat application and adding new features such as search. Rauen, who joined the project in 2016, said that he started to make a plug-in that allows users with different “roles” on the server to choose different colors for their names and texts. Later, he wrote code to ignore Discord’s minimum window size requirements and delete annoying buttons that he had never used.

Since then, the project has continued to expand. Although Discord has officially integrated some functions that were previously only accessible through BetterDiscord, BetterDiscord is still one step ahead. Dozens of users submitted skins and plugins, for example, detailing who “reacted” to messages, determining how many friends are online, showing the number of server members, or obscuring NSFW posts. BetterDiscord’s top three plug-ins have all been downloaded more than 100,000 times on their website. The most popular among them are: one adds the Spotify control panel, the other shows the time you have made a voice call, and the third shows all the hidden channels of the server.

“We see new users joining because they like the visual customization of the theme, and we see them joining because they like the functional changes that plugins can provide,” Rauen said. Since so much content is submitted by users, he and others conduct manual security reviews of all the content encountered, looking for malicious code. They also plan to launch an in-app store for BetterDiscord sometime this year, allowing users to browse, download, and install plug-ins from their Discord window.

Features like this may be particularly useful for new Discord users-and there are a lot of There are more people now than one or two years ago. Discord started as an Edgelord group chat platform for gamers, but quickly became mainstream in 2020, when both very online and less online people were looking for ways to stay in touch. People use chat apps with its screen sharing feature to watch movies, share memes (without logging in to Facebook), and even teach college courses. By last summer, Discord abandoned its “For Gamers” brand and adopted a new slogan: “Your place to talk.”This year, it added a Similar to club function Called the stage. Today, it has more than 300 million users, and their interests are not limited to video games, but also knitting, metal music, table games, favorite YouTube users, etc.

As Discord has increasingly transformed into “Something for everyone,” BetterDiscord brings out the spirit of the early Internet age and helps Discord users express themselves without being bound by what the company thinks is best.


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