I saw someone recently ask if EEPanels can be used to add some flavor. Just list the appropriate frame as the panels parent ie: ChatFrame1 for your main chat window. ChatFrame2 for combat log and so on. It is case sensitive.
While the panels dont minimise/maximise with the chat frame, if you use levels cleverly enough you can make the illusion that they do.
Other than that you can get skinner and disable everything while enabling the skinning of chat frames. It works fine with it and you can make it a gradient or whatever colour you wish.
With the latest revision I'm experiencing several problems.
1. The level of the chat frames is below everything else. Only when I grab a chat frame and hover it over another do the levels correct. Upon reloading the UI the levels reset to the lowest.
2. After I maximise a frame it remains maximised. The button doesnt change direction either.
3. On every /reload ui the chatframes position reset.
4. The frames refuse to be placed at the bottom of my screen. The position resets higher when I drop the frame.
I'm using minichats latest revision. Oh btw the attach option is working great. It's awesome to see so many features so soon after the initial release. Keep up the good work!
EDIT: I deleted my WTF data for minichat and it was working fine upon set up. After I maximised my combat log it became stuck just as before. Upon a /reload ui the chat frame levels went back to the lowest setting (under action bars/ufs). However the combat log was maximising fine during the setup. I guess that enabling certain features broke it. I believe it was the animation setting.
EDIT2: It seems that the chatframe alpha is a problem with skinner.
Using the newest version the chat frame maximizes when walking through zone areas.
Example: Leaving Falcon Watch and entering Hellfire Peninsula.
Looking great so far. Sitting idle in Falcon Watch with minichat still gives me between 6-12 fps. Without it enabled I get between 16-20. There isnt much chat taking place but I'm still getting an fps hit. I'll go to a major city in a bit and see how it behaves.
Edit: In Shatt the fps hit is the same. The chat frame seems to maximize randomly when out in the wild. No chat is taking place. Also it does indeed maximise when walking from one area to the next.