What is Push Notification?
Considering this highly technology era in which we are living, it is not surprising that new mobile applications, smartphones and software updates appear every day and with this, appear new words that we are not clear yet about what they mean. One of these words may be Push Notifications, a mechanism that we use daily. In our today’s post we tell you what it is this mechanism.
Push technology is a way of communication in which a server sends a message to an endpoint device. That means, it’s a message sent to you by a server to notify that you have new information. This notification appears in the status bar of your mobile. This technology is characterized by the server is who starts this communication, although the user has not interest about this. The server always notifies the new information.
The most important in Notifications Push is its immediacy so it will always notify new messages or events even if we aren’t using the application. Although the application is turned off or open in the background, when the server receives new information, it will always let us know. In other words, Notifications Push always “wake up” our smartphone even if the user is not activately using the application.
By definition, so that the server can send the message to the user, the latter has to subscribe previously to its information channels in order to the server know where to send that message. This is, during user registration, it’s important to save the User’s Registration ID in Android and the Devide Token in iOS and store them to send Notification Push when the information is available in one of these channels.
It’s important to distinguish between Push and Pull technology. The main difference is who starts the communication. In Pull technology is started by the user, that is when we set the frequency with which we want to be notified by the server. For example, if we set the new information frequency to 5-10 minutes, this will be time that we could see if we have new notifications. The server works depending on this frequency. The Pull down to refresh is an example of Pull Technology that means to pull down an element for updating information. Here, the user is who starts this action.
How does Push Notification work?
Basically, different connections are opened from the server to Apple and Google. They are who directly communicates with smartphone (Apple by APNS and Google by GCM).
In this regard, Blackberry was the first platform that used Push technology to communicate to their users the receipt of e-mails instantly. This was a breakthrough in the field of smartphones thanks to RIM (Research in Motion) signed an agreement with telephone companies through which a permanently open connection was established with the RIM servers. From here, a lot of companies began to use this technology.
Actually, the apps that use most frequently this mechanism are native applications and also hybrid apps but developing a special native complement. Many apps developers have decided to use this technology to increase the user interaction with their app.
There are two ways to introduce this method in any project:
- Developing the notification on the server, connect it with the Apple and Google servers and then, implement it in the smartphone. This development is complicated and depending on the number of Push that will be sent, they will consume information data from a server and send many requests. It’s important to know what type of Push we want to use and where it will be stored (if they are a chat or a message).
- Introducing any possible existing solution such as Urban Airship: It consists in using a SDK within the mobile applications that connect with a third party responsible of sending the information to Apple and Google. These platforms usually charge per each notification sent, although its price is not expensive. Normally, use this way is faster and therefore cheaper in development. The only disadvantage is that you will depend on another platform to send the notification but the services on offer can compensate the price for each notification.
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