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New Mobile App Service Seeks to Improve Push Notifications

London-based Pusher has launched a new service out of beta that is said to improve on mobile app push notifications, providing more visibility and information to developers about those notifications.

Called Pusher Beams, the hosted push notifications API reports back to developers when notifications are received and opened.

While such a capability has been available in other communications systems like instant messaging and e-mail, it doesn't come with mobile app push notification services like Apple Push Notification Service (APNs) for iOS devices and Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) for Android.

Beams relies upon a database of device tokens provided by APNs and FCM, managing the device token lifecycle via its API. The tokens are updated automatically when refreshed so coders don't have to update them manually.

Pusher said it identified the lack of developer visibility about push notifications in the beta for Beams.

"Notifications are the lifeline of applications -- alerting users when deliveries are on their way, when news breaks, when a favorite player scores, or when a conference call begins -- but developers are often left wondering whether notifications were delivered or opened,' the company said in a blog post earlier this month.

"When a notification is sent to a device with Beams, the client SDKs will report back an acknowledgement event once the notification is received. If the user taps the notification to open the app, the client SDKs will report back an open event."

The aggregated acknowledgement and open events data can be viewed for analytics with the company's Insights tool or in a real-time event log in the Debug Console.

The company said its Android and iOS SDKs are crafted to include the latest FCM and APNs updates.

The service costs $99 per month in a Pro plan, with a Business plan costing $399 month, and an available Enterprise plan about which developers must contact the company.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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