Quick & fast iOS/Android custom push notifications?
March 5, 2014 7:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project, and I want to be able to make a series of custom push notifications to a phone: for example: every time someone somewhere dies of a spider bite, I want to be notified.

I'm working on a project, and I want to be able to make a series of custom push notifications to a phone, based on a series of processes/calculations done on a server elsewhere, in relation to the phone's lat/lon position. The app on the phone will have highly minimal functionality - say, displaying only an image or text, with no real UI or anything necessary.

Concrete example 1): Assume we have a convenient API that tracks the number of deaths per day. Every time the death count goes up, the mobile (ios/android) app receives a push message.

Concrete example 2): Let's say this API also has the location (lat/lon) and names of these deaths available. Every time you are within a 10 mile radius of a death that occurred within the last week, you get a push notification of the name of that deceased person.

Because these examples will be continually changing, I need to find a good prototyping / experimenting environment in which I can test these out. I can deal with getting the data and processing it; I'm more concerned with a quick, easy, and timely way to send notifications to a mobile app.

What's the quickest/easiest way to achieve this, using frameworks or push notification services, etc? Thanks!
posted by suedehead to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There's a free iOS API from Urban Airship that does a lot of useful stuff...I built an app pretty fast this week with it to register for push notifications to the phone. You can talk to it using all kinds of programs and RSS things.
posted by steinsaltz at 8:17 PM on March 5, 2014

We did this with tram arrivals for a real time tram arrival application. The issue is that push notifications can't be delivered exactly when you want the notification to happen. We used urban Airship for IOS and it's very good and used the native Android API - we built a desktop app to push the notifications to the phones following the advice here.

We gave up because the notifications we wanted to push had to be timely - i.e. get off the tram now. But it wasn't hard to get it to work.
posted by mattoxic at 8:44 PM on March 5, 2014

Have you tried ifttt.com (& corresponding mobile app)?
posted by myrrh at 1:17 AM on March 6, 2014

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