The AllJoyn™ Notification Service framework provides a common mechanism for devices/apps to send human-readable text to be displayed or otherwise rendered (e.g., text to speech can render the text as audio). Notifications are broadcasted on the AllJoyn network for all devices/apps to receive, and persists for a specified TTL defined by the producer of the notification. In addition to text, other metadata like audio, images, control panel objects, or other custom attributes can be sent; it is up to the receipient to determine the best way to handle and render custom attributes. Also, Notifications can be globally dismissed on all consumers.
Concepts and Terminology
Producer and Consumer
Two roles exist:
- Producer. This is who sends the notification.
- Consumer. This is who receives the notification.
Notifications can be one of three types: Info, Warning, and Emergency. Info should be used most of the time. When appropriate, a Warning can be used to draw more attention to the notification. Similary, Emergency can be used prudently in situations when extreme attention is required.
Each message is sent with a specific Time-to-live (TTL), in units of milliseconds. The message will persist on the network until its TTL expires. If a Consumer joins the network within the TTL, he will receive the message.
Additionally, messages using the same Message Type overwrite one another. So, at any given time, no more than 1 message from each of the 3 Message Types can be valid for a given Producer. For example, if a Producer sends an Info message 20 seconds after sending the previous Info message that had a 100-second TTL, the new message will overwrite the previous message. Consumers from this point forward would only receive the new message and not the old message, even though the TTL of the old message did not yet expire.
Multiple Language Support
Like all AllJoyn services, Notification supports multiple languages. The Producer sends the notification string in all supported lanugages. The Consumer can use whatever supported language is most appropriate for its needs.
Dismissing notifications can occur in 3 ways:
A Consumer can dismiss the notification locally by removing the notification from its user interface so that its uses no longer see the notifications. This will have no bearing on if the notification is visibile by other Consumers on the network.
Consumers or Producers, can send a signal to all Consumers on the network to dimiss. Consumers, upon receiving this signal, is expected to remove the notification from view.
A Consumer can tell the Producer to stop broadcasting the notification Subsequently, new Consumers will no longer receive the notification.
Audio and Image
Notifications allows for attributes to be specified. This gives the notification an extra dimension beyond just text. Most common attributes are audio and image. The attribute can either be specified as a URL or as an AllJoyn object path. If the URL is provided, the consumer can optionally fetch the audio and/or image via the specified URL and render it locally as appropriate.
Control Panel Object Path
A special attribute is the control panel object path. The producer fills out this attribute to provide extra direction to the consumer. When the consumer receives this notificaiton, if it supports the Control Panel service, it is encouraged to fetch the control panel at the object path and render it to the user. Typically this is done to allow the consumer to perform an action associated with a notification.
An example is if the oven has been left on for some, in addition to sending a notification, it can include a control panel to be rendered to provide to the user the option of turning off the oven.
A notification can contain any number of custom key/value pair attributes. The Consumer can optionally use this information to display a richer notification. Custom attributes are application-specific, so the Consumer needs to have special informationa about the Producer in order to properly use the custom attributes
As an example, imagine a radio sent a notification every time a new song was played. This notification contains the artist and title as the notification text and a custom attribute for the album art URL. A normal Consumer would receive the notification and only display the notification text, that is, the artist and title. But a Consumer that is aware of this Producer, could also get the album art URL and display that along with the notification text to provide a richer custom notificaiton.
How It Works
Under the hood, notifications are sent using AllJoyn Sessionless Signals. Sessionless Signals provide everything that is needed to send and receive the notification:
A mechanism for a Producer to broadcast information to AllJoyn apps/devices on the AllJoyn network.
A concept of a TTL.
A mechanism for new Consumers to join the network to be informed of previously broadcasted notifications whose TTL had not expired.
The sessionless signal contains the full notification, including all supported languages, and full metadata. Refer to the Notification Interface Definition for more details on the specific contents of the signal.
Dismissing notifications are also handled by sessionless signals.
In summary, this is how things work:
A Producer sends a sessionless signal containing the notification.
Consumers will receive this signal and display the notification.
Consumers joining the network later will also receive this signal and display the information.
When the TTL expires, the Procuder will stop broadcasting this sessionless signal. Consumers will stop displaying the notification
At any time, a Producer or Consumer can send a sessionless signal to dismiss the notificaiton. Consumers, upon receiving this, will stop displaying the notification.
A Consumer can connect to the Producer to request that the notification stop being broadcasted.