Push notifications without centralised server

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by cookieme, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. cookieme macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2005
    I've skimmed through the Apple documentation on push notification implementation and I'm unclear on the provider aspect.

    If I create an app called myApp (original I know) and rather than develop and maintain a centralised provider (server), I develop a server-side solution which the users of myApp can deploy as they wish. Will this scenario work?

    Essentially, this is what it looks like:

    User A's Provider -> notification -> APNS -> notification -> User A's iPhone -> notification -> myApp

    User B's Provider -> notification -> APNS -> notification -> User B's iPhone -> notification -> myApp

    NOTE: User A and User B are completely independent in terms of what notifications their providers send and how they use myApp. There is no interaction whatsoever!

  2. fishkorp macrumors 68020


    Apr 10, 2006
    Ellicott City, MD
    The server doing the pushing needs certificates installed. You going to give your certificates to every single person?
  3. cookieme thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2005
    Yes, I see that as being the obstacle. Hence, why I asked my question in the first place to see if there are any solutions. Obviously, giving my certificate to others is a very bad idea.

    If anyone has accomplished or has ideas on how to accomplish push notifications with each user being the provider then I'm very interested.

  4. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    You could have the client on the user's computer do all the computational work then have a central server that just takes the message from the client and passes it to the APNS.

    You still have to have a central server, but it has to do less work and doesn't require any storage space (other than temporary storage if there is a backlog of messages).

    Are you trying to avoid it as more of a security/privacy thing or to keep costs down in the long run?
  5. cookieme thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2005
    Hi jclardy!

    Yep, I've considered some sort of agent that the user can install and then it forwards to my provider server and then to Apple. However, I still need the central server.

    There are a number of reasons why I was interested in a solution without a central server.

    1. I'm targeting enterprise customers who already have the IT infrastructure and necessary resources to be their own provider. Hence, I was interested in leveraging their infrastructure and let them worry about the issues involved in maintaining that infrastructure.

    2. As you mentioned I am concerned with security and privacy, as I would rather remove myself from the trust equation than convince enterprises that I'm trustworthy. Yes, I know that push notifications are one way, but there is still a concern that I'm storing the notifications in transit.

    3. Yes, I know companies are cropping up like appnotify.com that offer you a cheap and easy way to implement push notification without requiring you to invest in the necessary server back-end. Nonetheless, I go back to point 2 that security and privacy is a concern and if a server backend is going to be required then I think I might be better off being in full control of both the hardware and software as the provider.

    It looks as if Apple's APNS design is such that without a central server (in what ever form, e.g. your own or a third party's) there is no way of implementing push notifications in an app.

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