The ever-rising popularity of Android operating system has encouraged web developers to build apps that are both visually appealing and functionally rich. Amongst the cluster of Android app development parameters, push notifications has emerged as a critical one. App developers need to push messaging for being able to deliver timely information to the application. Also, this is vital for creating a rich and compelling app experience. By maintaining the push notification speed and reliability, you can simply add elegance to your Android app. Google Cloud Messaging has emerged as an amazing means of delivering push notification messages to the app. This blog will showcase some of the highly recognized features of Google Cloud Messaging service you’d love to know in-depth.
What is Google Cloud Messaging for Android(GCM)?
Google Cloud Messaging for Android(GCM) is basically a service that allows web developers to send data from their server to the end user’s Android-powered device. In addition to this, you can also receive messages from other devices available on the same connection. GCM handles different aspects of message queuing, delivery of messages to the target Android app running on the device under focus. The best part of GCM is that it is completely free irrespective of your messaging needs.
Google Cloud Messaging For Android(GCM)- Getting Started
Before delving into the world of Google Cloud Messaging for Android(GCM), ensure to set up the Google Play Services SDK. This is required for using the Google Cloud Messaging methods. Now, here’s a step-by-step process of working with GCM:
Step 1 – Create a Google API Project
For this, you need to open the Google Developers Console. Here, simply click on “Create Project” link and supply a suitable project name, followed by clicking the “Create” button. After project creation, a page will appear displaying the randomly generated project ID and project number(for example: 674383628367). Make a note of this project number because it will further be used as the GCM sender ID.
Step 2 – Enable the GSM Service
Here, within the sidebar available towards the left, select APIs and auth. Within the flyout displayed for APIs, turn the Google Cloud Messaging for Android toggle to ‘ON’.
Step 3 – Attain an API Key
Being one of the skilled Android App Developers, follow the below mentioned guidelines:
- Within the sidebar available on the left, select APIs and auth> Credentials
- Under the “Public API Access” option, click “Create new key” button
- In the “Create a new key” dialog, click “Server key” button.
- With the resulting configuration dialog, type in your server’s IP address, followed by clicking the “Create” button.
- On the refreshed page, copy the API Key, which will further be used for performing authentication on the application server.
Step 4 – Once you’re done with all the above 3 steps, its time to implement GCM. Here’s a list of activities you need to perform for the same:
- Make a selection between GCM connection server. You can either opt for HTTP or XMPP(CCS). The server you choose will fetch messages from a third-party application server and send the same to a GCM-enabled Android app running on a separate device.
- Next, implement the application server to interact with the selected GCM connection server.
- Pen down the client app which is GCM-enabled and runs on an Android-powered device.
A Closer look at messages sent in GCM
Every push notification message sent in GCM comprises of the following features:
- A payload limit of 4096 bytes
- An automatic storage for a duration of 4 weeks
Despite the above mentioned similarities, there are situations when the messages may behave differently. One such major parameter distinguishing messages is the collapsed or non-collapsed status. A message which replaces the preceding message has the status as “collapsed” while the one which is delivered to the app is assigned the status as “non-collapsed”.
In addition to above, message with payload is the one that serves as a ‘ping’ to the mobile app to contact the app server for fetching data. The only downside of a non-collapsible message is that the order of delivery isn’t guaranteed.
In the current scenario where Android app developers are facing numerous hassles in developing applications, Google Cloud Messaging has definitely come up as a ray of hope. Here’s hoping the details furnished in this post would help you do away with issues faced while pushing notifications to the Android app.
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