Provide user notification support in SimplyE for iOS and Android regardless of vendor content provider limitations.
Notifications provide the user with messages regarding their account. For eBooks these notifications would prompt the user about the following:
- Books on hold available for checkout
- Books reserved for checkout to expire
- Books checked out ready to expire
- Library Card to expire
Mobile devices are capable of “push” notifications that power applications such as email alerts , news alerts to instant messaging. In reality the notification services on the mobile platforms are polling queued messages on a central service like apple or google or amazon. However, to the end user they are “pushed” to their devices for the applications are actively running in the background and checking in with the respective notification service for a particular app message. The notification can manifest in a number of visual objects from app badges, banners, alerts, or sounds. Non app based notifications could be SMS messages “text Messages” or emails or automated phone calls. For SimplyE on mobile we will limit the notification to App Notifications (Alerts, Badges, Banners) Although in the future it could be email or sms.
- Vendor Notification Systems: Email push notifications from vendors can hijack the user or confuse them. Vendors push notifications from their systems through email. However, they do not provide subscription services for machine based API access to queued change events or notification queues which SimplyE can reliably integrate from vendor to vendor. These independent systems allow the vendor to manage the user experience by drawing users into their app through email notifications and potentially confusing the user.
- Security and Privacy: Vendors such as Overdrive require a users security credentials in order to access the their holds and loans. This creates a challenge for SimplyE in that storing such information is against is principle privacy and security design and is not consistent across vendors. Therefore, SimplyE client initiated queries against a patron distributor bookshelf. This requires SimplyE to use a client initiated notification strategy vs a server based push notification strategy.
Because the Circulation Manager is polling providers bookshelf only when prompted by the user, the mobile app can provide polling based notifications by asking the cric manager for an update of the users bookshelf on a regular basis. This server side strategy is due to the fact that the users ide and pin are required for access the service providers API in exchange for a temp token. Because SimplyE servers do not store a user’s service provider credentials, updates are user initiated from their client application. In other words, the users privacy and security is in their possession, not the libraries. While this may not allow Push based notifications it does enable near real time notifications based on the client's ability to initiate updates in the background while the user is “in” the app.