Push Notifications

Learn how to send push notifications to users when they are offline.

Push Notifications provide a way to deliver some information to a user while they are not using your app actively. The following use cases can be covered by push notifications:

  • Offline messages. Send a chat message when a recipient is offline. In this case, a push notification will be sent automatically if the user is offline.
  • Offline calls. Make a video/audio call with offline opponents. In this case, a push notification will be sent manually.
  • Requests to contact list. Send requests to add a user to the contact list. In this case, a push notification will be sent manually).
  • User tags. Send notifications to specific user groups defined by tags.

Visit our Key Concepts page to get an overall understanding of the most important QuickBlox concepts.

Before you begin

  1. Register a QuickBlox account. This is a matter of a few minutes and you will be able to use this account to build your apps.
  2. Configure QuickBlox SDK for your app. Check out our Setup page for more details.
  3. Create a user session to be able to use QuickBlox functionality. See our Authentication page to learn how to do it.

Configuration

iOS

Step1. Create APNS certificate and upload it to the Dashboard.

Each iOS application that uses Apple Push Notifications must have an APNS certificate. Upload the APNS certificate to QuickBlox Dashboard => Push Notifications => Settings => Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). To learn how to create APNS certificates and upload them to Dashboard, refer to our guide.

Step2. Open your project in Xcode and enable Push Notifications capabilities.

  1. Open Xcode and choose your project file.
  2. Choose the Signing & Capabilities tab.
  3. Add a Push Notifications and Background Modes capabilities. To see these sections, you should be logged in to Xcode with your Apple ID that is enrolled in the Apple developer program.
  4. Turn on a Push Notifications capability.
  5. Turn on a Background modes capability. This section requires you to add specific app permissions.
  6. Select a Remote notifications checkbox if you want to receive push notifications when the app goes to background mode.
  7. Select a Voice over IP checkbox if you want your app to receive incoming Voice-over-IP (VoIP) push notifications and use them to display the system call interface to the user when the app is in the background mode.
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Android

Step 1. Configure Firebase project and get API key and Sender ID.

First, you should create a Firebase account if you haven't it. Then you should configure your Firebase project. To learn how to configure a Firebase project and get API key and Sender ID, refer to our guide .

Step 2. Add Firebase to your project.

  1. Prepare app dependencies. As part of enabling Firebase services in your Android application, you need to add the google-services plugin to your project android/build.gradle file.
dependencies {
  classpath 'com.google.gms:google-services:4.3.3'
  //...
}

Add Firebase dependency and include gms plugin in the bottom of your module android/app/build.gradle.

implementation "com.google.firebase:firebase-analytics:17.3.0"
//...
apply plugin: 'com.google.gms.google-services'

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Make sure that apply plugin: 'com.google.gms.google-services' is at the end of the file to avoid compilation errors.

  1. Put your google-services.json file for your package into android/app/ folder.

Subscribe to push notifications

We recommended using the library firebase_messaging (link: https://pub.dev/packages/firebase_messaging) to receive/send the push notifications.
Subscribe for push notifications. Create a push subscription using the code below.

//Push Channels
//QBPushChannelNames.GCM;
//QBPushChannelNames.APNS;
//QBPushChannelNames.APNS_VOIP;
//QBPushChannelNames.EMAIL;

try {
  FirebaseMessaging.instance.getToken().then((token) {
    List<QBSubscription?> subscriptions = await QB.subscriptions.create(token!, QBPushChannelNames.GCM);
  });
} on PlatformException catch (e) {
    // Some error occurred, look at the exception message for more details
}

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A single user can have up to 10 subscriptions on different devices.

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The deviceToken is a device registration token generated by the APNS or GCM/FCM. The token can be unregistered by the APNS or GCM/FCM anytime. In this case, the device should be registered again and obtain a new token. When a new token is obtained, a new subscription should be created.

Send push notifications

We recommended using the library firebase_messaging (link: https://pub.dev/packages/firebase_messaging) to receive/send the push notifications.
You can manually initiate sending push notifications to user/users on any event in your application. To do so, you need to form push notification parameters (payload) and set the push recipients.

//Event Types
//QBNotificationEventTypes.FIXED_DATE;
//QBNotificationEventTypes.PERIOD_DATE;
//QBNotificationEventTypes.ONE_SHOT;

//Notification Event Types
//QBNotificationTypes.PUSH;
//QBNotificationTypes.EMAIL;

//Notification Push Types
//QBNotificationPushTypes.APNS
//QBNotificationPushTypes.APNS_VOIP
//QBNotificationPushTypes.GCM
//QBNotificationPushTypes.MPNS

String eventType = QBNotificationEventTypes.ONE_SHOT;
String notificationEventType = QBNotificationTypes.PUSH;
int pushType = QBNotificationPushTypes.APNS_VOIP;
int senderId = 329873;

Map<String, Object> payload = new Map();
payload["message"] = "test";

try {
  List<QBEvent?> events = await QB.events.create(eventType, notificationEventType, senderId, payload, pushType: pushType);
} on PlatformException catch (e) {
  // Some error occurred, look at the exception message for more details
}

Argument

Required

Description

eventType

yes

Types of the notification event:

  • QBNotificationEventTypes.ONE_SHOT - a one-time event (valid only if the date is not specified).
  • QBNotificationEventTypes.FIXED_DATE - a one-time event that occurs at a specified date (valid only if the date is specified).
  • QBNotificationEventTypes.PERIOD_DATE - is a reusable event that occurs within a given period from the initial date (valid only if the period is specified).

notificationEventType

yes

Type of notifications:

  • QBNotificationTypes.PUSH - send push notification.
  • QBNotificationTypes.EMAIL - send email.

senderId

yes

ID of the user who created the event.

payload

yes

Push notification payload. Can contain a message (string) property and many other key-value pairs (string-string). Refer here for more details.

pushType

no

Channel for delivering notification. Used only if the notification type is QBNotificationTypes.PUSH, ignored in other cases.
If a QBNotificationPushTypes is not present, the notification will be delivered to all possible devices/platforms for specified users. Possible values are:
QBNotificationPushTypes.APNS
QBNotificationPushTypes.APNS_VOIP
QBNotificationPushTypes.GCM
QBNotificationPushTypes.MPNS

🚧

You can send only FCM data messages to the Android app. QuickBlox doesn't support FCM notification messages.

To process FCM data messages on your app when the app is in the background, you need to handle them. If not handled, they will not pop on the screen even if the app has received such push notification. See FCM documentation to learn more about data messages.

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You can send APNS VoIP notifications to the iOS app. However, if the iOS app is not subscribed to APNS VoIP notifications or the APNS VoIP certificate has expired, the regular APNS will be delivered instead of APNS VoIP.

Recieve push notifications

To receive the push notifications, we recommend using this library. To show notifications on the screen, we recommended using this library.

FirebaseMessaging.onMessage.listen((message) {
  AndroidNotificationChannel channel = const AndroidNotificationChannel("channel_id", "some_title", "some_description",
  importance: Importance.high);

  AndroidNotificationDetails details = AndroidNotificationDetails(channel.id, channel.name, channel.description,
  icon: "launch_background");

  FlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin plugin = FlutterLocalNotificationsPlugin();
  
  int id = message.hashCode;
  String title = "some message title";
  String body = message.data["message"];

  plugin.show(id, title, body, NotificationDetails(android: details));
});

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Make sure that the application has a correct icon file for notification.

Unsubscribe from push notifications

To delete a subscription, use the following code snippet.

int id = 929988234923;

try {
  await QB.subscriptions.remove(id);
} on PlatformException catch (e) {
  // Some error occurred, look at the exception message for more details
}

Troubleshooting

A subscription is removed after a push is sent and the push isn't delivered

Cause: a device registration token is invalid.

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The device registration token is represented as deviceToken within the system and is set in the subscription. See this section to learn how to subscribe a device to push notifications.

Tip: check if the device registration is correct. The device registration token can be invalid due to a number of reasons:

  1. Some other data is set instead of a correct device registration token. For example, a Firebase project ID, Firebase user token, etc.
  2. The client app unregistered itself from GCM/FCM. This can happen if the user uninstalls the application or, on iOS, if the APNs Feedback Service reported the APNs token as invalid.
  3. The registration token expired. For example, Google might decide to refresh registration tokens or the APNs token may have expired for iOS devices.
  4. The client app was updated, but the new version is not configured to receive messages.

For all these cases, remove the invalid device registration token and stop using it to send messages. Then, obtain a new token and make sure to create a new subscription with a valid token.


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