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26 October 2012, 12:10

W3C publishes Working Draft for Push API

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The W3C has published a Working Draft for a push notification API for web applications. Currently, there are more than a dozen different approaches to sending push notifications from a server to a client, including EventSockets, PubNub and Urban Airship. The W3C draft, authored by Eduardo Fullea of Telefónica and Bryan Sullivan of AT&T, is a new approach that can use several different protocols and is intended to become a standard endorsed by the W3C.

The Push API is designed to send notification messages from a web application to a user's browser, most commonly on a mobile device, even if the web application currently does not have focus. The system is designed to work with several different delivery protocols, including browser-specific mechanisms. It defines a PushManager interface that can deliver messages over several different services at once. An included permission system mandates that web sites ask for users' consent before messages can be pushed to their browsers.

In a comment on the draft, Mozilla developer Jonas Sicking expressed concern that the architecture of the proposed system makes it too easy to cause a denial-of-service (DoS) on the notification server and that developers will have to take extra care to encrypt messages in transit. He also had doubts about the scalability of the approach, citing scaling problems in Google's and Apple's push notification solutions. Sicking's concerns will be discussed by the developers involved with the proposal at the upcoming W3C Technical Plenary meeting in Lyon.


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