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I bet you already read about the amazing cloud-powered controls that were introduced with the latest release of RadControls for Windows Phone. Today, only a few days later, we have another big announcement to make. Everlive, the service that powers the cloud controls, now also features push notifications! 


What are push notifications?

Push notifications are a convenient way to drive customers back to your app and increase the overall engagement and satisfaction of your users. They can be used for notifying your users about marketing campaigns, promotions, reminders, IM alerts and many more.
You can send any type of data you want to your app and process it on the device in any way you want, even if your app is not currently running.
I won’t go into details here, but if you need more information, you can check out the documentation in the Everlive Backend Portal.

Push notifications in Windows Phone

Ok, push notifications are a great opportunity, but how to use them in your apps? In Windows Phone there are several types of push notifications:
  • Toast notifications – those notifications simply show a standard Windows Phone toast message, which opens your app when tapped
  • Tile notifications – tile notifications can be used to update the primary or a secondary live tile of your app
  • Raw notifications – raw notifications can be used to send some data to your app. You can handle the data in any way you want.
I am happy to announce that push notifications in Everlive are fully implemented and support all features that are supported by the Windows Phone OS. This means:
  • All Windows Phone versions are supported
  • All types of notifications are supported
  • All different parameters are supported (for example, you can change the background of your wide tile, which is a new parameter to tile notifications in Windows Phone 8)

What you get

The benefits of using push notifications from Everlive:

Support for all major platforms

Push notifications are supported for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. If you have a version of your app in a platform different than Windows Phone, or plan to have, we’ve got you covered.

No custom web servers needed

Normally, when you implement push notifications, you need a web server that stores your devices. You contact this web server to send notifications to registered devices. With Everlive you do not need that, everything is stored for you in the cloud.

Convenient native SDK

We have a great Windows Phone SDK that will jump-start your integration with push notifications. You do not even need to know the specifics, it is that simple.

Sample app

Of course, to showcase everything, we created a simple app that uses push notifications. You can just download it, deploy it on device or emulator and see push notifications in action. The sample app is available from the Everlive Backend Portal.

Device integration

Now, let’s get a bit more technical. I will give some examples on how powerful the new Everlive Windows Phone SDK is. The examples will go along with screenshots from the sample push app that we distribute.
The first thing you need to do is to enable push notifications on the Windows Phone device. Below you can see how the sample app looks like when launched:

Without Everlive, the initialization process includes using the native Windows Phone SDK and understanding the basics of how everything works. While it is always a good idea to know how things work, with Everlive you do the initialization like this:

var currentDevice = app.WorkWith().Push().CurrentDevice;
await currentDevice.Initialize(pushSettings).ExecuteAsync();

Once this call completes, the device is initialized, a notification channel is opened to Microsoft push servers and everything is ready. Here is how the sample app looks like after push is initialized:

Good. Now you must register the device in Everlive, so that we know to send notifications to it. Registration is done like this:

await currentDevice.Register(null).ExecuteAsync();

That’s it. After this call completes Everlive can send notifications to the device. You can see all registered devices in the Everlive Backend Portal.


Sending notifications

Now that you have integrated push notifications in your app, you probably want to know how to actually notify your app about something.
Of course, you could send push notifications from the SDK. But we made it even easier. On the Everlive Backend Portal you will find a convenient interface for targeting and sending push notifications. In fact, you can manage everything from there: browse and edit registered devices, send push notifications, observe statistics.


Targeting and scheduling

As you can see in the screenshot above, Everlive allows you to precisely target who receives the push notification. You can segment notifications by:

  • Device information - properties of the device, such as platform type, platform version, device model, locale and others.
  • User information - information from the Everlive profile of the user that owns the device.
  • Custom parameters - custom key-value pairs that you send when you register the device. For example: Age = 29.

You can also schedule notifications to be sent in the future.

Native SDKs

All Everlive features can be integrated easily in your app by using the native SDK for Windows Phone. It comes in two versions – for Windows Phone 7.x and for Windows Phone 8.
You can download both distributions from the Everlive Backend Portal.

I hope you will like the new additions to Everlive and RadControls and will find them useful. We put a lot of effort to achieve a great developer experience. As always, we would appreciate your feedback. More great features are coming soon, so stay tuned!

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