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Simple & Easy Notifications Using BoxCar

Published - Saturday, April 14, 2012

Notifio was an awesome tool I made use of to make up for the lack of screen notifications for new mail in older version of iOS. It was also a great application in general that allowed me to send notification to my phone without having to write my own application specifically for iOS, or send SMS message or the like.

However, ever since I found out that Notifio’s time was short (it seems the service will be retired soon) I have been looking for something that could replace it. BoxCar is definitely it. BoxCar car is easy to set up, there are a lot of applications that work with it out of the box, and they have a fairly straight forward API that allows you to interact with it.

First you have to set yourself up a provider, which is easy enough to do on their website. This will give you access to the keys you will need to call the services, which are described in their documentation.

I set up a very simple WCF webservice that simply accepts a string which is then calls the BoxCar APIs and a message is sent to my phone and/or my iPad:

 [OperationContract]
void NotifyKevin(string message);

The implementation simply some libraries that I set up that calls the BoxCar’s API JSON webservice:

 var client = new RestClient(_baseUrl + _apiKey + "/notifications");
 var request = new RestRequest(Method.POST);               
 request.AddParameter("notification[message]", message);
 request.AddParameter("email", _email);
 request.AddParameter("emails", _emails);
 request.AddParameter("notification[from_screen_name]", _sentFrom);
 request.AddParameter("notification[from_remote_service_id]", _uniqueId);
 request.AddParameter("notification[icon_url]", _iconUrl);  

RestResponse _restResponse = client.Execute(request);

Simple as that. I set up the webservice in a place that is easily accessible to me, and now I can simply call one method and pass in a string if I would like to programmatically notify myself of anything. For example if the temperature in my house is above or below a certain critical temperatures like I describe in my previous post.

In fact I spent just a few minutes setting up this page which allows you to send a message to me! Check it out.

Labels: BoxCar, JSON, Notification, Notifio, WCF

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I am Kevin Kinnett, a software developer in Atlanta, GA.More about me.

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Innovative Architects


I am a Senior Software Engineer/Consultant working for Innovative Architects.

Innovative Architects is a Gold Certified Microsoft Consulting company located in Duluth, GA, right outside of Atlanta.

I am mainly engaged with BizTalk development projects, although I also specialize solving business needs using ASP.NET, and Sharepoint among others.

ADAM


I my previous position I was a Software Engineer working for ADAM Inc.

Adam specializes in software for employers, benefits brokers and healthcare organizations which provide customizable health solutions to help hospitals, managed care organizations, and consumer web sites become an integral part of the online consumer healthcare experience.

I was responsible for several mission critical applications, including being on the 2 person team that was charged with the final stages of the rewrite of the company’s flagship product

Nexidia


In a previous position I was a Software Engineer working for Nexidia

Nexidia has applied years of research and development to deliver a comprehensive range of solutions for audio and video search. Nexidia works with some of the world’s largest contact centers, rich media companies, government agencies, and legal firms to help them realize the amazing possibilities now discoverable in audio and video content.

I was part of serveral .NET application development projects including standalone tools, applications, and frameworks used to perform system testing, automated functional testing, load testing, and automated UI testing. Also applications for continous integration and automated deployment of configurable complex data sets into installed products.

Nexidia


While attending Kennsaw State University I majored in Computer Science

While in the STARS program, I developed a software application to keep track of the audio/visual equipment the department loans out, which is currently in use and written in Java Swing and uses a MySQL database for persistence

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