Simple & Easy Notifications Using BoxCar
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.