Browser Notifications with Yip

Yip Icon

Ever wanted your web application to be able to show notifications even if the user may be in another browser tab or application? Now you can!

The relatively new Yip extension for Firefox adds notification functionality. This is not a small JavaScript notification that pops up in the browser tab, but one that integrates directly with the users Operating System.

Yip uses libnotify/notify-osd on Ubuntu Linux, Growl on Mac, and Snarl or Growl for Windows on Windows. If none of these notification applications are installed, it will use Firefox’s simple and not as pretty notification system. Ubuntu Linux users have notify-osd installed by default, Growl is popular with Mac users, yet Windows users probably don’t have Snarl or Growler for Windows installed.

When building with notifications remember that they are meant to enhance the user experience, not require it.

The Yip extension supports both the Fluid and Prism APIs, but recommends Fluid because of support for an onclick callback function.

The API is simple and straight to the point:

window.fluid.showGrowlNotification({
  title: "your notification title",
  description: "some description",
  onclick: optionalCallbackFunction,
  icon: "URL to an icon"
});

Since Yip may not be installed on the users computer, just wrap it with a check for fluid. A complete example looks like this:

if (typeof(fluid) !== 'undefined') {
  window.fluid.showGrowlNotification({
  title: "Hello World",
  description: "The Google icon says Hi",
  icon: "http://www.google.com/favicon.ico"
  });
}

Related Projects

  • Roar: Embed notifications into a web page (powered by MooTools).
  • growl.js: Windows only notifications using Growl for Windows.
  • NotificationAPI: Notifications in Google Gears

Of all these options, Yip is the best solution by far; its fully cross platform, has a simple to use API, and is ready to use. Install Yip now.

The Importance of the HTML Video Tag

Since Firefox, Safari, and recently Chrome hit the browser scene, the web has been growing and improving at a much faster pace. The next evolution of the web comes in the form of HTML 5, the latest HTML standard that brings native video playback, offline storage, 2D drawing via the canvas tag among others features. Of those, the video tag is the most important and critical to the continued success of the open web.

Native video playback inside a web browser will now be as simple as embedding an image into a page:

<video src="http://example.com/yourvideo.ogg" controls></video>

The benefits of this are immediately obvious to any software developer. It’s a native tag so it fits in much better to the web platform, it can be controlled through JavaScript, and no more messing around with a black-box flash embed. Side benefits of this are bringing video to all users, not just the platforms that Flash supports (stable 64 bit version + iPhone version).

So far only Firefox 3.5 and Safari 4 have built in support for the video tag; Opera and Chrome support is in the works.

The web has flourished and grown to where it is today because it is based on open standards and because it is not controlled by any one company or organization. Lets continue to keep the web open and successful by using the new video tag.