HTML5 Web Notifications

While fixing some bugs in our Chrome browser extensions we came across a feature that you might haven’t used or seen before: HTML5 Web Notifications. Basically Growl for Chrome. They sound like regular pop-ups, but are actually quite different. Maybe first and foremost in that they aren’t associated with spam and creepy websites.

Most browsers block pop-ups, unless they’re fairly sure that you asked for it to pop up. Web Notifications are also blocked by default and require permission to be displayed (if you’re building a Chrome extension, adding ‘notifications’ to your manifest’s permissions is enough), in much the same way your browser might ask for permission to use your current location. They have a ‘native’ feel to them. All notifications appear in the same location (top right on a Mac), are displayed chronologically and always on top, five at a time max.

The javascript used to implement web notifications is very straightforward. Our obvious first reaction was to move error reporting in our Chrome extensions to notifications. We’re curious to hear which apps/sites/extensions also implement them, tell us on Twitter: @dangercove.

Example project

I’ve setup a simple example project to demonstrate using Web Notifications: http://dangercove.github.com/html5-notifications

GitHub repo


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Update (july 26th 2012)

Apple integrated HTML5 Web Notifications in Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. This sure looks a whole lot better and more useful!

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