Mojo Messaging Service for webOS: More than Just Push | webOS Nation
 
 

Mojo Messaging Service for webOS: More than Just Push 9

by Dieter Bohn Tue, 07 Apr 2009 3:16 pm EDT

If you haven't taken a quick look at Michael Abbot's Web 2.0 video, here's something you may have missed: the Mojo Messaging Service.  As we mentioned last week, Palm is jumping into cloud services and their Mojo Messaging Service looks like it's going to be a sight better than MobileMe and Apple's push notifications.  This could be more than just push, folks; don't believe us?  Here's the big man himself:

The first service that we're going to be launching [...] is the Mojo Messaging Service.  This provides a simple, XMPP-based pub-sub frame work where you can send events, or push events, into applications in real time that are running on webOS.

Why is this interesting?  Well, let's say for example if you're a developer and you want to build an application around the fact that I want to target a particular set of users in an area because there's traffic congestion and I want those folks to know about that -- you as a developer can build such an application.

We don't know about you, but that sounds like a location-aware push, as in "Push this alert out to all users whose devices happen to be in South Chicago." 

Now, it's theoretically possible that the iPhone could do this someday -- the app on the iPhone would just need to periodically report its location back to the developer (though, of course, you'd have to have the app open to do that, whereas on the Pre the app could sit quietly in the background, updating your location on a pre-set basis).  It's also theoretically possible that we're reading a little too much into the above paragraph.

Here's one thing that isn't a theory: however robust these webOS push notifications are, they are going to be a lot more useful and a lot less annoying than the pop-up/modal style notifications the iPhone will pick up this summer.

Oh, and if you're wondering what all that "xmpp pub-sub" stuff is about, here's the short version: standards-based XML for formatting, receiving, and sending data.  Here's a bit more info, but what you need to know is that it's literally not much more complicated than developing webOS apps themselves.

9 Comments

Sweeeet

I think it's interesting that Palm is building this into the OS. It makes sense that Apple is, given that 3rd party applications can't run in the background - so therefore you notify the OS and it passes that along to the application and launches it, etc.

If you contrast that with Windows Mobile, where you CAN have background applications, it seems as though an OS-level push system isn't needed since each application can independently maintain an open socket connection and get data pushed to them as needed.

So for WebOS, I'm wondering if the reason for this is at least partially because they're expecting most 3rd party software to be widget based (html/javascript) and therefore not have the wherewithal to be able to listen to a data connection for notifications in the same way that, say, a native application could.

I'm sure there are other advantages, such as the ability to launch an application if it's not running when a message is received. Plus having a unified API for notifications probably makes life easier for developers. I have no point here at all, just talking out loud. Interesting stuff.

Apple hit one note about Push right on the head: It's far more power-efficient. With the proper push handling the phone sits completely idle until a push notification comes through and wakes up the appropriate program to handle the info.

We may debate what's more time efficient, but push just makes sense for mobile devices with limited hardware resources (memory, battery). I'd love to see all messaging apps offer Mojo push tech for the Pre instead of constantly polling or holding open active channels for info.

(That would go for contact stuff, too. If I change something in my contacts on Facebook and am linked to a Pre, push that change down to the Pre so it doesn't have to go syncing Synergy all the time. Much more efficient.)

Indeed.

"...you can send events, or push events, into applications in real time that are running on webOS."

So do apps have to be running to receive the notifications? What happens if they're not? Either I'm completely misunderstanding this (very possible!) or it has a quite different function to Apple's system, which is specifically designed to deal with notifications for apps that aren't running.

"Here's one thing that isn't a theory: however robust these webOS push notifications are, they are going to be a lot more useful and a lot less annoying than the pop-up/modal style notifications the iPhone will pick up this summer."

Less annoying perhaps but not more useful if apps have to running. Every app that can receive notifications needs has to be running all the time? That can't be right, can it?

@ME

"Apple hit one note about Push right on the head: It's far more power-efficient. With the proper push handling the phone sits completely idle until a push notification comes through and wakes up the appropriate program to handle the info."

I disagree with this. Why would having the application running in the background eat up any significant amount of battery juice? An application that sits there in idle mode waiting for a notification uses virtually zero CPU. So how would it be drawing more power than if the application closed?

"So do apps have to be running to receive the notifications? What happens if they're not? Either I'm completely misunderstanding this (very possible!) or it has a quite different function to Apple's system, which is specifically designed to deal with notifications for apps that aren't running."

Good question, I'm wondering the same thing myself. The biggest value of a unified OS-level push system (in my mind) is the ability to launch a non-running application if it gets a message and needs to do something with it. If this is not the case, then I don't see this whole notification thing as a big deal at all. (other than maybe it makes development a little easier for 3rd parties)

I sure hope this comes along soon. Instant message pushes without having to be constantly connected to a server (I live in a spotty reception area) is one thing I really miss about my blackberry.