Notifium Updates

Notifium is a project I’ve been rather brutally kicking around since ..

** checks domain name first purchase date **

Cough.

Splutter.

2015.

Dear god.

….

OK, had to walk away there and take some deep breaths.

Here’s a potted history (as much as I can remember, anyway).

I started building the mobile app in Appery.io, one of the first really decent mobile app builders that I came across. Even though they seem to have not actually made any feature enhancements in those seven years, they are still way beyond the other app builders in many ways.

However, I was using Cordova/Phonegap as the base technology for the mobile app, and needed some plugins to deliver the core functionality. One of those was Branch.io, a mobile attribution service. This means that user can encounter the Notifium service through any digital method (eg, a QR code, a link, a written piece of text) and end up with the app installed on their phone including relevant data from that initial point of contact – even if they don’t have their phone on them, or it’s not a smart phone. That’s like some real black magic going on.

I love branch.io. Appery didn’t.

I got the app basically working, went to install Branch, the final plugin, and Appery couldn’t handle the filesize.

After that, I went onto at least 3 or 4 different approaches to create and build the mobile app, and hit a different technical limitation every time.

Similar kinds of things happened with the API that I needed to run, but these were mainly limitations in my familiarity with the technology involved, rather than insurmountable obstacles.

The most recent (about 6 months ago) attempt at the mobile app (back again on Cordova/Phonegap) got (again) 90% of the way there, and then (wait for it) Microsoft announced they were retiring the second main service I wanted to use.

You can imagine the kind of language that was heard in my house at that point.

So I’m back to doing yet another rewrite. This time, using React Native. It’s backed by Facebook, and uses React as the front-end, which I’m familiar with. All good, right?

Well, yes, unless you want to do something absolutely crazy like try to read a QR code on your mobile app. I know right? I’m really pushing the boundaries of mobile technology here.

There are, if I remember correctly, 4 react-native packages for camera uses.

One is basically dead, and has been for a couple of years.

Another one relies on that first one.

A third is marked as not yet ready for production.

Finally, I found the fourth one. Despite searching pages of Google results and not seeing this one, I found a reference to this one on a react Discord group.

Sidebar: I love Discord. I hate Discord.

I also discovered Firebase dynamic links, which can replace the core Branch service I’m using, so I’ve switched over to that as the build process (turning the code into a full mobile app) is easier.

So, I’m back in the Notifium game, baby!

More news as I progress.

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