Liquid Daffodil Unification - Notification Center for Windows and Windows Phone

Liquid Daffodil has unveiled to Windows Phone Central a new notification system that will provide developers on all Microsoft platforms the ability to tap into services offered by the team. What we're looking at here is an encrypted, cross-platform notification service for Windows and Windows Phone, hosted on the Azure cloud. So what could this mean for consumers should developers hop on and implement the system into apps?

Think unified Notification Center and you've got the idea.

Unification (as it's branded) is app-centric, requiring developer participation and user "opt in" for authorisation, much like similar third-party offerings such as Tweet Marker for those obsessed with Twitter. Users will be able to download the Unification app for platforms of choice and may then synchronise notifications across devices by authenticating with a Microsoft Account. The plan is to offer a seamless experience.

So how can developers get involved and leverage Unification for their content?

  • Developers will request an Access Key that will be associated to a specific app
  • They can simply update their existing notification code to include a single, lightweight, REST-based call to the Unification Cloud Service
  • It's then optional to associate a file extension with the connected app (for direct app access)

Unification has the potential to be fairly big for the platforms since Microsoft currently doesn't have a centralised notification centre for Windows and Windows Phone, which is where Unification could enter with a solution. The only issue will be apps that have not yet taken advantage of the new notification service, especially since this is an opt-in service.

Toast Notification

Example of a Windows Phone toast notification

Liquid Daffodil will be implementing the service into all apps developed for Microsoft platforms, including Outsider, flyby!, glƏƏk!, Cowlick! Super rowi Bros: TweetWerks, and fantweestic. Exact details have not yet been confirmed and we're sure many will have questions.

The overall idea is to provide a unified way for consumers to remain up-to-date across Windows Phone as well as Windows with supported apps.  We're told that Unification will be moving into public beta starting March, which will open up the following services:

  • Visibility into all app-based Toast and Tile Notifications including:
    • Windows Phone 7+
    • Windows Phone 8
    • Windows 8 Store
  • Global, English language, app availability to view and manage Notifications for the following devices:
    • Windows Phone 7+
    • Windows Phone 8
    • Windows 8 Store

Phase two will commence on March 31st and will add more features:

  • Notification delivery services for Windows Phone 8 devices
  • Notification delivery services for Windows 8 Store devices
  • Multi-device notification services, such as sending notifications to both a Windows Phone 8 device and a Windows 8 device simultaneously
  • Global, multi-language, app availability to view and manage Notifications for the following devices and scenarios:
    • Windows Phone 7+
    • Windows Phone 8
    • Windows 8 Store
    • Windows 8 Desktop
    • Web

Are you a developer and wish to get involved and participate in the beta of the Unification service? Be sure to contact the team at Liquid Daffodil are after all developers who support Windows and / or Windows Phone. Unification is a free project to participate in (and will be free once the service hits gold and goes live), so we urge you to at least contact them about your app(s).

Consumers: we'll keep you all up-to-date with project progress and when Unification apps will be made available. It's clear the project is still in the early stage with the beta just around the corner, but we're excited to see what Liquid Daffodil can achieve with Unification.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Thanks a lot! Now THIS is the news :) 
  • Yes. This IS news.
  • Hot damn!
  • Easily the best dev around for WP & windows 8 apps. Hopefully MS will give them further support and greater exposure for their work in app stores.
  • MSFT will either shoot this down or buy them out if it takes off
  • Hoping for the latter
  • Surely we hope it will be the later ... :|
  • Cannot wait!
  • Awesome news. More and more I'm beginning to believe in this "re-imagining" of Windows Phone thing.
  • +1, the potential is huge, a unification of w8, wp8, and wrt would have huge ramifications
  • Huge news! If Liquid Daffodil can do what Microsoft has not done yet (blue) this is huge. I can see a similar system being used to cloud save Xbox games and resume on another platform. Almost puts mwc to shame.
  • awesome !! it'll be an instant hit if developers commit.....even if apollo plus adds this feature, this app will flurish coz of its support to wp7 which won't have any other alternative
  • It's kinda sad that a independent developer has to do it, and Microsoft is not (at least we know), but it's good news indeed.
  • Doubtful Microsoft is not working on it, I expect good things from Apollo and blue later on
  • Isn't that how these things always work. Big company releases OS. People find gaps and write their own apps. Big company releases new version with those gaps filled. That happened a thousand times with Android as it matured.
  • Well iam under whelmed. Ms said a unified notification center was coming. The next WP update will kill this off. And because its dev opt in I don't think it will take off. I was hoping an auto notification pick up from the app (no need to add code to the other app) but this is meh imo. Or... I don't understand it?
  • I don't think so, liquid daffodil is supporting wp7 as well, I don't think blue is rumored to do that, plus new wp7 devices are still being launched
  • but there won't be any option for wp7 users except this so it'll take off pretty well
  • Indie and 3rd party devs will opt in. Not sure how big ones react though. But guys with WP7.x should be ecstatic as this is something Nokia would do to keep WP7 alive!
  • Correct. What Microsoft will (eventually) provide will NOT be as comprehensive or powerful as this solution. Maybe they'll just end up buying Unification, like they did with Skype. :)
  • Made my day!
  • Wow, these guys are really dedicated to Windows! Thanks guys!
  • Great news for the platform, however I think it's almost certain Microsoft are working on their own Notification Centre. What with this still being in development it could be pretty bad for the developers if MS release their own close to the launch of Unification.
  • WP7.X
  • Yeah but Microsoft most likely won't support 7.x with a Notification Centre.
  • Very true sorry I didn't consider that! That said I don't think it's a surprise to say we'll likely see more and more devs switching to wp8 only apps rather than supporting a legacy platform.
  • My question is why can't MS do this? Why do we have to wait for a third party dev. The answer is MS can do this but why are they waiting so f-ing long
  • They probably want to do it well, but have it as a low priority.
    I'm a rocket scientist btw. I design rockets.
  • I love these devs!
  • I know most people will be excited about this.
    I am not. I will only use a notificacion center if it is baked by Microsoft. Not about to send my notifications/information to third parties.
  • Same here. It's sure to fail.
  • Yeah, your tweets are real important.
  • Hehe, I love this kind of answer. Listen buddy, not all of us have the same take about our privacy.
    Not all of us have the same opinion on everything. Just because most people are excited about it doesn't mean that everyone has to be.
  • Lol trust me I understand, I deleted my google account because of privacy concerns (and I used nearly every service they offered). My friends don't understand it.
    However the push notifications here are a) encrypted, b) 5 word snippets of the actual content if it isn't a generic "new message", c) often don't display to/from information.
    That's a far cry from what google and fb collect on people. There's literally nothing there to be concerned about.
  • Your notifications for Apps ALREADY are created and sent through a 3rd party, unless your ONLY notifications are for Mail/SMS, etc.
  • A good idea, but requiring dev opt in leaves some glaring holes and becomes redundant, and is a catch 22. For example... The eBay app needs this because it doesn't have a live tile. It doesn't have a live tile because the devs aren't working on it. It will never get this because the devs aren't working on it. Moreover: apps with active developers probably already have a live tile if it benefits the app at all, thus removing the need for it to support a notification center. The only benefit besides sync is, you can choose to not use the provided live tile. Eh... I'll play with this, but we need a notification center for apps with stupid devs (like eBay), not for apps with forward thinking devs.
  • This. We need a notification center that has direct access to read ALL toasts. LD is making a nice effort but it's just a partially effective stopgap to what is really needed (which I'm sure they already know).
  • Wow this sounds amazing!
  • I'm excited!
  • Hopeful news for a otherwise slow few weeks in the WP8 world
  • ...and I didn't know Microsoft had bakers too. I want some pie!
  • Since this is an opt in solution, I highly doubt it will go anywhere beyond news blogs. Has the potential, just like everything that was announced in the past for WP. Don't understand why so many people are excited about this.
  • Well, users are almost entirely in charge of this, as they vote with their downloads and dollar. It's really easy to motivate developers to be "Unification Ready". The apps that aren't will be left behind. The service WILL go live and WILL be successful, I'm sure, and apps/developers that won't take the simple steps to be "enabled" will have a weaker featureset.
  • I have to agree with erzhik. For this to be useful every single app on my phone with notifications has to support it and this is just not gonna happen. Do you guys think that CNN, USAtoday and for me their german equivalents are going to support it? It won't happen. What's the point of a notification center if you still miss some of your notifications?
  • Certainly Live Tiles would never come close to providing what this Platform would provide. Having a comprehensive Notification Center, especially to view HISTORICAL notifications (you missed a few and now Live Tile shows only the latest) is a HUGE deal. The average user has the ability to see around 3% to 5% of their notifications, essentially JUST Email/SMS/OOTB Social. (Most notifications for users are from Apps, not these elements.) Anyone that doesn't see that a) This is a HUGE value add for users (and developers) and b) how wonderful it will be to be able to see and manage ALL your notifications for ALL your devices in one location is, missing the reality of this announcement.
  • The big issue is that it costs to run a notification platform and while free today at some point it will cost somehow. Which is why Microsoft have to be the one to provide something like this.
  • Could Microsoft potentially be planning to buy Liquid Daffodil? Since they are receiving tons of praise with their extremely clever and high-demand features/apps.
  • Let us hope not, they would get buried in microsoft political nonsense, integration would be haphazard and take forever, let them be independent
  • Kind of sad that a 3rd party developer has to develop this service. Come on Microsoft. ;(
  • Everyone is excited about this for now but when the dev says "$3.00 for the notification app",  everyone is going to want to wait on MS.
    People will want this free and I doubt it will be. Or will it be 99c  
  • I have many apps that I use in once in a while, such as Group Me, Whatsapp, facebook, it would be good to get these notifications that I missed without having them enabled on my start screen, I would pay and I think a lot of other people would as well
  • I think so too, and knowing Liquid Daffodil they'll price it at a minimum, as well as make it free for users around the world who are unable to pay for apps, like they do with alot of their apps.
  • In the 2nd to the last paragraph of the article it says this "...will be free once the service hits gold and goes live". So it'll probably be free for all W8, W8RT, and WP8/7 users.
  • Thank you for the clarification. Excellent news indeed.
  • Codesmith? Have my babies!
  • lol a nice standing offer, Codesmith you listening?
  • How can this be made but the one made by windowphonehacker pulled?
  • Wow wonderful news!
  • MS will release a notification center by the time this is actually available. Great idea even though it is a lil too late.
  • You're actually quite incorrect...and what they will be releasing (eventually) will not even come close to being this comprehensive.
  • Wow u must be a real industry insider to have that kind of info. Tell Melinda I said hello.
  • There have actually been quite a few things distributed that provide details on what's coming. Either you've missed those, or miss what's provided by Unification. Its ok, you're still a nice person.
  • Yeah, didn't Belfiore admit back in Nov that the NC was a glaring omission and it's release is a priority? My point is that your statement on comprehensiveness is not factual. No one knows what MS has or doesn't have up their sleeve regarding a notification solution. Offerings from both parties are more than welcome in my book but I do expect the MS solution to be more comprehensive or innovative.
  • Totally agree, but the issue is that solutions from any larger group, including Microsoft, will be slow moving at best. At some point Microsoft WILL have a solution that is "comprehensive" but it's very far away. It would have been like telling users to never use or pay for Skype a few years ago because Microsoft will "eventually" own it and roll it into their services.
  • Yeah, didn't Belfiore admit back in Nov that the NC was a glaring omission and it's release is a priority? My point is that your statement on comprehensiveness is not factual. No one knows what MS has or doesn't have up their sleeve regarding a notification solution. Offerings from both parties are more than welcome in my book but I do expect the MS solution to be more comprehensive or innovative.
  • I just don't see the need for this.
  • The "need" for it is pretty well established, in fact is the "most requested" feature for Windows Phone and Windows 8 at the moment. The question is: who will provide this important service to users worldwide?
  • Don't forget to ad the third screen, swipe in from the left method.
  • Now that's an app worth getting right away!