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The Android application is quite dead for me (but not to me) - I've been messing with an alternate app, but the lack of notifications is still a pain.

The 'long term' alternative would be to get web push notifications as suggested, but that's going to take an indefinite amount of time to be a thing.

In discussing alternatives with the dev of another, unofficial SE client, it was mentioned that

Would love to bring push notifications to the app, but unfortunately part of this implementation requires server-side implementation of Firebase Cloud Messaging. It seems like things are still up and running on the Stack Exchange side, but I'm not sure if the API to register a device for push is public.

It's a bit of a strange thing to ask, and I know lots of the mobile APIs still secret squirrel, but would it be an option to informally (or formally!) open this up, and give some heads-up before the notifications API and backend is sunset?

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For iOS, the answer is definitely no; push notifications are sent to an app with a specific identifier, namely com.stackexchange.stackexchange and there's no way someone else could register that application identifier and 'spoof' the official app. You could compile the source code of an app yourself, and use a wildcard certificate to install it on your personal device, but wildcard certificates don't support push notifications.

My Android skills are a bit rusty, but I doubt it would be possible there. It seems to violate some of the integrity of the ecosystem (OS and apps) but I'm happy to be proven wrong.

Right now, I have the app running on three devices, including my day-to-day smartphone (an iPhone 11). I know that someday I will need to replace the device, and not be able to install the iOS app anymore (restoring from backup won't work either). My backup plan for that: have my server login to a Stack Exchange site directly and monitor the inbox WebSocket, and use another app to send the push notifications. Probably with some filter to suppress non-urgent messages... But I hope Stack Exchange will implement web push notifications before that happens.

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  • Well - if I could code, I'd do that but .... yeah, I'd actually be ok with running stuff on my server and sending it over to my phone. I'd jokingly suggest a matrix bridge but ... that's just me Dec 13, 2021 at 20:59

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