Web Notifications

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This is a page for keeping track of notes on the Web Notifications specification.

This is very rough first draft, pulling items from the spec and from email discussions. It is by no means complete, and is intended to serve as a template for other people to add more information.

Use Cases

  • "You've got mail" ambient alert
  • A calendar reminder with an interactive control for snooze delay
  • Email web app wants to alert "you have new mail" outside the frame, and allow the user to click on that alert and be taken to the inbox page. This does not work on NotifyOSD, because they explicitly don't support that part of the D-bus notifications spec. However, Growl would support this.
  • "Your printer is out of paper"
  • "You have an incoming voice call from Bob. Answer the call? Yes/No".


  • Must work with existing platform notification APIs and user notification systems (Growl, NotifyOSD, etc.) at the simplest level, wherever possible
  • Must be independent of platform, device, or application
  • Must allow simple text messages to be displayed
  • Should allow interactive text messages to be displayed
  • Should allow Web format messages (HTML, SVG) to be displayed
  • Should allow fallback to whatever notification level is supported by the environment
  • Must be presented only when the user has indicated they are desired
  • Should not require user confirmation
  • Must define event model for managing user interactions with notifications
  • Must not show any notifications generated by script from a particular origin until the user has granted permission for that origin to show notifications
    • a request for such permission should only be allowed when initiated by a user gesture.
  • Should allow for queued messages (e.g. maintain a FIFO queue of pending notifications)
  • Must allow notifications to be displayed asynchronously
  • Must describe various security issues


Modality and security

Henri Sivonen:

FWIW, Microsoft explicitly says notifications must be ignorable and don't persist.
"Notifications aren't modal and don't require user interaction, so users can freely 
ignore them." "In Windows Vista® and later, notifications are displayed for a fixed 
duration of 9 seconds." MSDN
As such, it's always unsafe to design UI in a way that expects the users to be able 
to acknowledge a given notification.