Solutions for user notifications on front-end

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Hi all,

Im currently building a photo sharing website and have a first version finished. Next step is to incorporate notifications in the website if a user likes one of your photo's, or comments on a photo you posted.

Just like the notification bell at the top of the forums. Any idea how to approach this functionality?

Thanks in advance.

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  • Send AJAX requests to poll the server for updates. Easy to implement but puts strain on the server. 
  • Use long polling (reply to a request only when there's an update on the server). A bit more difficult, but fewer unnecessary requests. 
  • Use websockets (Socket.io, Pushy for push notifications) or SSR (server sent events). Ideal, but a bit more involved to implement.
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

Another question; how do i store these 'notifications' in my processwire installation, and how do i check whether they are 'read or seen' by the user, and thus delete them?

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You'd have to represent each reaction (e.g. seen, read) using a Page with a user (Page Reference) and a timestamp field (using `created` may suffice) and relate it to an action (e.g. X posted a new picture).

Using simple image fields for storing images probably wouldn't be enough. Because images now have to hold a lot more data than they were designed for (when was this image posted, who reacted to it, what was the reaction). You'd need a more complex data structure (using Pages and fields, or custom fieldtypes) to represent all actions, reactions and events.

In short: it's not trivial. Or I'm making this complicated in my head.

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3 minutes ago, abdus said:

In short: it's not trivial. Or I'm making this complicated in my head.

Absolutely right, it's not trivial and it can very quickly become properly complicated.  @abdus has very quickly pretty much nailed my current thinking on this kind of functionality.

I'm currently working on just such a system (with the added extra of location-aware messages), but by breaking it down into manageable bits (I'm hoping) it becomes feasible. 

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I already have a sort of page structure with images and users. So when a user likes a image, the image id is stored in a field in the user template so i can keep track on which user likes which image. The image itself is a page containing data of the image (title, description, exif data of the image, user_id who added the image, etc).

Of course I can add the user_ids to a field to the image page itself, but that doesn't keep track if the user of which the image belongs to has 'seen' the notification.


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I *think* you could replace the field in the user template (a user is a page, right?) with a repeater or a PageTable (best bet) and use this to store references to 'reactions'. These being pages, could then contain fields for image/page id, kind of reaction (like/share whatever), and that the image poster has been notified of that reaction.

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Ah that indeed would be a good start i guess. Thanks for your replies. I will make a start of the functionality tonight and keep u updated with the progress :-) 

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