Boxcar BlogBlog

  1. New Boxcar 1.2.2 has been released

    This version is a bugfix release fixing:
    • A crash when deleting all notifications at once in inbox.
    • crash sometime happening on Twitter account registration.

    We also improved the server-side component with the following changes:

    • Faster delivery of RSS feeds, lower latency.
    • Fixed issue with encoding in some feeds.

    Enjoy !

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  3. Boxcar Large Scale Developer Push Service Available to All Developers

    ProcessOne and Boxcar have been building push services for real-time notifications since the launch of the push feature on iOS. Our core business has been since that time to deploy large scale notification services for carriers, broadcasters, ensuring very high availability, very fast delivery in a cost-effective way.

    A massive scale push service now available for everyone

    This service has only been available for select large scale customers until now.

    We are opening it today to everyone, including smaller developers. It offers many benefits that can attract startups and smaller brands:

    • Our SDK is tailored to be very small and lightweight. We do not want you to build a huge stack of services you will likely not use to plug on our platform.
    • Our platform is cost-effective and offers fixed priced plan for unlimited number of messages. Our technology allow us to control the numbers of workers, redundancy, speed, message priority in realtime. Thus, you pay a fixed price for an unlimited number of messages and can select which delivery speed you need considering your number of devices and the criticity of your typical notifications.
    • We can grow and scale with you. The same platform works for small companies to huge broadcasters.
    • Our platform offers unique realtime analytics feature to see how people are reacting to a given notification in realtime.
    • Our platform goes beyond standard phone push notification with an in-app notification channel. You can receive notifications from within your app that do not need to go through Apple or Google services.
    • Our platform supports iOS and all flavour of Android push services (Google GCM, Amazon ADM, Nokia Push Messaging).

    What’s the deal ? What’s the plan ?

    We have refactored a large portion of our large scale service and added self-service configuration and credit card payment. You can freely create an account and setup your project. Once everything is working as expected in your mobile app, setup your credit card information (Using Recurly Payment system) and you are ready to go live.

    At the moment pricing is very simple:

    • Development plan is free (up to 200 devices).
    • Startup / independant developers plans are as follow:

      • 500 pushes per minute, unlimited monthly pushes and devices: 7 euros per month
      • 750 pushes per minute, unlimited monthly pushes and devices: 30 euros per month
      • 1000 pushes per minute, unlimited monthly pushes and devices: 100 euros per month
      • 1500 pushes per minute, unlimited monthly pushes and devices: 200 euros per month

    We can of course handle much larger scale to suit the needs of larger corporations, broadcasters and carriers, with delivery speed up to 3 million pushes per minute.

    However, the higher plans need to go through setting invoice / payment system as monthly price goes higher than usual charges on credit card. Contact us and we can make that happen.

    We did not yet made available all our features, like customer segmentation or geotarget push, but those features are coming in due time.

    You can expect the team to be helping on a daily basis to improve FAQ, documentation and the console itself to help you understand push notifications and make sure you make the best of it to grow your business.

    If you are developer of an iOS and / or an Android application, please, go ahead and create your free developer account on Boxcar Developer Console.

    We are here to assist you !

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  5. New Boxcar 1.2.1 has been released

    This version is  a bugfix release aimed at fixing

    • Crashes that can occur when selecting and deleting messages in bulk edit mode.
    • Scroll to top that could sometime be blocked before the actual top of the inbox.

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  7. New Boxcar 1.2.0 has been released

    New Boxcar 1.2.0 is a major improvement over the previous release and show a steady improvement pace.
    Among major features we added:
    Automatic quiet hours
     
    You can now add a period during which you do not want to be disturb.
    The feature has been placed on the top of the root screen, close to the very handy do not disturb manual switch.
    image

    When you tap the clock, you are presented with a screen to enable automatic quiet mode and set the quiet period.
    image
    Ability to search inboxes
    You can now search inboxes. At the top of each box, you have a search field that you can use to find specific notification.
    image

    Search is performed for now in title, source name and short message preview.
    Ability to create search in new filter or to directly define filters with a keyword
    image
    There is more. If you tap the + button after having performed the search, you are proposed the option to create a filter based on your seach to ease reading your notification. You can for example create an urgent box that will contain notification with the keyword urgent (your alert emails for example).
    image

    Note that you can directly create a filter with a specific keyword on filter creation as well.
    image
    Ability to do bulk change on inbox to mark multiple messages as read or delete them
    When tapping the “Edit” button in any box / filter, you can enter the bulk change mode. You can use it to “mark as read” or “delete” multiple messages.
    image

    Readability for twitter links

    When tapping Readability icon (the red couch) on a Twitter notification, we will now submit link content and retrieve and display the result from readability service.
    image
    User Interface improvements
    We also improved the following:
    • New more readable images for filter & sources
    • Small other changes (insets in folder view)
    Bugfixes
    Finally, we solved a few issues as well:
    • Sounds are now sync with server
    • Fix problem with ‘&’ in passwords
    • other small bug fixes

    Server-side performance

    While working on this version, we also improved our infrastructure to limit abuses and reduce push notification latency.

    We hope you will enjoy this new release. You can download it from iTunes Boxcar 2 page. Spread the word and leave great reviews !

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  9. Uptime Robot support for Boxcar 2

    Uptime Robot monitoring service is now supporting Boxcar 2 alerts. The team just announced in a blog post the brand new Uptime Robot Boxcar 2 support.

    The service allows you to receive in realtime event about your monitored servers. You can define up to 50 monitors, checked every 5 minutes for free.
     
    This is a another great addition / update to Boxcar 2 ecosystem, and more are to come.
     
    Stay alerted !
     
    image

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  11. New Boxcar 1.1.3 has been released

    A new version of the New Boxcar iOS application has been released.

    This is a release that focus on smoothness and bug fixes.

    We added new features and made a few user interface improvements:

    • Ability to select less than 500 in cache (100 - 250)
    • Auto refresh when coming from background
    • New placeholder images for filter & sources
    • New progress bar in article and browser view
    • Tweak collection view cell, making it less tall
    • Performance improvements

    Of course, we also fixed a bunch of annoying bugs:

    • User Interface glitch when the internet sharing or call bar is displayed on some article view
    • Fix white images for sources
    • Fix scrolling glitch in collection (come back / deletion / new items / scroll to top). That was causing lists to scroll to unexpected places.

    Your input is very welcome. Please, join the user community on Uservoice to help us build an app useful for everyone: http://boxcar.uservoice.com

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  13. New Boxcar 1.1.2 has been released

    A new version of the New Boxcar iOS application has been released.

    This is a bug fix release that solves an annoying issue with characters allowed in passwords when registering an account.

    It also improves many other things:

    • Fix some missing image in IFTTT notifications.
    • Reduce bandwidth consumption.
    • Fix several crashes.
    • Improves performance.

    It also adds Spanish translation.

    Full changelog is available on Boxcar Uservoice site: Boxcar Development Progress. Here is the direct App Store link: Boxcar on AppStore.

    We also improved the server infrastructure, deploying two major improvement:

    • Fixed an issue where user that are logged in could not validate their IFTTT registration.
    • Improved processing for RSS feed encoding in various languages.

    Enjoy the new Boxcar, spread the word and send us your suggestion and your positive energy !

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  15. Boxcar 1.1.1 has been released

    Boxcar 1.1.1 fixes three bugs:

    • On migration the wizard to register account was triggered many times, until the app was at least kill once.
    • Notification delete feature was broken in some cases.
    • Upload of default filter on server could failed on first launch.

    It improves on Boxcar 1.1.0, which was a major improvements introducing account registration, better filters and nicer design.

    You can read on the Boxcar 1.1.0 release here: New Boxcar released in version 1.1.

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  17. New Boxcar released in version 1.1

    We have put together a huge release of the new iOS 7 only version of Boxcar. This release completes 360 votes from our user community.

    Boxcar 1.1 brings account registration. You can now register a Boxcar 2 account (or stay anonymous if you prefer). Registering an account will allow you to receive the same notification on several devices.

    Please note that your Boxcar 1 account is from a separate platform and will not work. You have to create a new one if you wish to. Remember that it is a totally optional registration and it is perfectly fine to keep using the app as an anonymous user.

    This release also brings improvements to filters. You will see a totally new screen to create your filter boxes on the client. This user interface is more powerful and will allow you to create separate boxes for your email and for IFTTT push messages. It even allow you to create a filter box for Custom notifications coming from Boxcar API.

    Here is the first screen of the filter setup screen:

    image

    You are now also able to select a mail or Twitter client to open when tapping a notification from the notification center. For now, it just offer the ability to open the client. There is no deep-linking to open a given tweet or account, for the client that allows it.

    Here is what the Twitter client selection screen looks like:

    image

    Among other major things, we also improved the look of the notification list:

    image

    You can now download the new Boxcar version from Apple App Store: Boxcar 2.

    This is just the beginning. Join the users community, share your script, integrate Boxcar push in your applications and web sites.

    … And of course, if you love Boxcar 2, please, give it a rating on the App Store.

    EDIT: Version 1.1.1 is now available. We already fixed the minor issues in the previous release.

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  20. IFTTT and the new Boxcar

    The new Boxcar is now supporting IFTTT with a new channel and two triggers for Boxcar 2 iOS 7 push notification client.
    What is IFTTT ?
    image
    IFTTT, pronounced like “gift” without the “g,” is a Web service that uses the Internet to turn your favorite apps, websites and other Web channels into a personalized source of data. Along with Boxcar you can turn it into a very personalized push and alerting system.
    Why is this great ?
    Boxcar has been the leading push notification inbox since 2009. The platform went through troubled times but is still beloved by its users.
    When we launched Boxcar 2 a couple of months ago, we wanted to improve and make the API of the old Boxcar more modern.
    We needed to work with a reference partner to demonstrate and validate the scope and behaviour of our own API. IFTTT was the best candidate, because Boxcar team already did great stuff with them in the past, so it was a very convenient and natural fit.
    The integration also made a lot of sense for both IFTTT and Boxcar users. IFTTT is providing an increasing number of channels, triggers and recipes that make the life of users easier. It matches with Boxcar long term goal. We are not (only) a push notification service. We are building a tool to make the life of smartphone users more efficient and … smarter.
    This lead us to announce today the result of our joint effort with IFTTT team: The new Boxcar channel for IFTTT.
    You are already using the first Boxcar with older IFTTT channel. Should you upgrade ?
    Yes, it is time to upgrade, as the new Boxcar IFTTT channel is much more powerful, and IFTTT is going to discontinue the Boxcar 1 channel by end of february 2014. Here are a few of the benefits:
    • You do not have anymore to register an account on Boxcar to receive IFTTT notification. Download Boxcar, get your access token from the setting pane. Use it to register your Boxcar 2 channel on IFTTT and you are set.
    • You can select the notification sound you want to play on each Boxcar action when setting up your recipe
    • There is new handy feature like the ability to send images notification (through image URL)
    • You can now attach a link to the notification. You can open that link directly from Boxcar 2.
    All those features will make your recipes even more useful.
    You can still use Boxcar older version in parallel for other services that do not yet support Boxcar 2. However, if you are an avid IFTTT user, Boxcar 2 will provide with a much improved experience.
    … and this is just the beginning.
    What is coming next ?
    The new Boxcar service wants to be among the best platforms in term of IFTTT integration depth. New actions are coming, allowing the more advanced users of Boxcar and IFTTT to build great recipes.
    We love working with IFTTT team. This is just a first step demonstrating a few of the great things we can build when working together.
    You are convinced and want to give it a try ?
    Here are a few things you can do with IFTTT and Boxcar.
    IFTTT Recipe: If new job opening at a company you follow → Push connects linkedin to boxcar-2
    IFTTT Recipe: Receive in-game updates for your favorite team via Boxcar Push connects espn to boxcar-2
    IFTTT Recipe: Gmails from VIPs → Push connects gmail to boxcar-2
    IFTTT Recipe: Notify me of package shipping status changes via Boxcar Push connects boxoh-package-tracking to boxcar-2
    IFTTT Recipe: Send me a Boxcar Push with tomorrow's weather report at 8pm connects weather to boxcar-2
    IFTTT Recipe: Send me a Boxcar image notification when a friend adds an Instagram photo connects instagram to boxcar-2
    Feel free to experiment with Boxcar 2 IFTTT Channel and give us feedback !

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  22. How to monitor servers for free - and get real-time notifications

    There are lot of services that monitor server uptime, but seriously they are crazy expensive: Pingdom $14/mo for basic plan, AlertFox $99/mo for starter, Tweedo starts at $1.69 but who want to check server every 60 minutes? for 5 minutes checks you need to pay $28 - this is insane. Ping was never so expensive…

    But you can obviously have all that for free and do not pay that ridiculous prices for checks. You need 2 things:
    1. Free account on UptimeRobot (this guys are great)
    2. Free iOS app Boxcar2
    Now, add your servers (up to 50 checks) to UptimeRobot, and head to “My Settings”, scroll down to “RSS Notifications" and copy URL for your unique feed. Side Note: you can use Command-C app for sending long links and other stuff to your iPhone. Now, open Boxcar app, and add new source by tapping “+" and choose "Feed”, then another “+"  and finally paste link from UptimeRobot. From now on you will receive any alerts regarding your servers in real-time, for free.
    Bonus: For nice desktop notifications i recommend RSS Bot, for free of course…

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  24. Using Boxcar to send Nagios alerts

    For sysadmins watching their platforms, it is crucial to get real-time notifications about system failures . You can get mails or SMS but mails are slow and SMS-es are not cost-effective. Boxcar offers API for sending real-time notifications to your smartphone. Here i will show you how to connect your nagios instance to send alerts via Boxcar.

    First download free Boxcar 2 app from iTunes Store, launch it and go to Settings and note AccessToken, it will be needed! Next we need to setup nagios with new commands and contact options, here is how to do it.
    Edit /etc/nagios3/commands.cfg and add following lines:

    define command{
    command_name service-notify-by-boxcar
    command_line /usr/local/bin/boxcar.sh -a $CONTACTPAGER$ -t “$SERVICEDESC$ is $SERVICESTATE$ on host: $HOSTALIAS$” -d “Details: $SERVICEOUTPUT$. Comment: $NOTIFICATIONCOMMENT$” -s score
    }

    define command{
    command_name host-notify-by-boxcar
    command_line /usr/local/bin/boxcar.sh -a $CONTACTPAGER$ -t “Host $HOSTALIAS$ is $HOSTSTATE$.” -d “Details: Alert: host $HOSTALIAS$ is $HOSTSTATE$. Comment: $NOTIFICATIONCOMMENT$” -s score
    }

    this will define 2 new notification commands service-notify-by-boxcar for service level alerts and host-notify-by-boxcar for host level alerts. You can define different sound alerts for this event if you want (-s option, more on that later…). Now you need to bind that new commands to your contacts - it all depends on how you want to receive this alerts, here is most simple option, lets say you don’t want emails at all because you receive alerts via RSS and Boxcar (so you don’t want to poison your mailbox with unwanted nagios mails).
    Edit /etc/nagios3/conf.d/contacts_nagios.cfg and replace service_noticifacion_commands and host_notification_commands - for users who will get push alerts - with following lines:
    service_notification_commands service-notify-by-boxcar
    host_notification_commands host-notify-by-boxcar
    also add new line that states:
    pager YourAccessToken
    YourAccessToken is a token taken from Boxcar app. It is needed to authorise your calls to the API. You can repeat that step for as many users you want, just remember that each user have it’s own unique API key!
    Last missing piece is boxcar.sh script for sending notifications to the app. Here it is:
    copy it and save in /usr/local/bin/boxcar.sh. Don’t forget to set proper file attributes: 
    chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/boxcar.sh
    reload nagios, now you should be able to receive push alerts. You can see boxcar.sh help screen for possible arguments, you can define various sounds for the events, just test them out!
    If you want to explore Boxcar API please refer to this support article especially if you are looking for some more sounds for your notifications.
    That’s all, and here is how it looks like:

    Other then that, you can checkout other cool features of Boxcar 2 App! So you would not be bored only with nagios alerts…

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  26. Meet Boxcar Tech Lead at Renaissance.io Conference

    We are in San Francisco this week to meet push developers and users at Renaissance.io conference. We have been here last year and it was a great event. We are looking forward meeting again a bunch of brilliant iOS developers.

    If you are coming or if you want to meet our team to see what is coming to Boxcar service, please, leave a comment !

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  28. How to get your custom notifications in Boxcar

    We promised we would have an API very soon to send your device notifications. Here is the first steps. With a simple HTTP post using your account credential, you can know receive a custom notification on your iOS device in Boxcar app.

    Do not hesitate to share with us your feedback, feature request, and exciting use cases !

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