Retiring Microsoft Graph notifications API (beta)

Office Add-ins team

The Microsoft Graph notifications APIa preview service designed to enable delivery of push notifications (typically visual ones) to users’ registered device endpoints, was announced in 2017 at Microsoft Build. At that time, our goal was to release Microsoft Graph notifications for General Availability at Microsoft Ignite in November 2019. After collecting feedback from Microsoft customers and partners, we decided not to move forward with making this service generally available. Instead, we have worked to unify our notification strategy and focus on usage of Azure Notification Hubs, which has been a successful public offering with a wide set of customers for the past few years.  

Note: to avoid confusion, this is announcement has no impact on Microsoft Graph change notifications for resources, also known as webhooks. 

We will retire Microsoft Graph notifications on February 1, 2021 to give customers who were potentially exploring using this service time to begin exploring Azure Notification Hubs instead. 

Why Azure Notification Hubs

We believe there is a better experience for developers in Azure Notification Hubs. It simplifies the device onboarding process and offers additional features that make the overall experience better for current Azure Notification Hubs customers and Microsoft Graph notifications beta users. 

Azure Notification Hubs enables developers to send notifications to iOS, Android and Windows platforms from any back-end. Additionally, Notifications Hubs has a new preview release of the Notification Hubs SDK for Android and iOS 

Azure Notification Hubs Features

Here are a few key features of the Azure Notification Hubs SDK. 

Device Registration 

Getting started with notifications is now much easier given our streamlined registration experience. The new SDK supports automatic device registration with Notification Hubs via Installations and now automatically handles device registration for push notifications once you add the SDK to your app and enable push. 

Notification Targeting with Tags 

Notification Hubs customers have a similar capability totags. The benefit of using tags is that you can have richer expressions with custom tag expressions as well as near real time targeting. 

Tags for Installations 

You can add custom tags to a device installation, which allows for developer specified audiences potentially defined by app/OS version, language, country, device model etc. 

Tags for Users 

Microsoft Graph notificationsallowed you to associate users with devices (user-centric notifications), and with the new Notification Hubs SDK, you can achieve the same result by setting a custom userID property tag. 

Alert/Silent Notifications 

With the Azure Notification Hubs SDK, you can set up a listener and be notified whenever a push notification is received in the background (silent push notification), or an alert has been clicked by the user. 

Online/Offline Sync 

A background synchronization manager ensures that when a device is offline, all installation changes are tracked and once network connectivity is re-established, they are synchronized with the service. 

Enabling/Disabling Push 

The Notification Hubs SDK allows applications to enable or disable push. When disabled, push tokens are not refreshed but pushes are still received until the current token expires. 

There are a few features (notification state and history, privacy and compliance) of Graph notifications that are not currently supported by Azure Notification HubsBased on customer feedback wwill prioritize the addition of those items to our backlog. 

Getting Started with Notification Hubs

To help you get started, please refer to the Azure Notification Hubs Documentation  

Developer Support/Feedback

We want to hear from you as you begin exploring and using Azure Notification Hubs. We are here to help you and answer any questions and address concerns and encourage you to share any issues, concerns, or feedback through the Azure Notification Hubs repository. 

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