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The push notification system

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The push notification system

Several elements are involved in the push notification system.

  • Customer instance: your instance.
  • Push proxy: An instance that collects all push notifications that go to the ServiceNow mobile application and forwards them to the ServiceNow iOS application. If you create a custom push application, you do not use the push proxy.
  • Push provider: The provider of push messages, which by default is the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs) for the ServiceNow mobile application.
  • Feedback provider: The provider of feedback messages, which tell the instance what devices are no longer valid. By default, the Apple feedback server handles feedback messages for the ServiceNow mobile application.
  • Feedback proxy: The ServiceNow instance that handles feedback messages from the Apple feedback server.
  • Push application on a mobile device: The application, such as the ServiceNow mobile application. You can also build and customize your own push application.

Push notification process

The push notification process is as follows:
  1. Activity on the instance triggers a push notification.
  2. The instance looks for who to send the notification to and checks the user's preferences to find their push device settings.
  3. The instance sends the push notification to the push notification service, such as the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs). Optionally the instance can send the notification through a push proxy instance, which then forwards the notification to the APNs.
  4. The push notification service sends the notification to the user's push application. When the instance sends the notification to the push notification service, it includes message content along with the instance name and ID so that a response to the notification can be sent back to the correct instance.
  5. If the user can reply to the notification, such as sending an approval to a change request, the response is sent via REST message back to the instance.
  6. The instance identifies a script to run to handle the response.
  7. The script takes action on the instance, such as marking a change request approved. If there is invalid JSON or if the script fails, an error response is sent back to the device.
    This diagram shows the elements of the push notification system. Within the ServiceNow infrastructure are your instance, the optional push proxy instance, and the ServiceNow feedback proxy. External to ServiceNow are the APNs, and the user's mobile device, which includes the application that is registered to receive push notifications. See Push feedback for an explanation of the feedback servers.
    Figure 1. The push notification system