Unification
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Liquid Daffodil’s Unification Notification center set to retire at the end of October

Liquid Daffodil started a project earlier this year to help unify notifications across a variety of products you use and love. Their Unification service was a cross-device notification platform that allowed developers to unite apps spanning Windows Phone 7.x and 8, Windows desktop, and Windows 8. It was an attempt to fill the lack of notifications available to customers using Microsoft’s products. Unfortunately, the Unification Notification Services will be retired at the end of October.

Unification was a valiant effort by Liquid Daffodil to address Microsoft’s own shortcomings. We carry around various devices running software from Microsoft. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for developers to sync notifications across devices? That’s what Unification was doing for user and developers that opted into the Azure powered service. Why throw in the towel now? Here are the main reasons as cited by Liquid Daffodil:

  • Hundreds of requests are received each week from users requesting Unification support to be added to their favorite apps, but developers, in general, have not been responsive to their requests, and in certain cases abusive to users.
  • Continuing to create an “awareness” of the services of Unification, as well as helping developers understand the services and features of Unification, has become time and cost prohibitive.
  • Lack of response from developers is creating a negative experience for users, which ultimately creates an additional support burden for the Unification Support team.

The team is thankful for all the developers and users who did take advantage of their service. Liquid Daffodil is also asking that developers begin removing support for Unification Notifications over the next few weeks in preparation for the deadline on October 31.

Existing notification services will continue to be available exclusively for Liquid Daffodil apps

When we first looked at Unification Notification center for Windows Phone in early March we said that third party support was how this app would live or die. Unfortunately, it never picked up enough steam and will be retiring. 

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Comments

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TheWPUser says:

This would've been very useful for my endeavours to make a WP Pebble app. Shame :(
 
Oh well, good luck to LD on their future endeavours!

Micah Dawson says:

That is a shame it didn't catch on.

x I'm tc says:

No it isn't. This was a kludge, and a spyware-y one, at that. With a real notification system coming in GDR3, it is a good thing that no one is wasting their efforts on this bad, dangerous idea.

Josh Harman says:

There isn't much reason to believe it will be in GDR3.

iamoniwaban says:

Other then the Nokia notification screen shot?

devize says:

Exactly. Good riddance

Jay Bennett says:

Just to say your accusation of spyware is completely unfounded. Please don't try to cast doubt on a project by applying any 'scary' internet word you can think of

iamoniwaban says:

Spyware, I met LD and believe me he is NOT spying on you. He has been providing features since wp7 that MS didn't have. He lives and breathes windows phones.

simbadogg says:

No, isn't really. It was great the developer made it, a great effort, but for the rest of developer community it was a waste of time, especially knowing that MSFT would have been updating their OS w/ a notification center in less than 6 months.

erzhik says:

Can't say I didn't see this coming...

Yes, we knew Microsoft was eventually going to add a Notification Center to WP. Trying to be good at something that the platform owner is going to own eventually is not wise. I don't know if they expected the developers to add support for 2 notification systems when one was already too much (not really too much, but many claim it to be), or that they were going to provide features that the built in system wouldn't provide when it's just notifications, a basic, very clearly defined feature that can't be considered a profitable product.
Generally, trying to overcome the shortcomings of an OS when there is a good chance that the manufacturer will fix the problems in a year or two is not economically justified.

The thing is, a Notification Center for WP by Microsoft was never a sure thing. I'm not sure why so many of you are confident that it was. Even after the leak in June, Microsoft pulled the feature from 'Blue' builds and many were unsure that it would come back, or if so, in what form.

Josh Harman says:

I think most people assumed that a notification center was inevitable because MS said that it was intended in the original release of WP8 but that they had run out of time. Which would signal to me that it was coming... at some point.

poddie says:

Agree with Josh. It had to happen. in the mean time, just not interested in a temporary solution that must be supported by individual devs. Would rather wait for the "real deal".

Onager1286 says:

Even if a MS-developed notification center was never in the cards, a third-party version wasn't a good idea. I never quite understood why WP Central was so optimistic when it was obviously doomed.

Perhaps they were hoping Microsoft would purchase their system from them?

Whodaboss says:

I personally reject out hand that a Windows Phone without a so called "notification center" is an OS shortcoming.  I use both an iPhone and Windows Phone and I NEVER use the notification center on the iPhone! NEVER!  I wholeheartedly prefer the live tiles way of showing me if there's something to see.  And if a certain app is not on my home screen, that simply means it's not that important to me if I miss a notification from that particular app.  If it were it would be on my home screen.  Plain & Simple!

Josh Harman says:

Some people don't want 50 tiles on there Start screen, many apps don't even include tile notifications (including Microsoft's own Bing apps) and some people don't feel like they should have to pin games to the start menu. Plain and simple!

Whodaboss, Exactly. Can you even have 50 apps that push notifications? Im guessing that even if there is to be a notifications centre in 3 it will only be so many apps at a time not the 50 you have installed. If the os could do that why not for the live tiles?

Josh Harman says:

50 was clearly an exaggeration.
The point is... nevermind, if some of you can't understand the need for a notification center (for many) at this point, there is no reason to repeat myself.

Lych says:

Well, the point for me would be to get the notifications for the apps that have broken/crappy livetiles. i.e.: I get the toast for new viber messages but if I miss those, I'm pretty much left to guessing if I got a message or not, since I don't get the counter on the livetile. And no amount of repinning and reinstalling seems to fix this for me. It's kind of annoying when some of my friends try to reach me that way from other platforms. Skype would be a nice alternative if they decided to fix it finally...

TiLoBrown says:

I never even got it to work well with Gleek so I stopped using it

Micah Dawson says:

What kind of abuse was happening?

jlynnm350z says:

Stoning, hitting over head with baseball bat

steve_w_7 says:

Atomic wedgies

absolutshame says:

They should release a list of developers who were acting this way towards users. That way we can stop supporting them.

Josh Harman says:

...but then they would have to add their name to the list.

ScubaDog says:

I think this lends credibility to my contention that this whole "notification center" ballihoo has been a lot of noise from a pretty small minority.  The live tiles do a good job of telling me what's waiting for me.  I never saw the sense in a "center".  Granted, it appears that MS is adding it with either GDR3 or 8.1, but I think that's more to simply bring the OS into parity with the competition than any real grassroots protest from WP users.  Of all the WP users I'm friends with, most of whom came from either iPhone or Android, NONE of them have said "so, where's all my notifications?".  On the contrary, they've said,"I like how the live tiles handle notifications".

erzhik says:

The problem with this was that it wasn't built into the OS. When a notification app comes out, people don't really use it because it only works with apps that were designed to work with that said notification app. People want it built in, so it works with everything. Not just approved apps.

DeepK7 says:

Half hour updates, or worse, the tiles are not doing what we were told they would do. I for one use notifications and can't wait until we have it on my Lumia 920.
It still requires going into the app to get the updates.
Tried LD's Unification, but never got it to work.

trincowski says:

I'm experiencing the same issues regarding FB & Disqus but more surprisingly, the Store app. For some strange reason it stopped showing updates. I'm still waiting for it to show IM+ was updated. A few days ago, Disqus, FB and Skype were all updated and I had to search them in the store myself to force the updates. I've waited 3 days for the Store app to inform me but eventually I gave up.

gamato says:

Try leaving your phone on charger over night, with WiFi turned on. The store will check for updates most likely. I do agree though the checking is not very functional and the same goes for system updates. Shame on MS for releasing such crappy implementation. :-/

trincowski says:

I do... but nothing happens anymore. The app "Store Deals" still warns me on a daily basis but the "Store" itself just stopped warning about updates altogether. I've checked the "background apps settings" to see if it was blocked and it should be working. I just don't get it. It used to work really well until a few weeks ago.

And it's not as if I can uninstall the Store and re-install. That usually solves trouble with other apps but the Store cannot be removed, which is only logicall, or else how would I install it again? :-P

RyanAMG says:

The only problem I have with live tiles is email. It would be nice if it didn't clear out the counter every time I open email. I would like a option to show the number of unread emails. Other than that I love live tiles over iOS & Android

ScubaDog says:

And, see, I absolutely DON'T want it to show the number of unread after I've opened the app up.  I KNOW what I haven't read at that point, so the only notification I care about after that is NEW emails that came in. 

RyanAMG says:

That's why it should be a option. I get between 100-500 work emails a day and can't respond to every one at that time so an option would satisfy both of us :)

sicnus says:

Nice bubble u live in OP...

jmerrey says:

No. Live tiles are not enough. So many notifications are lost if you don't catch them before the toast disappears.

This apps failure was due to lack of developer integration, plain and simple.

I guess they haven't used WP for an extended period of time then.
Having different sounds for messages isn't a big deal either. It's just slightly annoying - or not - that you can't distinguish the type of message when it arrives. After all, you'll figure it out when you look at the message. Still, very few people protest allowing users to change the sounds, but a whole lot protest the notification center for no reason. I just don't get the whole idea of getting so sensitive about NOT wanting a feature. Even if it is so important to only a loud minority, it gets priority because it is so important to them.
When the whole idea of WP is "at a glance", not giving users necessary information for apps they haven't pinned is just absurd. There are good, objective reasons (design-wise) why a notification system is necessary.
I just don't get the opposition. The only reason I can think of is they just don't want something they think the OS has implemented differently brought over from the competing OS's. If anything, their excuses for not wanting this feature is at least as childish as the "invalid" reasons pro-notification people state.

trincowski says:

I totally agree with you, Agent.

Josh Harman says:

I disagree completely Scubadog.
If you look at WP Uservoice you'll see that it is a top requested feature, hardly a minority.
I love the tile notifications too, but they do not handle everything. For instance, I received a toast about 'breaking news' from the Bing news app today... I didn't click on it (because I didn't care for the subject), but it never gave me notification on the tile; same with ESPN toasts, there is no indication on the tile and its the same way many other apps. Point is, if you don't see the toast or get to it in time, it is gone forever on many apps.
Edit: Also, games and other apps (even if they support tile notifications) don't do you any good if you don't have them pinned.

Kram Sacul says:

Agreed. The whole need for a notification center seems like a crutch for people that don't know how to handle a different operating system.

Josh Harman says:

See my reply above.
I'm pretty sure I know how things work.

Kram Sacul says:

The app developer needs to add notifications on the live tile then.

Josh Harman says:

The Bing News app doesn't even support it.
And it still doesn't solve notifications from apps that aren't pinned, games in particular.

poddie says:

Only if you continue to ignore the numerous valid reasons that everyone posts repeatedly that then get ignored by the "anti notification league".

poddie says:

ScubaDog's not too good at interpreting what happened.

Guitarpik says:

If I don't literally see a notification come in from say CNN breaking news alerts, I never know about it. We need a notification center.

poiman says:

So, you don't get a "1" in your live tile when a new notification comes?

jmerrey says:

You might get a "1" but that's it. Once you open the app, who knows what the new item is. In a notification center, you get a short summary of the notification, and a link not only to the app, but to the item itself within the app.

a5cent says:

Sorry, but that is simply a poorly written or buggy app. The point of a NC (notification centre) shouldn't be to cover over developer errors or to make junk apps tolerable.

If you get a live tile update, but the app is incapable of communicating what the live tile count is related too, then you need to talk with the developer! Such an app will be junk, with an NC or without one.

The point of an NC is not to fix broken apps, but to provide functionality we currently lack:

1. the ability to view toast notifications that currently are lost forever.
2. the ability to view tile notifications for apps that we didn't pin to the start screen.

andrewkeith5 says:

On the flip side, a lot of people like me are really fed up with not being able to find the useful information because apps use notifications excessively...on my android tablet i frequently have more than 10/15 notifications, when only 1 or 2 are of any use or interest to me, making the whole system useless. With live tiles, I get only the information I want ... If i want more info from one app, it gets a bigger tile, less information and it gets a smaller one...

Josh Harman says:

Or you could just turn notifications off for those apps.

tavisdunn says:

Well, this dev and the devs of some of the more popular apps don't really get along in the first place. Not really shocking. Then trying to get LD fans to browbeat said devs doesn't really work out in the long run either, or even in the short run apparently.

CheekyTaurus says:

Yeah, kind of amazed LD threw all the other devs under the bus here too.

elyl says:

Seeing some of the behaviour of the LD devs on these comment sites previously, I'm not surprised other devs don't get along with them.

Josh Harman says:

Yep, they were dicks.

CheekyTaurus says:

As far as I know "they" is only one guy.

Josh Harman says:

Is there a point or were you just correcting my improper use of a plural?

Residing says:

I think he was just acknowledging that there was only one person that would represent LD on the comment sections here at WPCentral.
 
I agree with you - whether a one person team or more than one, the person that represented LD in the comments was not a 'people person' and often came off as rude when responding to comments.

CheekyTaurus says:

You are correct - I wasn't attempting a grammar correction, just that LD, I believe, is really just one person.

sicnus says:

Well not all live tiles handle notifications properly and if they do, its whatever has happened most recently. People can crap on this project all they want, only speaks about the person. LD is a progressive thinker, great coder, and tuned into the Windows Phone users needs. More THAN you can say about most. Its a shame this didn't take off but with 8.1 supposedly addressing it, I can see why the project is being dropped. There's a lot of reasons things don't always work on Windows Phone and its not always the app itself that is the issue, it could be to many background processes. So having said that, I will not agree with most of the above posts. LD apps are always good because when they are not and LD is informed the issue is resolved. That's a dedicated developer. So kindly shut your mouths and give LD the credit they have earned. We don't need mouth breathing, paste eating, tards running off developers. KTHXBAI.

trincowski says:

I understand the developer's decision, since I use a lot of apps and not even one supports this project. :-/

Josh Harman says:

Kudos to them for trying, but I always thought it was a failed idea.

gorebashd says:

Well said sic. Well said \m/

This is too bad, well you have to give credit to LD for trying. Here is hoping GDR3 or 8.1 will fill in this gap in the OS.

Now I hope we have an official notification center.

Stanvx says:

Sad.. But I'm sorta glad, I never used it and its something I can delete from my never ending list of installed apps.

trincowski says:

I'm in the same situation. After so much time, not even a single app from my list integrates with Unification. Sad but true. So why should the developer keep insisting on a project if other developers simply ignore it?

rodneyej says:

I just really felt it wasn't useful, or integrated.. This is something that is better left to the OS itself.. In other words,,,, In the near future WP better have a solution❗

busngabb says:

I still never understood what it actually did. Guess the nasty, abusive developers didn't either.

TrustySnooze says:

Sad to hear, although I've never really used it all that much.

Don't need no clumsy notification center, it's a dated system.

_Emi_ says:

die die dieeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Nik Rolls says:

It was a nice idea, but poorly implemented in my opinion. One of the big things they needed to do was use push notifications rather than poll notifications (less background processes please). Also the notifications never stayed in sync with the app, so it just created another place to clear your unreads.
I think LD weren't collaborative enough with the developers who could have used it and therefore created a product that missed the mark, rather than working with them to create a system that worked well.

RolexDPracer says:

It just never really worked that well for me.

pulkit10 says:

Kinda had it coming. Not trying to knock on their effort - the platform was nicely done and robust enough. It's Achilles heel was always the "convincing other devs to add this in" - that was always going to be a tough task. Microsoft, even though it is the OS creator, has issues getting developers to keep up to date with the new features so what's a third party? Moreover, this was done through Liquid Daffodil's own servers, exposing your app to them so notifications could be delivered. Doesn't take a genius to recognize why some people would be wary of that.

Always thought it was kinda nice as a inbred system for LD but not practical as something that'd replace a true first party option.

DJCBS says:

I had this but honestly never used it since I have all the live tiles I need pinned (hence why I don't really care if WP lacks a Notifications Centre either).
Still, it was a very good effort from them...the thing that bothers me is the fact that they throw the towell because other WP developers weren't responsive at all.
WP doesn't have the amount of Apps and features that Android and iOS have. So one would think that it was in the best interest of the WP developers to cooperate as much as possible with one another.

But it's not the first App to have these problems. Skinery Themes (formerly Skinery Tiles Pro) also faces this kind of problems with some developers who don't answer at all a simple request for integration. The developer may not like Skinery, but would it hurt to cooperate and integrate the App so that its users who like the service could benefit from it? I don't think so. Yet, here we are...
(Skinery, luckily, also has the support of Nokia and can serve to create shortcuts to some settings so fortunately it won't be going anywhere for the same reasons, I think)

Codesmith says:

The developer behind Liquid Daffodil is also a father of 10. Not everyone has the time and energy to devote to efforts like this, given away for free, when other developers aren't interested. It was a free gift, and no regrets.

Nimdock says:

Excellent.
 
I still remember their prediction that Windows Phone would NEVER have a notification center and that they were the only option.
 
Maybe now I can download again some of the apps that had baked this in after they remove it after October 31st.
 
They had an idea... It didn't work out and it's othe developer's fault, hehe, got to love the logic on that one.

Codesmith says:

You're actually still fooled into thinking WP 8.1 will have what you expect. It won't...you'll see. :)

elyl says:

Ah shutuppa ya face.  You failed.  Your system was clumsy, people didn't want all their notifications going via you, you seem like dicks, you alienated other devs, and you persist that 8.1 won't have a notifications centre, despite you not being in any position to know one way or another.  Clowns.

Shantek says:

I tried to get my apps on board early when they were asking devs to contact them, I never heard back so couldn't be bothered. If they were a little more responsive devs may of gotten on board. Kudos for their efforts tho.

glassadam says:

I never got it to work anyway. And since everyone assumes we'll be getting a real solution in the future, I'm assuming devs believe this too and never got on board.

bull2334 says:

Plus ESPN notifications dont ever work for me. I'll get a notification, which I can only read a few words, click it an it just opens the ESPN app. It never opens the article or story that the notification was about.

Josh Harman says:

That's just the tip of the iceberg with problems on the ESPN Scorecenter app.
Maybe if everyone would continuously complain to them they would fix it... but I doubt it. I've gotten nowhere with them for months. Frankly, I don't know if they even know I'm talking about Windows Phone, they continuously refer to it as "Windows 8" even after I clarify... and they keep repeating the 'uninstall/reinstall crap.

+1 on that bull. See a toast, tap it and it just opens the app and there never seems to be an article relating to the toast either. The tile never shows missed notifications either.

Josh Harman says:

Please complain to them as much as possible.
Frankly, I would rather see them remove the app from store if they aren't going to fix it.

bono5112 says:

Good it sucked anyway, nice try but to no avail. It just never worked

Dave Bhullar says:

Knew it would never work after trying it out, uninstalled after using for a few days. Wpcentral was just overly enthusiastic about its success for some reason.

tcprodigy says:

exactly. complete agree. i uninstalled it after prob a day wen even liquid daffodils own apps werent showing in the notifications. WPCentral was hyped about it for some reason

jabtano says:

Lest LD went about trying to do something about it rather than sitting on there hands looking "Microsoft?" It was a good effort. Hey anytime that people put time and effort into making something work right and for whatever reason it doesn't pan out , it's hundreds of hours down the drain it's got to suck. Thanks for trying LD!~

Etios says:

Thanks LD for trying, hope you keep pumping put new innovative projects.

tcprodigy says:

nice thought and effort but was always destined to fail. to download this app and then get individual devs to opt in was just a non-sense. 

hasanmj8 says:

I Hated this app.. This is good news to me.

Wevenhuis says:

I find it sad indeed that this big effort by liquid dafodil is put to an end. I think these kinds of efforts by developers for the windows phone community is always a breath of fresh air to keep things alive. This ending for the notification app reminds also of just how fragile an OS is in general when it comes to community serivices. What have we got left in community and app support if there were hardly any services available for this platform (e.g. no youtube, no bing, no google). Does this justify the importance of having a good offline app support before online services show their part?

Josh Harman says:

The "community" has spoken... and they said no to LD's Unification.

IceDree says:

It was an interesting concept\project, never got it to work though .
Honestly though, I'm not into the whole Notification Center thing though , I hated it on Android & moved from iOS before they implemented it . Between the Live Tiles & The lock screen I'm all good.

My opinion: Me tile always worked for the notifications for me, specially because I only use Facebook and Twitter. I never understand why they complain about FB notifications on the app, specially because me tile worked for  me nearly real time.
 
I guess Microsoft could work to improve Me Tile even better, but another apps to drop their notifications there (a kind of lenses integration). Imagine Skype and other apps, even e-mails, dropping the notifications on me tile, much better that just copy from iOS and Android notifications. Me Tile wil gather all the notifications, not only from FB or Twitter. I guess it would better solution following the windows phone conception.

 

PPCFreak says:

with the centralized notification center coming in GDR3, the writing was on the wall for this.