Firebase Cloud Messaging Service – Everything You Need To Know About FCM [Updated]
What is Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)?
Firebase Cloud Messaging Platform (formerly named as GCM) is a free mobile notification service by Google that enables third-party app developers to send notifications from GCM servers to their users. With Firebase Cloud Messaging Service, you can inform a client’s app that a new email or other data is available for sync. It works on the principle of down streaming messages from FCM servers to client’s app and upstream messages from client apps to FCM servers. Firebase comes with a lot of new features along with the obvious reliability and scalable GCM infrastructure.
To continuously engage and re-target your users, it is important to retain them. And you can do it with FCM. Firebase messaging enables you to send push notifications to all your users anywhere in the whole world. Refer to this Firebase Cloud Messaging tutorial to get started.
Google Firebase Messaging Platform is a cross platform. Thus, FCM now makes a natural fit in the Firebase suite of features designed for Android, iOS, and mobile web.
Another core value of Firebase is cross-feature integration is the ability for other Firebase features to easily send messages via FCM. For example, you can use Firebase Notifications to send re-engaging Chrome push notifications to your users.
What is the use of Server Key?
The key saved on the app server is the Server Key. This server key provides the app server with an authorized access to Google services As a recommended practice, you should never include the API key anywhere in your client code.
The difference between GCM sender ID and FCM sender ID?
Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) Sender ID: A unique numerical value which is created when you configure your Project in the Google Developers Console/ Google Cloud Console. The Project Number is GCM Sender ID. It is used in the registration process to identify an app server that is permitted to send messages to the client app.
Firebase Cloud Messaging / FCM Sender ID: Equivalent of Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) Sender ID. Accessible under the Firebase > Project > Settings > Cloud Messaging tab.
From GCM to FCM
GCM was launched in 2012 with a goal of making it the best mobile messaging platform to help marketers reach their users, notify them of important events and keep the data in their applications fresh. GCM is being used by marketers and developers to send messages to their users with the help of GCM Sender ID and the Server Key. GCM, while showing an amazing growth, is an integral part of any application these days. Messaging is a feature that almost every developer needs and uses for engaging with his users. Push notifications enabled have almost 3X higher attention and 88% more app launches, which means more user engagement. Two key aspects of any messaging platforms are reliability and low latency.
Firebase is a mobile platform helps you quickly develop high-quality apps, grow your user base, and earn more money. Firebase constitutes of complementary features that can be mixed-and-matched to fit your needs.
The new mobile development platform, Firebase, is a suite of integrated products which are designed to help you develop your application. Read more about Firebase here
Earlier limitations with GCM, but NOT ANYMORE!
Unlike GCM, Firebase can help you build an app, with features that work together, all in one place, packaged into a Single SDK. These new SDKs are designed to make the integration with FCM much, much simpler. Firebase Messaging SDKs for Android and iOS take away a lot of boilerplate code away from you such as registration logic, subscribing to topics, handling any errors you get with the servers while doing these actions.
Same reliability of GCM and a lot more Simplified SDK
- The new SDKs are really simple APIs to start using FCM and reach multiple platforms.
- Seamless integration with other Firebase products like Firebase Analytics, making it easier for you to develop, grow, and earn from your applications
FCM is the new version of GCM under the Firebase brand. It inherits GCM’s core infrastructure, with new SDKs to make Cloud Messaging development easier.
What are benefits of upgrading to Firebase Cloud Messaging SDK?
- Simpler client development. You no longer have to write your own registration or subscription retry logic.
- An out-of-the-box notification solution. You can use Firebase Notifications, a serverless notifications solution with a web console that lets anyone send notifications to target specific audiences based on Firebase Analytics insights.
What’s new with Firebase Cloud Messaging Service (FCM)? Free to start and easy to scale
- New FCM libraries- These libraries use manifest merging, so you don’t have to worry about permissions. It automatically adds any permission, needed to reduce the amount of effort you put in.
- Simplified registration flow.- You are well aware that a registration token is an address that FCM uses to deliver the message to a device. This process is now asynchronous. Google library automatically gets a token on your behalf. So, when you request to ‘get token’, you receive a registered token. Send this to your servers, and start sending messages.
All these new improvements apply to both Android and iOS SDKs. In addition, a brand-new SDK for developers using C++ is going to launch.
Additional Features of Firebase Cloud Messaging Platform
- Analytics– Firebase provides free and unlimited analytics solutions helping you gain insights about your users ‘ad click’ & ‘app usage’. Firebase Analytics works together with other firebase features. Thus, you can take action on everything from click-through rates to app crashes.
- Firebase Remote Config- Firebase provides free and unlimited analytics solutions helping you gain insights about your users ‘ad click’ & ‘app usage’. Firebase Analytics works together with other firebase features. Thus, you can take action on everything from click-through rates to app crashes.
3. Easy Implementation-Firebase is quick and easy. With intuitive APIs packaged into a single SDK, you can solve customer’s problems without wasting time building complex infrastructure.
FCM Supports Web Push supports
FCM, enables you to implement the standard IETF Web Push APIs and start targeting your browsers. For example, on Chrome, you can send a message to your Chrome page in Windows, Mac, or Linux. You can also target your Chrome on Android. Below are some of the additional features of FCM:
It is a great way to notify users, interested in common topics. For example, a musician or an artist or a game or a sports event. All you have to do is publish a message to FCM, and FCM delivers it to all the devices subscribed to this topic. There is no limit on topic messaging. You can have as many subscribers on a single topic, or across different topics. Setting the topic name in the “to” parameter is all you need to do.
Sending a message to a combination of topics
Let’s say you have a weather application, and you want to send weather updates to your users. Some of your users might be subscribed to Mumbai weather, and some to Delhi weather. But, you don’t want to publish the same message on both these topics. As it can create an overlap. and some users will get duplicate messages. Use FCM’s new API to specify a condition, and deliver this message to users that qualify this condition.