When RIM first announced BlackBerry Web Signals in mid-2009 I was kind of excited about the program. RIM then proceeded to make the process of creating/deploying one a full on gauntlet along with limiting its features thus dooming it. The release of RIM’s push API also kind of relegated it to the back burner. With BlackBerry OS 6 released without support for Web Signals we knew its death was coming soon.
RIM sent out a notice to all Web Signal users that they will no longer be accepting registrations for Web Signals as of May 31st but will still push out updates. After November 29th they will be killing off the whole program. RIM is recommending that companies migrate to a Push Service app and it looks like they will be helping companies do so.
Please be advised that Research In Motion (“RIM”) will discontinue the Web Signals service effective from May 31 2011. Pursuant to the terms of your Web Signals Service Agreement, RIM hereby provides notice of termination of the Web Signals service.
In order to improve the user experience for BlackBerry® subscribers, RIM intends to work closely with content providers and developers to migrate them from the Web Signals service to Push Service enabled applications.
The Web Signals service enabled content providers to place an icon that is associated with a web URL on a subscriber’s device and push updates to the icon and URL which changed the icon appearance (splat) and notified subscribers to click on the icon to access the latest application content through their browser. With Push Service enabled applications, content providers will be able to push up to 8KB of updated content directly to their subscribers’ application – not just a visual notification – for a timelier and richer user experience. Push Service is also designed to provide improved features support.
End User Experience
Existing subscribers to a Web Signals service will continue to see an updated icon and associated URL(s) for the latest content as content providers issue pushes up until the close of the service on November 29 2011. After the Web Signals service closes for new registrations on May 31 2011, users will no longer be able to access the RIM hosted subscription URL(s) that enable registration to a specific content providers Web Signals service. As described in Action 2 in the table above, it’s important that content providers remove any links on their web sites to RIM’s Web Signals service application registration URL before May 31.
Note that if an existing subscriber to a Web Signals service changes either the SIM card in their BlackBerry device or carrier service plan, the subscriber would then have to re-subscribe to the specific Web Signals service. This re-subscription process will no longer be possible after May 31, when new registrations to the Web Signals service will be closed.
Developing with Push Service
Push Service is available to all BlackBerry devices running BlackBerry® Device Software 4.2 and later with integrated handheld APIs from BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 upwards. Push Service enables push updates to all members of a group or specific subscribers, notification of deliveries, and status queries, for improved monitoring and trackability.
To enable end-to-end application development Push Service has three components: the Java® server side SDK to manage subscriptions and initiate pushes and receive notifications, the Push Data Service which uses industry standard interfaces, and the handheld APIs and sample applications.
Further information on Push service can be found at: http://us.blackberry.com/developers/platform/pushapi.jsp