An Erlang application for Google Cloud Messaging
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Pull request Compare This branch is 6 commits ahead, 97 commits behind pdincau:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Build Status

This software provides an Erlang client for GOOGLE CLOUD MESSAGING.

What can you already do with gcm-erlang:

Using gcm-erlang you can:

  1. start several gen_servers representing different GCM applications defined by different GCM API keys
  2. send notification messages to Android mobile devices registered to your specific application and registered to GCM using a specific registration id

So far gcm-erlang does only provide support for JSON messages since GCM does not allow to send multicast messages using plain text.

How to compile the application gcm-erlang:

The first thing you have to do is to compile all the Erlang files using rebar.

$ ./rebar get-deps compile

How to run the application gcm-erlang:

Once all the Erlang files are compiled you can start the application gcm-erlang. The application does use the module httpc so it is mandatory to start also the Erlang application inets.

$ erl -pa deps/*/ebin -pa ebin
1> application:start(gcm).

How to start/stop different gen_servers under application gcm-erlang (one for each GCM application):

While gcm-erlang is running you can start several supervised gen_servers, one for each GCM application. Every gen_server is defined by an atom used internally for registration and by a GCM API key.

3> gcm:start(foo, "myapikey").
4> gcm:start(bar, "myotherapikey").
5> gcm:start(baz, "mylastapikey").

You can stop a gen_server representing a GCM Application using:

6> gcm:stop(foo).

How to send a GCM message using from a specific GCM application:

At any time you can send a GCM message to one or more mobile devices by calling:

7> gcm:push(RegisteredName, RegIds, Message).

or by calling:

7> gcm:sync_push(RegisteredName, RegIds, Message).

Where RegistereName is the atom used during registration, RegIds is a list (max 1000 elements) of Registration Ids specified as Erlang binaries (e.g., <<"APA91bHun4MxP5egoKMwt2KZFBaFUH-1RYqx...">>) and Message is an Erlang term representing the data you want to send to the device.

The JSON message is built using jsx in the module gcm.erl and in the end will have the following form:

  "registration_ids" : ["APA91bHun4MxP5egoKMwt2KZFBaFUH-1RYqx..."],
  "data" : {
    "message" : "a message"
  "time_to_live" : 3600,
  "collapse_key" : "your_update"

You can send this message using this sentence:

8> gcm:push(RegisteredName, RegIds, [{<<"data">>, [
8>     {<<"message">>, <<"a message">>}
8> ]}, {<<"time_to_live">>,3600}, {<<"collapse_key">>,<<"your_update">>}]).

or simply:

8> gcm:push(RegisteredName, RegIds, [{<<"data">>, [
8>     {<<"message">>, <<"a message">>}
8> ]}]).

gcm-erlang will push the message for you to Google Cloud Messaging servers and will parse the JSON provided as result.

In case of errors you can catch the output with a callback function. You only need to start the GCM gen_server in this way:

9> Callback = fun(Error, RegId) -> io:format("~p ~p~n", [RegId, Error]) end.
10> gcm:start(foo, "apikey", Callback).

The first param is always a binary with the error and the second param can be a binary with the Registered ID or a tuple refering to the Old Registered ID and the New Registered ID. All of the errors you can handle are in this list are:

  • NewRegistrationId, send the OldRegID and NewRegID as a tuple in the second param.
  • Unavailable, you should retry the request (use exponential back-off).
  • InternalServerError, you should retry the request (use exponential back-off).
  • InvalidRegistration, the RedID isn't valid, you should remove it from your database.
  • NotRegistered, the RegID isn't valid, you should remove it from your database.
  • MissingRegistration the RegID isn't valid, you should remove it from your database.
  • MessageTooBig, the message is too big, so you should send another shorter.
  • InvalidDataKey, the API KEY is invalid, you should stop the server and reconfigure it!
  • InvalidTtl, the TTL (time to live) has an invalid value, stop and reconfigure it!
  • MismatchSenderId, you miss send the sender id, drop the message.
  • InvalidPackageName, package name invalid, drop the message.

Read this for futher details see: Interpreting an error response.

Possible future improvements:

Some stuff I would like to add to gcm-erlang:

  1. resending of all the message not sent due to GCM timeout using exponential backoff

In some cases when you receive a success/error message we should update/remove in our database the Registration Ids. I did not implement this because it depends on your needs. Problably I will store in different ets tables some information so that you will be able to inspect them and update your database. Feel free to edit in gcm.erl the functions parse_results/2 and handle_error/2 if you want to handle these issues in you own way.


Some of the concepts I used for building this Erlang application are based on this blog post and on this Erlang application for APN.