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Support custom push service for Web Push?


Carl-Erik Kopseng

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Our current product, a web app, is to be deployed in a secured enterprise environment using Xen Mobile. We haven't played with Citrix solutions before, and as the deployment is handled by an enterprise-internal team, we don't interface directly with the EMM system either. Still, we do need to understand the system our app will be living in. Our app will be running in the Secure Web for Android browser and what we currently need to figure out is how we can push notifications to the browser (spec link) - if at all possible!

 

The at all possible is of course written knowing that Safari for iOS currently doesn't support the Push API, which would mean this would be something Xen Mobile would have to explicitly support on top of the browser APIs. Aside from browser support in general, we would also need to be able to provide a custom push service endpoint, as our app is deployed in a internet-free, locked down environment.

 

Official support from the W3C for custom push service endpoint just recently landed in the draft, so it's not surprising if it's unsupported :-)

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For anyone else coming here with the intent of finding out how to get push notifications going, the following is to the best of my knowledge, The Way To Go (at least quicker than waiting for support from Citrix, which is not even planned):

  1. Screw using the citrix web wrapper/browser: realize that this is a dead end and that native experiences requires you to have control
  2. Make a small native app that is basically little less than a WKWebView that loads your app. This can be distributed and configured using Citrix own MDM solutions, making sure security concerns are taken care, while at the same time ensuring your users are not left with a sub-par browser
  3. Implement Push Functionality in the native part of your app.
  4. If you need to somehow notify your web app, use the javascript bridge in iOS to communicate from the native side to the browser
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To the best of my knowledge, this applies to all Secure Web versions, including Android.
It might be worth opening up a support case specifically for this request. Once there is a case number logged, we can get a Request for Enhancement logged too so that this feature can be considered for addition.

 

We are using this same Push Notification mechanism for Secure Mail already, so there shouldn't be any concerns internally at Citrix around the security aspects I don't think.

 

Thanks,

David

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Do you know if this applies to all versions the Secure Web App - including Android? Our assumption so far has been that the Secure Web App is a wrapper around the web views provided by the OS, and as such provided (at least) the same functionality as the native browser. Since Chrome for Android supports push messages, we assumed that the Secure Browser would at least do so on Android as well, making opening the firewall for the endpoints the only thing needed to make push messages work (when custom endpoints weren't supported).

 

It's really unfortunate if the support is explicitly disabled, as the message payload is secured through public key encryption, so security aspects are handled.

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After reading up on this topic again, I see that the push support for the Secure Mail client is actually delivered using the APN service (iOS) and GCM (Android). The APNS is also required for mobile management on iOS, so the infrastructure is already in place, which makes the lack of support even more strange.

 

That leaves rolling our own notification system as the only option, which is a path frought with many potential pitfalls and needless development cost. Hoping push support will end up on a roadmap soon, although I am not holding my breath  :85_scream_cat:. At least the docs could mention this huge whole in the feature chart and if/how to work around it.

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