Set Up the Google Firebase Cloud Messaging Server

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1 Introduction

You can use Google’s Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) service to send push notifications to both Android as well as iOS. In order to send push notifications using FCM from the Push Notifications Connector module, you must set up a Firebase account with FCM enabled. This tutorial will teach you how to register for FCM and configure the service in your app.

2 Prerequisites

Before starting this how-to, make sure you have completed the following prerequisites:

  • Have a Firebase account

3 Setting up a Firebase Project

There are two possible scenarios: you can create a new FCM project, or you can update your existing GCM project to FCM. Both scenarios are described below.

3.1 Migrating a GCM project to FCM

To prevent the degraded reliability of push notifications delivery, you should migrate existing GCM projects to FCM and upgrade credentials if needed.

3.1.1 Sign in to the Developer’s Console

Open the Firebase developer’s console and sign in with your Google ID.

3.1.2 Importing the Project

To import your project, do the following:

  1. In the Firebase console, select Import Google Project.
  2. Select your GCM project from the list of existing projects, select a region, and click Add Firebase:

With that done, continue with Configuring APNs Credentials below.

3.2 Creating a New FCM Project

3.2.1 Sign in to the Developers Console

Open up the Firebase developers console and sign in with your Google ID.

3.2.2 Creating the Project

To create a project, do the following:

  1. Click Create new project.
  2. Fill in your application’s project name and region.
  3. Click Create

4 Adding an Android or iOS App

Before you add an app to FCM, you must retrieve your app’s bundle ID. Its location depends on your type of your mobile app.

For a native mobile app, your bundle ID will be what you specify for the --application-id parameter. You can find this ID later in your generated GitHub repo:

  • For Android, open android/app/build.gradle and consult applicationId to find your ID
  • For iOS, open ios/Config/config.xcconfig and consult BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER to find your ID

For a hybrid app, you can find this ID in your Project Dashboard. Click Deploy, then Mobile App. Your ID is listed as App Identifier:

Do the following to add your app to FCM:

  1. Click the Project Overview cogwheel and select Project settings:

  2. Go to the General tab and click Add app:

  3. Select Android and, fill in the bundle_id, and skip the rest of the steps:

Bundle id must be matching with your package id. Make sure to repeat this step for IOS aswell.

5 Configuring APNs Credentials (Optional)

If you wish to send push notifications to iOS devices through FCM, you will need to configure your APNs credentials:

  1. Click in the top-left corner of the screen and select Project settings.
  2. Navigate to the Cloud messaging tab:

  3. On this tab, upload either your APNs key or your APNs certificate(s). For more information on APN SSL certificates, see How to Set up the Apple Push Notification Server.

6 Setting Up a Service Account

In the top-left corner of the screen, click the cogwheel and select Project settings. Then navigate to the Service accounts tab.

On this page, press Generate new private key. Store the resulting file in a secure location. You will use this file when configuring FCM in the back-end of your Mendix application.

The file you just created gives API access to all available Firebase services for your app. If you want a more restrictive service account, click Manage all service accounts in the top-right of the screen, then create a service account that is restricted to using the Cloud Messaging functionality.

7 Downloading the Google Services Config Files

In addition to the back-end configuration set up in the previous steps, you will need additional files that will be bundled as part of your mobile application. To obtain these, again click the cogwheel in the top-left of the screen and select Project settings. Then navigate to the General tab:

The list at the bottom shows the Android and iOS applications that you have configured for your Firebase project. Select the Android application and click google-services.json. Then click the iOS application and click GoogleService-Info.plist. Store both files in a secure location. You will need these when building your mobile application.

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