I’ve never created a Ruby gem before, although I use other people’s gems a lot. So I decided recently that I might have a go at making one myself. I needed to find something nice and small to start off with.
A while ago I came across a web startup called Notifo. They’re one of the companies funded by the well regarded Y Combinator venture firm. Notifo basically does one thing and does it pretty well as far as I can tell: they allow people to send notifications when stuff happens. You can join up to Notifo and create a ‘service’ that other Notifo users can subsequently sign up to and be notified when something happens. One example is the push.ly service that pushes a notification to you via Notifo when someone mentions your username on Twitter.
Notifo users need to download one of Notifo’s apps in order to receive notifications. At the moment they have an iPhone app, an app that hooks into Growl for OS X and browser add-ons for Chrome, Safari and Firefox. I gather they are working on Android and Black Berry apps as well as something for Linux.
I wasn’t so much interested in the Notifo ‘service’ side of things. I just wanted to create a really simple way that I could send myself notifications (to my iPhone) from my own Rails apps when something interesting happens. Enter self-notifo. Full instructions for use are at the previous link. You can install with:
$ sudo gem install self-notifo
This gem in its current form is quite tied to Rails and the normal convention in this case seems to be that you would usually release your code as a Rails plugin rather than a gem. But for a number of reasons - not the least of which being that I just wanted to write a gem - I went with a gem rather than a Rails plugin.
If you’re looking for something in Ruby that does take into account the Notifo ‘service’ side of things as well and isn’t tied to Rails specifically, try this library.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Notifo whatsoever, I just like the cut of their jib.