Desktop notifications

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Summary help replacing me
This article discusses how to install and configure libnotify. Libnotify is a small and lightweight library that implements the Desktop Notifications Specification. This article covers how to get libnotify on your system and how to use it for application development.
Related
GTK+
Libcanberra

Libnotify is an easy way to display desktop notifications and information in a small dialog. It's used in much open source apps like Evolution, Pidgin, etc. It has support for Gtk+ and Qt applications and is desktop independent.

Installation

Libnotify can be installed with the package libnotify, available in the Official Repositories.

In order to use libnotify, you have to install a notification server:

GNOME and KDE

GNOME and KDE use their own implementations to display notifications, and you can't replace them. Their notification servers are started automatically on login to receive notifications from applications via DBus.

  • gnome-shell provides a notification server itself. Notifications are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
  • In GNOME Fallback mode, notification-daemon provides the notification server. Notifications are displayed at the top right corner of the screen.
  • KDE uses knotify4 from package kdebase-runtime to display notifications. Notifications are displayed at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Other DEs

In other desktop environments, the notification server is launched on the first call via DBus. You can choose one of the following implementations:

Tip: To configure xfce4-notifyd, run the following command in the terminal: xfce4-notifyd-config.

Tips and tricks

Write your own notify app

You can write your own libnotify display messages easily in many programming languages through GObject-Introspection or bindings, or you can simply use bash.

The following examples display simple a "Hello world" notification.

Bash

hello_world.sh
#!/bin/bash
notify-send 'Hello world!' 'This is an example notification.' --icon=dialog-information

C

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Build with: gcc -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotify` hello_world.c
hello_world.c
#include <libnotify/notify.h>
void main () {
	notify_init ("Hello world!");
	NotifyNotification * Hello = notify_notification_new ("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
	notify_notification_show (Hello, NULL);
	notify_uninit ();
}

C++

  • Dependency: libnotifymmAUR from AUR
  • Build with: g++ -o hello_world `pkg-config --cflags --libs libnotifymm-1.0` hello_world.cc
hello_world.cc
#include <libnotifymm.h>
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
	Notify::init("Hello world!");
	Notify::Notification Hello("Hello world", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
	Notify::uninit();
}

C#

  • Dependency: notify-sharp-svn
  • Build with: mcs -pkg:notify-sharp hello_world.cs
  • Run with: mono hello_world.exe
hello_world.cs
using Notifications;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void Main() {
		var Hello = new Notification();
		Hello.Summary  = "Hello world!";
		Hello.Body     = "This is an example notification.";
		Hello.IconName = "dialog-information";
		Hello.Show();
	}
}

Genie

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.gs
hello_world.gs
uses 
	Notify

init
	Notify.init ("Hello world")
	var Hello=new Notification ("Hello world!","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
	Hello.show ()
	Notify.uninit ()

Java

  • Dependency: java-gnomeAUR from AUR
  • Makedependency: java-environment
  • Build with: mkdir HelloWorld && javac -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar -d HelloWorld HelloWorld.java
  • Run with: java -classpath /usr/share/java/gtk.jar:HelloWorld HelloWorld
HelloWorld.java
import org.gnome.gtk.Gtk;
import org.gnome.notify.Notify;
import org.gnome.notify.Notification;

public class HelloWorld
{
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Gtk.init(args);
        Notify.init("Hello world");
        Notification Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
        Hello.show();
        Notify.uninit();
    }
}

JavaScript

hello_world.js
#!/usr/bin/gjs
Notify = imports.gi.Notify;
Notify.init ("Hello world");
Hello=new Notify.Notification ({summary: "Hello world!",
                                body: "This is an example notification.",
                                "icon-name": "dialog-information"});
Hello.show ();
Notify.uninit ();

Perl

hello_world.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl
use Glib::Object::Introspection;
Glib::Object::Introspection->setup (
	basename => 'Notify',
	version => '0.7',
	package => 'Notify');
Notify->init;
my $hello = Notify::Notification->new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
$hello->show;

Or you can use the old, static perl-gtk2-notify bindings:

hello_world.pl
#!/usr/bin/perl
use Gtk2::Notify -init, "Hello world";
my $hello = Gtk2::Notify->new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
$hello->show;

Python

hello_world.py
#!/usr/bin/python
from gi.repository import Notify
Notify.init ("Hello world")
Hello=Notify.Notification.new ("Hello world","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
Hello.show ()
Notify.uninit ()

Or you can use the old, static python-notify bindings:

hello_world.py
#!/usr/bin/python2
import pynotify
pynotify.init ("Hello world")
Hello=pynotify.Notification ("Hello world!","This is an example notification.","dialog-information")
Hello.show ()
pynotify.uninit ()

Ruby

hello_world.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby
require 'gir_ffi'
GirFFI.setup :Notify
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello = Notify::Notification.new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show
Notify.uninit

Or you can use the old, static ruby-libnotify bindings:

hello_world.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby
require 'RNotify'
Notify.init("Hello world")
Hello = Notify::Notification.new("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information")
Hello.show
Notify.uninit

Vala

  • Dependency: libnotify
  • Makedependency: vala
  • Build with: valac --pkg libnotify hello_world.vala
hello_world.vala
using Notify;
public class HelloWorld {
	static void main () {
		Notify.init ("Hello world");
		var Hello = new Notification("Hello world!", "This is an example notification.", "dialog-information");
		Hello.show ();
		Notify.uninit ();
	}
}

See also