Details on converged notification system for WP and Windows

Build session on the new notification platform
Build session on live tiles

There were two very interesting sessions at build that discussed what's new about notifications in WP8.1 and Windows, focussing on a new converged notification system, as well as the new action center and new live tile experiences.

  • There's a new Windows Notification System now, which handles all Windows and WP8.1 notifications, including notifications from existing WP apps. It allows new apps to provide consistent notification experiences on both platform (universal apps), and enables some new functionalities (see below).
  • There are new live tile and toast templates that allow for notification experiences that are identical on both platforms, apart from subtle differences in layout.
  • On WP8.1, live tiles can now flip through up to 5 tile "pages" instead of just two, and all of them can have different individual layouts.
  • With existing apps, all toast notifications will show up in the action center, swiping one notification away will delete all the notifications for that app. New apps can have full control over how notifications show up in the action center - users can remove single notifications, a deleted notification can automatically be replaced by a new one, notifications can disappear after a defined exspiration time, ghost notifications don't show up as toasts.
  • When a user has been offline for a while and got a large amount of notifications from one app, he won't see a huge list of notifications in the action center as he goes online, but instead the notifications will be grouped (for example, "you have 25 new mails")
  • The speaker said that there are no large tiles in WP "at this time", which indicates that they may be considering adding that feature in the future.