Drupal Module Updates via iPhone Push Notifications

12th June 2011

If you've looked after a Drupal website for any length of time you'll know that you should regularly update modules, themes and most importantly the Drupal core as-and-when updates become available - security updates, at the very least. The Update Status module (now in core) is great for summarising what needs updating (if you haven't enabled that module, you really should do), but if you really want to stay on top of those updates then there's a fairly simple way in which you can get them sent to your iPhone (or indeed iPad) as a push notification. Here's how. First, you'll need to download Prowl from the App Store - at the time of writing it costs £1.79, or $2.99 in the US. Next up, you'll need to create an account on the Prowl website. Then, you will need to generate an API key - you can create as many of these as you wish, and there's no additional charge for doing so. As you can see from the screenshot below, the API Keys tab shows any existing keys, and the form at the bottom is used to create a new one - all you need is a note to remind yourself what it's for. Enter something to do with the site you're adding, e.g. "My Drupal Website" and hit Generate Key

Configuring Prowl API keys, for iOS Push Notifications for Drupal
The Prowl web interface allows to you to add and edit API keys, allowing you to receive push notifications to your iPhone or iPad

Next up, you'll need to download and install the Drupal module. You will then need download and install the ProwlPHP class as instructed by the README - download it from Github and then place it in a directory (within the module's directory) called ProwlPHP. Setting up the Drupal module is pretty straightforward; simply navigate to Site Configuration → Prowl push notifications and you'll see the following screen:

Configuring Prowl for Drupal, to enable you to receive push notifications to your iPhone or iPad from Drupal
Enter the API key you generated using the Prowl web app

As you can see, you simply need to enter the API key you created earlier and then select which notifications to receive - Modules with security updates only, or All modules with updates. That's it - your Drupal website should now send you a push notification when updates are available. Of course, in a way this is a fairly trivial example of using push notifications with Drupal - if you wish to receive notifications for other purposes, the module plays nicely with actions, or you may wish to dig into the code and look at prowl_send_admin_notification or prowl_send_any_user_notification. An additional module also ships with the Prowl Drupal module for assigning Prowl accounts to individual users, and you may wish to look at the Messaging Framework integration. If you come up with any imaginative ways of using push notifications in Drupal, do let me know in the comments.