Web Notifications in Opera Developer 25

August 8th, 2014

You might have noticed that Opera Developer 25 has support for Web Notifications.

Now, Web Notifications was already there in the Chromium project for quite some time, so why did it take us time to add it? Well, the way Chromium deals with notifications makes it seem non-native in certain platforms — we wanted to make it feel native on all our platforms, and we worked on it to make it happen.

So the notifications you have on Opera will feel like native notifications (i.e., however your operating system displays notifications — whichever your platform is). We believe this is a much better experience for users.

A very simple notification on the Mac platform would look like this.

You can of course, include an image as well, like so.

To give you a quick overview of web notitifcations, it’s really quite simple. The first thing you need check if the browser supports notifications, if so, to ask the user for permission to show notifications.

You can do this by the writing something like the following:

if ('Notification' in window) {
	Notification.requestPermission(function() {});

If permission is granted by the user, then you can proceed to display a notification, like so:

if (Notification.permission == 'granted') {
	var firstNotification = new Notification('Sample Notification Title', {
		body: 'This is the notification body.'

You can add in other parameters in too, like an icon:

if (Notification.permission == 'granted') {
	var firstNotification = new Notification('Sample Notification Title', {
		icon: 'icon.png',
		body: 'This is the notification body.'

Often the title is not enough for a notification. The body attribute is used to describe a further explanation of the notification which the user will see in the notification just below the title.

Apart from the body and icon attributes, you also have the dir attribute (you can specify ltr, rtl or auto depending on the language you want the notification to be in) and the lang attribute. The former is about specifying the direction of the text in the notification and the latter is about specifying the primary language of the notification (you need to specify it as done in the BCP-47 document series).

There is also the tag attribute — which is about specifying that particular type of notification. For example, if you have a social networking site open in two seperate tabs and you get a new message from your friend — it shouldn’t happen that both tabs produce a notification about the same thing. So if the notifications share the same tag, then multiple instances of it will be counted as one — thus you will only get the notification one time, no matter how many pages of the site you have open in different tabs.

Working with notification events

The most common thing you would do is to do something when a person clicks on a notification. The onclick event is used to capture this and perform an action.

var testNotification = new Notification('Sample Notification', {
	body: 'This is a sample notification.'

testNotification.onclick = function() {
	console.log('onclick worked');

Similarly, you have the onerror and the onshow event handlers. The former is called when an error occurs with the notification, and the latter is called whenever the notification has actually been shown to the user.

The Road Ahead

We are also working on getting notfications in Opera extensions via the chrome.notifications API.

Notifications dramatically increase the usefulness of certain apps, especially ones dealing with email and social networking (some of the biggest sites in the world fall into this category). We hope you’ll like the native-like notifications that Opera provides to web apps. Cheers!