There is a broad range of services included in Amazon’s AWS.  The offerings include an easy way to subscribe to and send, notifications in a variety of methods.  This product is called the Simple Notification Service (SNS for short) and we will look into it for this stop on the tour.

An Overview of Simple Notification Service

Amazon provides a nice summary and overview of SNS as they do with all services.  If that seems too lengthy then the summary can be made shorter.  SNS provides a way to subscribe to a channel (called a topic) and then publish data that will be available to all subscribers.  A subscriber can be a cell phone text address, an email address, or an application among other options.

Messages that are published to the topic get pushed out to everyone that has subscribed.  Thus, a scalable message service is as simple as creating a topic and providing instructions for subscribing.  The service is even included on the free tier.  The first 1 million messages sent out each month are free.

Easy to Use

Although there is an API for SNS there is also a dashboard interface that can make things easy.  I do not think you would want to use it for all of your messaging, but you could.  It also makes administration of topics and subscribers quick and easy.  The API is simple enough that a few lines of code can hook your application up to SNS for all of its messaging needs.  Better yet, there are a large number of examples and tutorials in multiple development languages to jump start your coding.

Broad Range of Applications

One of the reasons I wanted to cover this service is that it is a great core to many applications.  Most applications have to notify users or subscribers of events, reports, or problems.  Simple notification service is so easy to use and readily available it is a good one to add to your tool chest.  Thus, I highly recommend taking a few hours to familiarize yourself with it.  That time may save you weeks or thousands of dollars to create your next solution that needs to send a message.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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