Pushbullet and its API + Integrations

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I want to spread the word about yet another cool service I’m using: Pushbullet. It’s a push service (DUH), which is not about sites pushing useless cr*p to you – no, I don’t want to receive notifications from random places! Instead, it’s all about you messaging yourself and custom alerts via its API.

In case you ever:

  • …sent an email to yourself when you found something you wanted to check out later?
  • …wished you could send files or a long link from one device to another, so you don’t have to type?
  • …wanted to receive a push about some special event that happens on your PC or server?

Pushbullet is the tool for you then! 🙂

Messaging yourself with Pushbullet

I use this feature all the time. Whenever I find something interesting on my phone, I push the link to “all devices” I have added to Pushbullet. Later when I’m at the desktop with more time, I open these links. It’s the equivalent of what I’ve been doing in the past: emailing myself.

Pushbullet places itself in the sharing popup of Android (it’s available for iOS too), and it’s very convenient to use from any other app. All pushes are archived, and you can access them months later if you want to.

Whenever I get a text/SMS with an expiring code I’m supposed to enter to a website to log-in (old implementation of the 2FA), I send the code via a push back to the computer because I’m too lazy to type in all that.

Pushbullet also works for smaller files, such as transferring documents. A notable and recurring use of mine is that I download or put together a hiking trail in KML, and send it to my phone. Then I load it with one tap into the Maps.me offline maps app so I can follow along later.

Posting links between devices

I don’t log-in with Chrome to sync the tabs between machines. Each device has a purpose, and I don’t want to see the same tabs all the time. Like, let’s not mix the browser on an HTPC with the workstation’s browser with tabs of developer resources… However, there have been numerous occasions when I wanted to send a long URL to another browser, such as the one on my Raspberry Pi. I have no other easy way of transmitting information like that, so I thank Pushbullet for its simplicity.

Also, when I want to check this site or our products on a smaller screen, I can send the current tab the phone it with two clicks. Yes, there are browser extensions and apps, and each installation counts as a device. You can choose where to send which push, but by default, it’s an all-device notification.

The Pushbullet API and integrations

At some point, the need arose to send notifications to my phone from my Raspberry Pi (Linux). Remember the article where I recommend using CloudFlare as a Dynamic DNS? Well, Pushbullet also has an API. What does it mean for me? As an example, it can notify me when my home network’s WAN IP has changed. The following is part of a bash script, but wherever there is CURL (as on systems with WordPress, or even in WP plugins), this can initiate pushes to any added device.

curl --request POST \
--url https://api.pushbullet.com/v2/pushes \
--header 'Access-Token: <your_access_token_here>' \
--header 'Cache-Control: no-cache' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data '{"body":"Your message", "title":"Hello World!", "type":"note"}'

Some sites and services already work with Pushbullet. Such as TypeForm, which can notify us via this service whenever somebody fills our forms. With StatusCake,  you can use this for website monitoring too, to get alerts when something is wrong.

For those of you that are into automation! What if I told you that Pusbullet integrates with IFTTT, Zapier, or Integromat? Consequently, anything you want can trigger a notification, provided you approach this with enough creativity.

My recommendation

I’ve been using Pushbullet for years, and never had any problems with it. It gets daily use, and it helps tremendously with productivity when going back and forth between phone and desktop, during responsive design phases. The best thing about it is that it’s free. No, this is not a paid article either. I just checked, and they have a Pro version, but I never needed it. I love this kind of service where the free plan is just good enough. Go, check it out!

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