Pull notifications are updates delivered to a computer or mobile device in response to a user or software-initiated poll of a remote server.
Generally, pull notifications are how noncritical updates and communications are delivered. Pull is the more traditional approach, in which a user or software client makes the initial request for info. The alternative, push notification (also called server push), is the delivery of content from a software application to a computing device without a specific request from the client. In push communications, a server sends a message about updates to the client, which has typically subscribed to updates in advance. The client may be built into the operating system, especially in the case of smartphones.
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Pull notifications often rely on existing software installed on a computer or mobile device. For example, a base version of software, such as Skype, may be downloaded; the software then checks for updates. Requests for data followed by responses from servers make up the basis of network computing.