How to create a Jasper notification module

The classic example of a Notification module is one that silently monitors your email address and alerts you when you have a new email. Notification module run in the background, so you can use other modules while Jasper is monitoring your emails, for example.

The Basic Architecture

As Notification modules run in the background, they require their own threads. The main idea is that these Notifier’s have some operation in which they scrape or check for notifications, which are then stored in a thread-safe Queue and, soonafter, reported by Jasper.

All the code for notifications can be found in


Each Notification module module is wrapped in a NotificationClient. The notification client stores two instance variables: a method gather that queues up notifications, and some sort of timestamp argument timestamp. The requirement is that gather returns a new value for timestamp, as exhibited by the run method:

def run(self):
    self.timestamp = self.gather(self.timestamp)

For example, with email, the timestamp argument is the time of the most recent email seen. On each iteration, we return an updated timestamp to make sure we don’t report new emails multiple times.

For a Twitter module, the timestamp argument might be the ID of the most recent Tweet reported. On each iteration, we’d return an updated ID to make sure that we don’t report the same Tweet multiple times.


The Notifier stores a bunch of separate NotificationClient objects in a list, self.notifiers. Every few seconds, the Notifier executes each of the NotificationClient objects and reads off any notifications that are stored in the global queue.

For each NotificationClient, you need to provide a method that:

  1. Queues up notifications in self.q, a thread-safe queue of global notifications that are reported to the user.
  2. Returns the new value of its timestamp variable.

For example, we have the following method for checking email:

def handleEmailNotifications(self, lastDate):
    # grab emails
    emails = Gmail.fetchUnreadEmails(self.profile, since=lastDate)
    if emails:
        lastDate = Gmail.getMostRecentDate(emails)

    # notifications read to user as provided
    def styleEmail(e):
        return "New email from %s." % Gmail.getSender(e)

    # put notifications in queue
    for e in emails:

    # return timestamp of most recent email
    return lastDate

To run this Notification module on start-up, we’d then have to amend self.notifiers to include a new NotificationClient with the function handleEmailNotifications as its gather and None as its initial timestamp. The exact code:

self.notifiers = [
    self.NotificationClient(self.handleEmailNotifications, None)]


As a recap, there are two high-level steps to adding a new notification module:

  1. Write a gather function that:
    • Aggregates notifications (based on a timestamp) and places them in the global queue.
    • Returns a new value for its timestamp.
  2. Add another NotificationClient to self.notifiers containing your method and an initial timestamp.

Jasper will continually execute all of the Notification modules stored in self.notifiers, so if your gather function works correctly, then you’re good to go.

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