Push notifications from the CLI

Sometimes tasks take a long time. Having to constantly check whether they’re done is neither fun nor productive.

XKCD Compiling comic

But it’s a solved problem - notifications. And they’re easy to implement using zx with zxb.

All that’s needed is a small wrapper for the Pushover API.

Create a notify CLI helper

Download the Pushover app on your phone, and register on pushover.net - there’s a free tier that’s perfectly suited for this.

Create a pushover APP and store the credentials in your profile file ( ~/.profile or ~/.zshrc - whatever is your preference)

# Somewhere in your shell config:

Create a new zx file with zxb:

zxb create notify

Read the pushover credentials:

#!/usr/bin/env zx
$.verbose = false;
const token = process.env.PUSHOVER_TOKEN;
const user = process.env.PUSHOVER_USER;

if (!token || !user) {
    console.error('Missing Pushover token or user');

The notify command should look something like this:

notify "Database migration complete"

argv is going to split the input by space, so to get the message, join it back together:

const message = argv._.join(' ');

if (!message) {
    console.error('Missing message');

Send the message to Pushover using fetch:

console.log('Sending message: ', message)
const result = await fetch(`https://api.pushover.net/1/messages.json`, {
    method: 'POST',
    headers: {
        'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded'
    body: `token=${token}&user=${user}&message=${message}&title=CLI`

Log whether the CLI managed to send the message:

if (result.status !== 200) {
    console.error('Failed to send the Pushover message');

console.log(chalk.green('Notification sent'));

Now run your long-running and send the push notification when it’s done:

./reinstall-containers.sh && notify "Container reinstallation complete"

This is why I love zx in combination with zxb - writing small utilities like this is just a couple lines of code.

Anytime I need to send myself a push notification, I’ve got a CLI command available to me to do that quickly.

If I ever forget whether it was notification or notify or pushover or push, I can run zxb ls and it’ll show me all zxb commands that I’ve written.