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I don't have an application that I'm currently working on, but issues I have both heard from others and experienced myself got me thinking.

Some messengers (I have Hangouts in mind) have "notification sync", where notifications destined for your mobile devices are intercepted by active desktop clients. The idea is that only one notification prevails because it is annoying to get redundant notifications.

If desktop clients don't intercept notifications, your phone constantly buzzes when you chat on the desktop. If desktop clients do intercept, then you could get missing notifications if you forget to close the client.

What is the best way to resolve this dilemma?

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I would think you could do this by making the desktop client "check in" or update to a DB whenever the client is loading page elements (some type of JS while open and session active) or someone is actively using the application (Opening forms, pressing buttons, in addition to application being open). Lets say you track a "Last Time Checked In" that is linked to the person's account or credentials, so you constantly track 0 to 10+ minutes for each account. The desktop client when active could send a message back to the server or update a DB letting your back-end know the application is being used. If the last time the client sent a message is greater than ten minutes (meaning the person is most likely not using the application) then look for anything connected beyond the desktop client to send a message to instead.

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