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Administrator Guide

Setting Up

Configuring the back-end for Snowstorm is as simple as creating a shared folder on a networked resource and then directing your users to point their instance of Snowstorm to it; there's nothing to install or configure on the server hosting the shared folder, so there's no restriction on the type of device it is.


In this scenario, we want to allow Bob access to weather alerts posted to a shared folder presented as \\DATA\public\alerts\weather.  The shared folder already exists, and Bob already has Snarl and Snowstorm installed on his computer.

Step 1: The system administrator grants Bob's user account read access to \\DATA\public\alerts\weather

Step 2: Bob maps the N: drive on his PC to \\DATA\public\alerts\weather

Step 3: Bob opens Snowstorm's preferences and adds N: as a monitored folder

Step 4: The system administrator drops a test notification file into \\DATA\public\alerts\weather and Bob confirms Snowstorm generates an alert on his PC.

Notification File Format

Notification files are incredibly simple to create and, once you've created some, you can use them as templates for further notifications.  There a some requirements to follow however, as described here:

General Requirements

  • The notification file should be in a standard ASCII text format.  Formats such as Rich Text add metadata which could affect Snowstorm's ability to parse it;
  • The filename should not begin with "Copy of" - Snowstorm may be configured to ignore files beginning with this prefix;
  • The extension (anything after the last period) must be ".notify".

Content Format

The notification file follows the traditional Windows "INI" file format, as follows:



A Snowstorm notification file in particular consists of one [content] section and any number (including zero) of [action] sections:

[content] section

The following keywords are defined:

title=       <Notification title>
text=        <Notification text>
icon=        <Snarl icon or path to icon>
persistent=  [Yes|No]
priority=    [-64..+64]
link=        [URL or file to launch]
sticky=      [Yes|No]
percent=     [0..100]

At least one of Title, Text or Icon must be specified.  Icon can be a file path (although this must be accessible to all PCs receiving the notification), a URL or a Snarl system icon.  If Persistent is specified as Yes, the notification will be displayed each time Snowstorm is started.

Priority can be an integer ranging from -64 to +64.  If omitted, a value of zero is assumed.  With the current release of Snowstorm, values over zero are simply treated as "high priority", consequently either zero or one should be specified here.

Link is a URL or file (which must be accessible to all PCs receiving the notification) to launch if the user clicks the appropriate button on the notification.

If Sticky is specified as Yes the notification will be displayed permanently until acknowledged by the user.

Percent can be an integer value between 0 and 100.  If provided - and the Snarl display used to show the notification supports it - a meter showing the value represented as a percentage will be displayed.

[action] section

Example Notification File

The following notification file:

title=M6 J28 Closed
text=M6 is closed at J28 due to an ongoing incident.  There is currently a 55 minute delay.  Normal road conditions are expected from 10pm.

Generates this: