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Facebook-like notification area

Hi All,


I would like to add a Facebook-like notification feature to our app. The idea is to have a place where we can show how many new "notifications" the user has (like the number inside the red circle on Facebook) , clicking on it will open a list of notifications that are clickable.


Before we develop something like this, does anyone know of an existing solution?


I looked at the built-in Messages and Alerts feature but it doesn't seem to do the trick, you have to manually go to the Setup area to add notifications, there is no way as far as I see to do this directly from Apex. 


I also looked the a notifications bar on AppExcahge, but I dislike the idea of a moving marquee bar, it's not very user friendly, feels "old" design and takes too much screen real estate in my opinion. I am looking for something similar to how Facebook (and many other who followed) solved this issue.