Ever thought about creating a chat app on your own? Has the achievement of other competitors in the new chat/messenger industry affected your resolution? Does your app pack a few excellent features to add but want to maintain basic functionality of other successful messaging services? If yes, then you are heading in the right direction.
In this “How to” guide of ours, we will discuss how you can create a chat app just like WhatsApp.
Instant chat apps are successful because of their real-time delivery characteristic. The chat apps are highly preferred and are now seeing an upward trend at a fast pace. The trend of instant messaging has left back the era of a conventional short message service (SMS)/text messaging. Whatsapp which has the largest user base of around 1.5 billion with 60 billion messages texted per day using the instant messaging application globally.
The messaging market has its share of powerful players with WhatsApp dominating the industry with 800 million active users daily, followed by Facebook Messenger with 700 million daily active users and WeChat with 549 million active users.
Step1: Create a Tech Stack
Let’s get started by understanding the tech stack that runs into developing a real-time chat app like WhatsApp.
WhatsApp was first created on Erlang which is the main programming language. Erlang has gained the most acceptance and recognition because of its extraordinary performance, speed, and scalability which is possibly the combination that works best for a real-time chat app.
Ejabberd XMPP (Extensible Messaging & Presence Protocol) is a unique server used to process hundreds of thousands of messages with the supersonic speed with no setbacks or delays, which makes an ideal platform to create a new chat app. In addition, it also works great with Erlang programming language, making it an excellent combination and powering the whole app.
This server is developed using specific pluggable modules that allow features like Contact Actual & Presence Listing, Store & Forward (Offline Messages), Multi-User Chat (MUC) – Group Chat, Message Archive Management, Privacy Setting and Account Spoofing and more.
Yet Another Web Server or simply YAWS is developed for multimedia file storage and is entirely written in Erlang. It is a high-performance web server that has been developed mainly for apps with dynamic content. YAWS is unique in its ability to supervise parallel processes efficiently and has a high-performance standard.
Lighttpd is an open source web server that is optimized for higher execution. It is a lightweight web-server which is deployed even on WhatsApp; with the purpose to add a safe, resourceful, responsive, and compliant feature.
Step 2: Additional Real-Time Features for Your Chat App
There is no doubt that WhatsApp is leading in the category of instant messaging app, but that doesn’t mean they are fused with features that are available for the messaging platform. Here’s a list of features that are not offered by WhatsApp:
a.) Audio and Video Live Streaming
Audio and Video feature are some of the core features of Snapchat, which is now practiced by other leading social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. To stay at the top, WhatsApp must quickly adopt this feature.
b.) Event Planning & Syncing Calendars
A feature like this reminds users about meetings, special events like birthdays, anniversary which are coming up so that you can plan well in advance. This feature is especially profitable and assists well when you look to seek the attention of the business organizations to your app.
c.) Multi-platform Chatting
Multi-platform chatting can be the most sought after feature wherein you app offers the options to use the app across various platforms. It will help the users stay engaged with your app whether they are online or at the desk.
d.) Sync with Cloud Service
You should develop your app in such a way that it allows the users to sync the app with prominent cloud services. This feature allows you to control, update, store, and scale the hosting environment in a more efficient manner.
Step 3: Things to Remember While Building Your Own Messaging App
You should have a clear idea when you plan on developing an app like WhatsApp, but there are times where you may fall short in planning, designing also having a good team. In order to create a chat application, you have to be prepared with the following:
a.) Have a Plan well-in-advance
When you are developing an app, you should always give attention to its architecture and it should be fully developed in the initial stages of its development. As your app starts receiving enough attention, you will have to take into consideration potential factors whether it is the server or the app code design.
It is advisable to hire a tech professional who is ready to anticipate all the possible scenarios. The hired expert can fix bugs, app crashes which can save your future financial losses.
b.) Focus On A Good Design
The design is perhaps the most important things which will decide the popularity of the app you are creating. The design is the face of your app; it is essential to take care of the color palette, suitable fonts size, well-designed and appealing icons etc.
A stylish interface will provide an excellent onboarding experience, increasing engagement and user retention. Consider having enough of financial resources to make your application’s design meet the existing standards.
c.) Building A Good Team
The complete plan of the app development depends largely on the team you hire to develop your chat app. A good team not only defines the kind of product, quality and the time you take to develop the app, it also is an important factor in managing the total cost of your app.
A strong team comprises a sales manager, project manager, business analyst and a team of software developers. A marketing manager may be hired if there is a necessity to promote the product.
It is essential that you set up benchmarks and KPIs which would help you to analyze characteristics and functionality of the application.
Real-time chat app requires three fundamental metrics that need to be carefully examined – the number of active users, user retention rate, and user engagement.