Messaging apps have revolutionized the way we communicate. There was a time when we needed to rely on text messages which used to cost a lot. But then the evolution of messaging apps was like a boon for the users who want to chat with their friends or family. Some of the popular messaging apps are WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc. The success of these apps has led tech entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to think over the idea of developing their own mobile messaging applications.
If you are having a similar idea, then we are having a lot of valuable information for you. Our mobile app developers are highly expert in developing such on-demand mobile apps. In this article, we have shared their knowledge regarding the online messenger app development.
In-depth analysis: Should you develop an online messenger app?
If you want to develop a successful messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger, then you must know how people use these applications, how much they spend on these apps, and who would be your main competitors. Collecting such data will definitely be helpful for you to make better decisions in the future.
As per a report of Facebook, messaging or chatting has become a part of daily life for 80% of adults (age between 19 to 64 years) and 91% of teens (age between 13 to 18). There are certain why people opt for live chatting such as:
- No delay in message or reply
- Highly convenient
- Provides records of chat
- Easy to multitask
- Useful at work
In regards to time, an average user spends 10 minutes of his day on these messaging apps.
According to On Device Research, users from different parts of the world have at least two messengers installed on their smartphones.
After this, you must also know your high-level competitors. Some of the most popular messaging apps as of July 2020 are:
When you go deep into the market you will realize that there hundreds of similar apps that would be your rival. It implies that the competition in this niche is really very high and you have to make arduous efforts for success. Nevertheless, there is always a chance of a new player in the market especially when it is offering some out-of-the-box features and a great user experience. Let’s know how you should create a messenger app.
Messenger Mobile App Development: Functionality
The functionality implementation is the core structure of your messenger app development. Functionally and the in-app content such as stickers are the most powerful motivators for your user. It simply means that if you want your app to succeed, you need to pick the relevant set of features for your app. In this article, we have considered all the important features and also have divided them into categories: Basic and Additional Features. While the basic features would be highly essential features or the core functioning of the app, the additional features would enhance the user experience on the app.
Basic Features to Include in a Messaging App
The journey of the messaging initiates from the user authorization. There are 3 main different ways of User Login or SignUp:
- Phone Number: The user just has to enter the phone number and the app will authorize with the help of OTP just like in the case of WhatsApp. The app will interact with the OS on which the device runs.
- Email or Social Media Account: There are many apps that offer the service of Sign-up through social media accounts such as Tinder. For this, the mobile app developers have to use an open authorization protocol (e.g. OAuth) or direct interaction with the client-server API.
After the user sign-up, the user will want to chat with those friends who are on this app. For this, the app should import the contacts in the messenger automatically. It will scan the contacts from the contacts book and send them to the server.
Access to the contact book is not necessary if the user doesn’t sign up through the phone number. In this case, the user can search for his friends or family on the app through different parameters such as Email, Name, Username, etc.
You can also encourage existing users to send invites to their friends as Telegram does. This is a pretty important feature to consider when you create a chat app.
Well, this is the main feature of a messaging app. You can implement messaging in many different ways. There would be only the difference between data transmission in those methods. In the first case, the messages would be passed through a server, while in the second from user to user. Let’s discuss both methods in detail:
Method 1: Data passing through the server:
If you want to apply this method in your app, then the messages would be stored in the server. The users and servers will interact with each other through an HTTPS protocol with SSL cryptography. For supporting instant messaging on your app, the polling time must be very less and should be limited to just 1-2 seconds.
Method 2: Messages passing from user to user:
In this method, the messages wouldn’t be stored on the server. The authentication would be done by the central server. Thereafter, each message would be encrypted by an asymmetric cryptography algorithm.
If you also wish to integrate video calling on your chatting app, then you also need to select video and audio codecs that will bring a high-quality video even at the lower internet. The quality of the video and audio should change as per the internet speed availability. You also need to consider how the video will transfer. It can be also transmitted either through a server or from user to user.
File sharing is a very important aspect of a messaging application. It is one of the major reasons for the success of the WhatsApp messaging application. On a messaging application, the users always want to share their documents, photos, videos, and other content.
The developers must use particular APIs for enabling file-sharing capabilities on the app. They have to pass the data to the server using the SOAP and RESTful APIs. By this feature, the users would be able to share the photos, videos, from the gallery or take photos & videos directly from the app to let users capture the moment, and send it to the friend immediately.
For the Android app development, the developers can use android. location package classes and for the iOS app, they must use CLLocationManager class for supporting geolocation tracking in the app.
It is required by users for sharing their location to their friends or family or just show where a store, office, parking, or whatever is located. In WhatsApp, the user can share his live location.
Since there have been many incidents of leaking of personal data, users trust only those apps which are having robust encryption techniques. If you want to create an instant messaging app, you have to guarantee the security of users’ personal data. As per a survey, 62% of the US population is worried about hacker attacks.
There are two main types of encryption techniques:
- Cloud Messages: It is a standard encryption method.
- Secret Chats: If a user enables this mode, the encryption method would be completely different. The messages would be encrypted end-to-end. All the messages users send to each other in the Secret Chat can be deciphered only with the help of their smartphones.
In-App Voice and Video Calls
Even the core functionality of a messaging app is texting, but users also love to communicate through other means too such as:
- Voice calls or messages: Users love to either communicate by just audio calls on the app. It is extremely useful when users are in different countries. Sending audio messages to each creates next-level fun for them.
- Video calls or messages: The same thing with video. Add the support for video calls, messages or both.
Apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, etc. allow the users to create or join various communities and groups within the app. These communities or groups are created for like-minded people where they can discuss ideas or get new updates.
This feature’s purpose can be indicated by its name. The practice of Snapchat shows that self-destructing messages and media files are very popular.
What Else to Consider?
After knowing the basic and additional features, there are some more things that you can consider during the messaging application development.
Multiple Platforms Availability
The ability to use the same application on multiple platforms will help you to gain more users. If you are planning to develop an instant messaging app then you must not be limited to only iOS and Android app development but also consider the web version too.
All popular messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, etc. have their web versions too.
Synchronization with Cloud
In this feature, all the chat records, messages, media files, and other content will get synchronized on the cloud. This feature will help the users to not lose their data in any scenario.
For creating a messaging app like WhatsApp you must include these features:
- User Authorization
- Importing Contacts
- Instant Messaging
- File Sharing
- Tracking Location
- Robust Encryption
If you wish to create a chat app full of features from the beginning, then you must include these features:
- In-app voice or video calls
- Voice and Video Messages with Group chat (including video)
- Channels and Groups
- Self-destructing messages
- Cloud Synchronization
- Presence on Multiple Platforms
- Stickers creation
Technology Stack to Consider
We, at Amplework, the best mobile application development company is having expertise in developing mobile apps that can meet your requirements. Let us know what your idea is and we will turn it into reality.