In today’s virtual times, the popularity of messaging apps has been gaining attraction more than ever.
As per a Statista study, the global number of messaging app users is projected to grow 3.51 billion users in 2025.
Almost all businesses are focusing on establishing a chat app of their own to facilitate quick interactions with their customers. Have you been planning to do so too? We are here to help. In this article, we shall discuss all the important aspects that need to be considered in order to build a messaging platform. Stay with us and read on!
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A Quick Competitive Analysis of Popular Chat Apps
If you’ve been planning to build a chat app, it is important that you dig deep into some of the most popular messaging apps among audiences. Let us look closely at them one by one.
WhatsApp ensures fast, simple, and secure messaging all over the world. It was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Around 2 billion people in over 180 countries conduct communication with friends and family, anytime and anywhere via WhatsApp. There’s no denying that it has become a successful alternative to regular SMS messaging.
- Compatible with multiple devices such as Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and the web.
- Supports end-to-end encryption.
- Group chats upto 256 users.
- Receives and sends texts, photos, video, and audio messages.
- Supports voice and video calls.
- Facilitates file sharing.
- Allows photo sharing from device storage or directly from the built in camera
iMessage is an instant messaging service that is developed by Apple Inc. and was launched back in 2011. It is compatible with Apple platforms such as macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS.
- Facilitates group messages
- Typing indicator
- Complete SMS support
- Audio messages
- File sharing
- Secure app integrations with Apple Pay, Stickers, Apple Music, and much more
Slack is recognized as the modern way to communicate with your team. It was released in July 2022, 2013 and has around 10,000,000+ downloads. Slack tends to transform the ways in which modern businesses operate. Let us look at some of its best functionalities.
- Organize your conversations by topics and projects.
- Message or call any person or group within your team.
- Share and edit documents.
- Integrate tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and others.
- Customize notifications.
- Access cross-platform support for Android, iOS, web, and desktop.
4. Facebook Messenger
An instant messaging app and platform that is developed by Facebook and was first released in 2011. It allows you to easily sync your messages and contacts to your phone and connect with anyone, anywhere. Let us dig into some of its most popular functionalities.
- Cross app messaging and calling
- Vanish mode
- Custom reactions
- Chat themes
- Free live video calls
- Stickers, gifs, and emojis
- File sharing
How much time and cost does it take to Build a Secure Messaging App?
It is not a one day task to build a messaging chat app. Developing it from scratch requires a lot of time and investment. The whole process of chat app development depends on a lot of factors such as your app objectives, infrastructure expenses, and much more.
The budget for your app is based upon your unique requirements. Initially, you may be required to invest on developer salaries and basic infrastructure costs.
Once the app is developed, you may also need to incur some maintenance and scaling cost. Moreover, if you’re planning to build a chat app that is compatible with multiple platforms and has advanced messaging features, you might be required to spend more time and cost than usual.
How to Build a Chat App – Top features that you must include
Have you been wondering how to build a chat messaging app? Fret not! We have got your back. Now, it is important that you chalk out your audience requirements before starting your app development process. Perform a detailed research and then plan your framework. It will help you stand out from the crowd.
In this section, we shall be discussing some of the best features that you should incorporate in your app. Let us closely look at them one by one.
Must-have basic features to include when planning to Build a Messaging App
First, let us learn about the core features that are indispensable for a good messaging experience for your app users.
1. App Registration – Make sure to have a registration page and user authentication functionality.
2. Chat Window – Your app should showcase clear segregation of sent and received messages and be chronologically arranged.
3. Text Editing – A well-structured app has text editing space with a keyboard.
4. Contacts – Your app should display your list of contacts that can be imported and edited easily.
5. Notifications – It should show notifications for unread messages
7. User Presence – Your app should be able to indicate whether the user is available, away, offline, or active.
8.Storage Capacity – It should be able to provide users with message backups.
Advanced features required to Build a Secure Messaging App
If you want to build a messaging app that can help you beat your competitors, you need to incorporate certain advanced functionalities in order to make it more engaging for your audience. Let us understand some of those advanced features one by one.
Build Chat App for Android, iOS, or the web with proper analysis of technical factors
When you plan to build a messaging chat app, you need to make sure that you take all important technical factors into account. You need to wisely select your preferred chat framework, front-end and backend coding languages, and much more. Some of the most popular backend languages that you can choose from are Python, Java, PHP, and others.
On the other hand, some of the top front-end languages include React Native, Flutter, Swift, Kotlin, and others. We recommend you to perform detailed market research before choosing your preferences. Select options that best suit your business communication objectives.
Developing a chat app from scratch requires a deep understanding of different technologies. In this section, we shall delve into some of those technologies that you need to integrate into your app. Let us discuss them one by one.
Choosing the right chat protocol for your messaging application is important. There’s one popular open-source option that you can consider and that is XMPP. XMPP stands for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. Then there are relatively newer protocols such as Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) and WebRTC Video Chat App that you can opt for.
MML stands for Message Markup Language. When you integrate MML into your application, it allows you to provide a dynamic messaging experience to your app users. Not only this, MML also facilitates the usage of images and icons. You can also incorporate elements like button lists, carousels, or custom forms within your chat application.
Best Tools to Build a Messaging App
When you have the right tools, developing a chat app does not take much of your time. You do not need to build it from scratch. Given below is a list of some of the best tools that you can leverage for your chat app development.
Firebase helps you build and run successful apps. The best part is that it is backed by Google. It supports developers at all stages of the app development process. Moreover, Firebase provides you with real-time data, built-in security, storage supported by Google Cloud, and much more.
2. Websockets and Socket.IO
3. Chat App APIs & SDKs
Well, selecting the appropriate tools for your chat app might prove to be a complex process. Hence, many app developers opt for modern in-app chat APIs and SDKs available in the market. An efficient chat API has all the advanced functionalities that can make your chat application popular among your audiences.
We hope our article helped you understand the crucial aspects attached with chat app development. If you want to build a chat app for your business real quick, you can consider leveraging chat app API solutions. There is a comprehensive suite of chat app API in the market to choose from. So, delay no more! Start your app development process today!
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