Building a chat application like whatsapp, fb messenger, hike, etc involves quite some setup but to get an idea in the most simplest manner, read below.
The whole setup is split into 3 blocks .
- Client facing app
- Messaging Channel
- Server setup/infra to handle messaging transactions at scale
In summary the tech involved would be
Client facing app
- App ( which involves all the UI and basic UX, Android/iOS/Windows) [You can use libraries here]
- Database to save data in device/work offline [SQLite/Realm]
- Manage states for the device (i.e network change, calls ,etc) and respond for messaging based events [API dependent and available in target OS]
- Maintain a connection with the server ( via Sockets, XMPP, MQTT)
- Push Notifications[Firebase Cloud Messaging, Urban Airship, One Signal]
- [optional] Media ( video/picture) and location feature [Google Maps SDK, Android Media Framework API]
- Choose from Socket, XMPP or MQTT [Could be a mix of them too, depending on use case]
- Make sure of the use case ,
- mqtt is for mobile devices and iot (preferred, refer to Paho Project)
- socket if you have desktop app (preferred)
- xmpp can work in both depending on the scale (GCM uses this)
- Setup an infra that takes care of saving messages as they come/go
- Load balancing on the server to manage scale when the number of connections increase/decrease
- Id management to know which connection to use between two Id, maintaining the messaging logic
- Setup topics to manage delivering messages as well as push notes
- Database management
- Error Handling to be resilient to messages being lost and error in network
- [optional] Set up end-to-end encryption , to maintain user privacy, if not ..make sure data is not sent in plain text over the air.
- To handle all the above you have to
- Code the logic in one of the server side language. Possible contenders would be NodeJS, Erlang, etc.
- Have a cloud infrastructure , possibly Google Cloud Platform/AWS/Azure
- API Specifications based of protocol(MQTT/XMPP/SOckets) used for messaging
- Database could be NoSQL – Mongodb/Aerospike or SQL
- End-to-End encryption via the open source tech available OpenWhisper Systems
P.S : This is a simple answer , the stuff that goes on is complex and involves a lot of understanding on how to manage messages.
This post was originally published on Quora here.
With the rise in competition wherein chat and messaging is playing a vital role for various businesses it becomes imperative for every application to have an established real-time communication channel. On top, it is just matter of minutes to integrate such an awesome user-friendly functionalities/features with readily available chat and messaging SDKs like Applozic.
People are often confused between Chat, In-App Messaging, Live Chat and Push Notifications and use it interchangeably.
In-app messaging (also known as in-app communication) is the act of messaging, communicating with users through a software application, either on a mobile phone or tablet device or through software on a PC.
In-app messages can include images and text, and it is expected to gain more multimedia capabilities in the future. It often includes a call to action to take users to a certain destination within the app.
Marketers favor in-app messages over push notifications for contextual content.
Popular In-App Messaging solutions: Kommunicate, Intercom, NudgeSpot, Urbanairship, Moengage\
Live Chat is a popular term used for online chat applications designed specifically to provide online assistance to users of a website. Mostly used to provide instant help to the website visitors. Users can chat with the online live chat agents.
Popular Live Chat solutions: Kommunicate, Zopim, Olark, Smooch.io,
Live Chat example from Zopim
Push notification is a message pushed from a software application to the user’s device.
Push notification originates from the server and they only reach users who have installed the application.
Popular Push Notification solutions: Apple Push Notification Service, “Google Cloud Messaging
The new version of GCM is Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM)
If you are using push notification for marketing campaign then use it wisely.
Push Notification example
Real-time chat is any online communication that provides a real-time transmission of messages from sender to receiver.
There are a number of platforms available to let application developers include the real time chat in the mobile and web apps.
Popular Real Time chat solutions: Applozic, QuickBlox, Layer
Real Time Chat example from Applozic
We believe very soon the live chat with support agents will become outdated. Chat bots are in its nascent stage, therefore, Application to Users messaging and direct user to user chat (eg: buyer-seller, teacher-student, doctor-patient) will take over the support agent based live chat solution.
We are moving fast towards all types of communication; not restricted to one thing and with all the new creative stuff coming up every day, developers need to build scalable and reliable cross platform communication be it in the form of chat, in-app message, notifications, application to user messaging or application to application messaging with very less human interventions.
This very need led us to build Applozic which lets developers add real time communication to mobile and web apps for chat, notifications, in-app messaging, application to user and application to application messaging.
In last few months, we have seen the word “chatbot” creating a lot of buzz. You might have even heard Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Nadella speaking highly of it, this would have certainly made you think “Is it the next big thing?”. Before getting to the answer, let us understand what exactly the chatbot is all about. And, here you go: A chatbot is a simple form of artificial intelligence software, which has the ability to have conversation with a human being as a lifelike manner. The bot’s ability to respond to a situation certainly depends on how intelligently the algorithm is written by a developer. A well written algorithm in a chatbot will reduce the manual intervention to a greater extent in an application.
To have a better understanding of the chatbots, let us assume that you decide to order a pizza through a food ordering app. For doing so, you need to turn on to the app → add the type of pizza to your cart → enter your delivery address → make the payment → finally your order gets confirmed.
Now, let’s assume the same case with the help of chatbots. Here, you no longer need to undergo such a tedious process. Instead, you can place an order with single type of a message. Yes, you heard it right, just write to a chatbot about your wish of having a pizza and it will automatically fill all your details like address (with the help of GPS), make payment and complete your order instantly.
Doesn’t it sound exciting?. I am sure it does.
Infact with time you can expect the chatbot to remember your food preferences and see it use those details to order a complete personalized pizza for you. Yes, you can expect a hassle free/time saving experience as all recurring task that makes you feel tiring are minimized.
Petro Domingos, the author of The Master Algorithm, recently said “Artificial Intelligence is not so scary as it seems when it translates into artificial smartness.” As we have seen our human race evolving, so are these bots doing. With time they are expected to become more mature and proactive, right before our eyes, Thus,we can expect humans to strike an intelligent conversation with the robots.
There is no doubt about the potential of chatbots, as we could see Facebook announcing the main focus of the F8 conference 2016 would be “bots”. They said, “the major aim is to convert Facebook Messenger from a messaging app into a powerful business channel to improve the relationship with customers”.
(Image Source: http://goo.gl/N3UkNF)
Thus chat bots makes it a win-win situation for all, user,developer and marketer. Let me tell how:
- Developers will be able to create an intelligent conversational marketplaces.
- Customers will have a fast and intelligent experience on a chat
- Marketers can draft effective strategies to engage and monetize customers to deliver meaningful experiences across all channels.
Some of the interesting chat bots being used worldwide are:
- Clipdis by Kik: a chatbot which can create interesting video mashups with a phrase.
- ImageBot by Telegram – send this bot a keyword and it’ll provide you with a relevant picture.
- PollBot by Telegram – add this one to group chats to create polls.
We understand these developments would open up a great opportunity for all real time chat & messaging SDK’s (such as Applozic) as they would act like a smart assistant on mobile and website.
Also, for your reference :
(Image Source: https://goo.gl/1fgckL)
Applozic, a software-as-a-Service for complete communication solution will soon have multiple types of chat bots. Think about any type of conversation 1-to-1, 1-to-many, group chat, context based chat etc, you have it all at one place. We as a platform offer real time chat and messaging within any application, along with it we provide cross application communication, SMS and Email fallback support. On top of this, there with be a user friendly Dashboard which has rich insights and analytics.