App Development

An Extensive Guide to Messaging App Development

App Development

The need of the hour is to establish healthy routes of communications. The current situation of the market demands hierarchal solidarity in a company for it to excel. As we understand every digital need of an entrepreneur, we have made an extensive guide to messaging app development. Don’t be surprised if you find answers to all the possible questions that might have crossed your mind at one or the other point. So, let’s start with the first step in every business, market analysis.

Market Analysis- 

Have you wondered if building messaging apps have any viable scope anymore considering the number of messaging app in the market?

Just remember that there’s always room at the top! We also have data to back this up.

If we consider WhatsApp to understand the potential of the market, a mere number of users will prove how popular messenger apps are. In July 2017, one billion WhatsApp users used the app daily. In 2019, the number of WhatsApp users reached 1.5 billion.  Observed that WhatsApp users send roughly 65 billion messages.

The current scenario is such that WhatsApp caters to the users of all kinds of backgrounds.

What do these numbers indicate?

Tremendous potential. Think about this. Such applications provide a medium for expressions. Nowadays people are trying to explore the world by connecting with other humans through digital devices. We want to share our views, opinions, and talents with others and a customized messenger app further enriches the global conversation. Users have more than one messenger application on their digital devices. Your idea through a messaging app can add value to their experience. Also, with innovative ideas, you can gradually improve your app simultaneously.

But before you jump right into it, collect information and set realistic business goals because once you know what to expect from a venture, finding a way becomes easier.

Essential Functionalities- 

Real-time chat functionality help users easily connect with others. That connection depends on some core functionalities like:

  • Registration and Authorization- A user can set up and then connect his messenger profile with his social media profile. Authorization of the profile can be done through social media, mobile number or email. In a messaging app, a database cluster is responsible for storing profiles, chat history, etc. It needs to support replication and backups.
  • Contact Importing- An app that can scan the contacts and import them to a server. You can allow users to import their contacts from social media as well.
  • Instant messages- It is the core feature of any messenger app. One of many users can connect on personal or group chat on the app. Most of the messenger apps provide delivery notification of the message which helps us keep track of the message. You can give an edge to your app by adding innovative features. You can take inspiration from the ideas like messages that self-destruct after a while or even something as basic as un-sending or deleting a sent message. Make sure that you won’t ignore the basic features like enabling a group admin to add or delete members in a group chat and make other members admins as well. Telegram, for example, has a feature where a group admin can restrict the number of messages a group member can send. These features depend on the architecture of the messaging app. The later part of this post deals with the architecture and technical considerations in detail.
  • Voice and video calls- In 2015, WeChat introduced a feature where the users could make a voice and video call on the messenger. ( Nowadays we have started to take this feature for granted. Users will certainly appreciate this feature in the messenger app.
  • Multimedia sharing- GIFs and images have become a way of expression for users. Even in a formal set-up, sharing important and useful multimedia files becomes a necessity.
  • Photo and basic video editing- while sharing an image, if a user can quickly edit, crop or decorate it, he won’t have to repeatedly leave the app. WhatsApp allows its users to edit the pictures as well as altar the length of a video before sharing it.
  • Geo-location tracking can improve the user experience as a user will be able to send, share, and explore his location.  

Technical Considerations- 

  • Programming language- To strengthen your server-side implementation, you need to select the most suitable programming language. As there are many programming languages, you need to take your time and do the required research before you make the decision. The popular server-side programming languages and frameworks include PHP, ASP.NET, Java, Ruby, Perl, and Python. To respond to client requests via HTTP, these scripts run on a web server. That is how these programming scripts deliver dynamic content to the user.
  • Storing data- Every messenger app has to store chats at regular intervals and there are two ways to do it. The chat history can be stored in the cloud or on a user’s mobile devices. Telegram stores chat history in the cloud. In the cloud, the messages are available even when a user changes a device. The only problem with the cloud is the extra expense on your side. On the other hand, if the chat history is stored on a user’s digital device, though it occupies the storage, no extra expenses are required. In the architecture of a messaging app, file storage, a database cluster, a key-value cache cluster, and a time-series database are used for storing different kinds of information to ensure a properly functioning app.
  • Communication Protocols- It’s one of the basic considerations in the process of app development. A set of rules is included in communication protocols that allow two or more devices to exchange data in real-time. The flow of messages depends on these rules. You can consider protocols like Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol which is also used by the messenger app WhatsApp. This fully decentralized protocol makes WhatsApp secure. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) or WebSockets can also be used for security.
  • Security- TLS/SSL protocols for client-server connections can enhance security by providing data integrity. A robust back end support is required for a messenger app as it has to process and store a lot of data. It is possible to add an extra layer of security by two-factor authentication and by assigning pin certificated to digital devices. A private network for infrastructure deployment and private file object storage for each chat ensures safety and security. WhatsApp’s partnership with the Open Whispers system resulted in an end-to-end encryption system that secures the communication happening inside the app. While WhatsApp uses the third-part provider, Telegram has created its in-house encryption protocol. Every week or after users have sent a certain number of messages, cryptographic keys are changed. This means that even if one message is intercepted, other messages still stay safe. A single message cannot be used to decrypt all the messages.
  • Architectural Patterns- the server-side software architecture promptly delivers messages and supports message synchronization across multiple devices.  

App Development-

Starting from the questions like whether you want to build a react native or cross-platform app to designing UX/UI for your app, the process will demand perseverance and dedication on your part. App development is an on-going process. Even if you follow your vision and add all the functionalities as per the plan, you will have to keep working to make it better in the future. We all know the fascinating rate at which technology is evolving. Then it won’t be surprising to see more updates in a shorter period. For example, natural language processing is already possible in the current time. When Google’s API recognizes 120 languages and dialects, Cognitive Services from Microsoft Azure claim to excel at translations.

Apart from this, you require a marketing strategy that will highlight your app’s specialty and target the right set of audience. Once the app is launched, you can get feedback from the users and eventually make improvements if required.

In the end, with the help of detailed market analysis, you can transform your vision into your reality. As we have seen, there are many things to consider and choices to make. So, understand the process and then move forward one step at a time. Your innovative ideas will help you build a unique messaging app. All you need to do is learn from the best but think out of the box. Rather than being intimidated by the apps that already exist in the market, be inspired by their success because you need courage and clarity of thoughts to help the world connect better. For more info:


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