How To Develop A Chat App Like Whatsapp

Dmytro Brovkin
Nov 24, 2017 · 8 min read
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When was the last time you used your phone to send an app? It’s been found that 97% of the world’s population has sent a text at least once in their life, with the average person sending up to 14 texts a day, straight from their phones or through a chat application like Whatsapp.

A further 75% of the mobile users prefer instant messaging apps for communication over more traditional modes of communication, such as email. So it’s no dramatization to say that instant chat based messaging has indeed, taken over the industry, and is only set to increase. As of 2016, Whatsapp currently boasts a user base of 1,2 billion, making it the most popular messaging application in the world next to Facebook IM and WeChat.

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Real time instant messaging applications are distinguished by their real time delivery of messages and multimedia between two users, and its of no surprise and investors and developers seek to replicate Whatsapp’s success in their own chat apps. In that spirit, this article will outline the main ways you can equip yourself to successfully create a chat app for iOS or Android, and see your app succeed on the market.

Ideal Features in a Chat App

Whatsapp, at its core, is a messaging service built for smartphones, relying on internet connection or mobile phone data. Cheaper than service provided SMS services, some chat apps operate on low cost subscription models but the most of them are free. Each successful real time chat app has salient features to draw in new users, and it’s this good functionality that rests at the core of a successful chat app.

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The number of features your app will host further dictate the cost of your app’s development. Take a good look at the features that make Whatsapp so wildly successful:

Technologies that make Real Time Chat Possible

The two main types of connections used in chat apps are HTTP + Push Notifications and Extensive Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) protocols. HTTP + Push Notifications are used more for file sharing apps like Instagram, whereby when you leave a comment the user receives a push-notification, and when the app is reopened it then connects to the app’s server, but it’s a good idea to have a push notifications default built into your app so users are able to receive notifications of new messages.

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Potential technologies

Erlang: This is the main programming language on which the massively popular chat apps Whatsapp and WeChat are built from. It’s a general purpose, garbage collector program that enables instant messaging apps to be so useful and intuitive to their users needs. Your server can be built from Erlang, but PHP and Java are also good alternative options.

YAWS: Manage your multimedia with YAWS, a high-performance web server developed for apps with high loads of dynamic content streaming in and out.

Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol Servers: Having an XMPP server eliminates the need for multiple client servers for information exchange, allowing the app to scan the user’s contact book to built a contact list useable within your app. It’s the standardized form of Jabber, an open standard based protocol that’s been used to create Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Whatsapp, and the rest.

Mnesia DB: This is the database that will allow you to store messages, files, images, documents, and the rest of the multimedia files that will be running through your app. It’s vital to have a database like this, and Mnesia DB goes above and beyond your need by being able to store any amount of data, just the type of technology you’ll need to create and maintain your chat app.

Development and Cost

The big tasks that go into building chat app include backend development, frontend and web app, design, native platforms, and quality assurance.
Having thus listened essential chat app features, the approximate starting costs for Chat App development is can range from anywhere between $30,000 to $55,000, to up to $120,000. These costs are dependent on your team’s hourly rates.

The process of building the app itself can take up to 1400 hours by a team of experienced developers (integrating a messaging functionality can take up to 150 man hours on its own, and multimedia transmission taking a bare minimum of 100 hours, for example).

The hours and associated costs of your chat app will be dependent on the inclusivity of your apps features, including user registration, address book information and integration, message exchanging and message notification, multimedia tile transmissions, group chat features, location sharing, user status/profile, the ability to search users and chats, as well as the ability to host video calling.

Conclusion

These are some of the specifics you’ll need to develop a WhatsApp like Chat App. Whatsapp may run the market but there’s still space for your chat app to thrive, once you understand what particular feature your app hosts that Whatsapp doesn’t. That difference is what will make your app stand out from the rest and hook people onto using your app.

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From the bottom up, the process may seem complicated, especially if you lack the high tech skill required to architect, develop, and maintain your app on front end platforms. You’ll want a team that explores all possibilities, and leaves no stone unturned for your business and development needs; a team that helps to investigates all your business needs and future aspirations to enable your app to bloom into its fullest potential.

Take a look at our website to draw inspiration from our previous projects, and feel free to contact us if you need an instant chat app developed. You want a company with the experience and capacity to build apps for both iOS and Android platforms. We can provide you with free consultations and investigations on a solution according to your needs and budgets.

This article was originally published on the Octodev Blog.

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Dmytro Brovkin

Written by

Mobile Expert and Co-founder of octodev.net, dmitriy.brovkin@octodev.net

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +718K people. Follow to join our community.

Dmytro Brovkin

Written by

Mobile Expert and Co-founder of octodev.net, dmitriy.brovkin@octodev.net

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +718K people. Follow to join our community.

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