real-time chat app development

How to build a Real-time Chat Application

Since first-generation consumer messaging applications like AIM were introduced in the ’90s, chat has consolidated its position as a critical communication tool. Users prefer to chat or instant messaging applications in various circumstances over traditional communication methods. The asynchronous chat structure removes the urgency and pressure of a phone conversation, but it seems quicker, faster, and less professional than email.

Many large companies dominate consumer chat applications, yet continuously developing technology and consumers’ demands can acquire market share for new chat and messaging services. With WhatsApp, not every new chat software needs to head over — there are many possibilities for specialized messaging apps that serve certain user groups or enable communications across sectors as varied as gaming, e-commerce, and healthcare.

How to Make a Chat App

The most excellent messaging applications are so seamless and easy that users don’t notice specific features. Whereas other applications have numerous pages and menus, excellent chat apps expose a keyboard below a messaging window, making each function seem integrated.

Features of Chat Apps

  • Regardless of intended usage, the following chat capabilities are required to enable essential communications.
  • Sign-up and user authentication.
  • Editing message text using the keyboard.
  • Conversation window with sent and received messages separated and chronologically organized.
  • Contact list with simple import and edit functionality.
  • Send and package a message.
  • Receiving, interpreting, and displaying data.
  • Notifications, unread message counts, and read/unread message statuses.
  • Past message storage.
  • User presence signal (available, away, offline, time last active).

Check: social media app development services

Steps to Create a Chat App

Since you are ready to write the code for your chat application, having the construction process laid out chronologically may assist prevent missing components or dependencies that could create issues later. While the specifics of this procedure may vary based on your chosen technical approach, the overall flow should be constant.

  • Setup a Directory & Dependencies

The first step in developing a chat client is to establish a directory and install the necessary components. Install Node and set up your project if you are using JavaScript and Node.

  • Create the Front-End Chat Client

This may be as basic or complicated as you like. If your SDK solution includes a chat UI kit, you may save time by modifying or utilizing pre-built components. Depending on your use case, you may want to start from scratch.

Front-end components include a basic login page, a chat screen where users may modify, send, and receive messages, and a contact list.

Other UI elements like a navigation menu may be required if your app is more sophisticated than iMessage.

  • Build/Connect the Back End (Chat Server)

The chat server handles message routing and other back-end operations that are not kept locally on the user’s device. Moreover, you may use Golang, Python, Node (JavaScript), Ruby, Dart, PHP, or.NET to communicate with the Stream Chat API.

Create your user list (contacts), start a channel, add new messages to the channel, and show both old and new messages. 

  • Based on User Feedback, prioritize feature expansion.

You should now have a working MVP chat app. You may already know which advanced features would be required and may start integrating them. Moreover, the goal thing is to understand how your users engage with your software. Then you can safely prioritize your dev resources to build out the things that matter most to your expanding community of users.

Monetization & Marketing Strategy for Chat Apps

The market for general-purpose chat applications is heavily crowded. Leading applications like WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger have large technical teams that have built comprehensive feature sets over the years.  Moreover, it is not easy to compete with them, but it is feasible with proper market research and product distinction.

For your chat app to succeed, you must first discover and thoroughly understand a particular consumer issue, then ensure that your app addresses that problem. Innovating chat applications for stockbrokers and bankers may connect with financial tools, while telemedicine apps may go beyond standard chat apps to ensure that their information is safe and private.

The current chat giants’ norms also determine which monetization methods may work. Since most leaders are free, a premium membership model may deter adoption.

Real-time Chat App Development Costs

The size of your team and its members’ skills, your app’s objectives and intended feature set, scalability and infrastructure expenses, and post-launch maintenance and enhancement work will all affect your estimate. Bugs, scalability problems, and other surprises are part of software development and should be included in your cost estimate.

A competent technical team can build an MVP chat application in three months for $35,000-$100,000. Cross-platform development, sophisticated feature needs, and scalability may rapidly add time and expense to a project.

Final Thoughts 

This guide’s complex technical problems may be eased by incorporating pre-built chat technologies into your bespoke application. A chat API and SDK solution minimizes technical risk and improves the likelihood of a timely and cost-effective app launch.

Looking for real-time chat app development? Contact us and get free quotation today!


Written by:

Muzammil K

Muzammil K is the Marketing Manager at Aalpha Information Systems, where he leads marketing efforts to drive business growth. With a passion for marketing strategy and a commitment to results, he's dedicated to helping the company succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Muzammil K is the Marketing Manager at Aalpha Information Systems, where he leads marketing efforts to drive business growth. With a passion for marketing strategy and a commitment to results, he's dedicated to helping the company succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape.