How to Create a WhatsApp Clone App?
Are you brainstorming on how to build an outstanding project? Do you have an idea for the next billion-dollar messaging app? Perhaps you are considering creating a WhatsApp clone app? You are on the right place and this article will explain how to develop WhatsApp social messaging app clone.
Well, it’s possible to build a robust messaging app like Whatsapp, but you need to follow tried and tested strategies that guarantee success.
How Do you Create a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?
Data from SimilarWeb, an analytics and market intelligence company, shows that apps in the messaging category have the highest number of downloads in over 180 countries. Apptopia ranked Whatsapp as 2nd most downloaded apps of 2020.
A 2020 survey by Statista also showed WhatsApp was installed 600 million times globally and it’s used by about 2 billion peopleuse every month. The statistics authority website forecasts that this number will continue to increase. This means that a third of the global population will be using IM apps by then. Although there are myriads of messaging platforms that compete in the market, WhatsApp is the dominant IM app with more than 2 billion users.
Almost all smartphone users have a messaging app installed on their phones. Although there are myriads of messaging apps out there, new ones are still getting launched on the app store all the time. The reason is simple; the market is massive. You too can cash in on the instant messaging app craze by building an app like WhatsApp.
This article walks you through a step-by-step procedure of creating a chat application like WhatsApp. To achieve this objective, we shall provide a WhatsApp clone template to help you understand how the app works.
Want to know how to make an app like WhatsApp? Continue reading to learn more about how to create a WhatsApp clone app.
- 1 How to create a WhatsApp Clone?
- 2 What are the WhatsApp Features to Consider?
- 3 How to code a chat application from scratch?
- 4 The Architecture of a WhatsApp Clone Application
- 5 Privacy and Security
- 6 What are the differences between iOS and Android?
- 7 How much cost to create a clone WhatsApp app?
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 What are WhatsApp features?
- 10 What are the most used messaging apps?
How to create a WhatsApp Clone?
When instant messaging applications emerged at the turn of the century, they either took the form of chatrooms like Yahoo Messenger or VoiceOverIP programs like Skype.
Over the years, developers unified calls and chat into a single app and added more features. WhatsApp introduced the video call feature into its app, and the instant messaging (IM) industry suddenly came alive with many other novel features.
IM apps start adding features like API for messaging, masks, bots, status updates, payment integration, public chat channels, and many others. However, platforms with massive users find it challenging to add novel features or make significant changes in their structure. For instance, major players such as Whatapp did not include API or chatbot in their platform. Today instant messaging users have access to multiple app options, each having compelling features that attract its userbase.
Since the IM industry is competitive, it is essential to build an app in a way that makes it easy to add new features in the future. That is why the development architecture plays a critical role while building a Whatsapp clone on Android and iOS platforms.
The app design concept should go beyond merely creating the required app features. It should be designed to accommodate innovations when the need arises, so the developer can add novel features in other apps when the need arises.
How to build a WhatsApp clone? Keep reading to know more.
What are the WhatsApp Features to Consider?
More often than not, messaging apps end up performing other functions besides those intended by the developers. If you take a closer look at a messaging application like WhatsApp, you will appreciate the additional functions that enhance its simplicity and usability.
Here are a few of them:
- Messaging status such as pending, sent, delivered, and read.
- Copying and pasting messages on the chat app interface.
- Repaying audio messages, quoting messages, starting a thread, forwarding messages,
- Deleting messages from chat history, either locally or at the recipient end, as well.
- Sending of stickers and emojis
- Searching message history
- Deleting dialogues
- Storage of conversation locally
- Disable /enable notification for messages.
- Using an in-built editor to enhance images before sending,
- Sending and opening file attachments,
- Compression of attachments before sending to reduce the file size
- Importing contacts from the address book into messages
- Sending geolocation to signal your location
- Reading of QR codes
- Other features: WhatsApp Account, WhatsApp Web, Voice Call
Many of these functions are mere basics in a modern messaging app. Other apps include features like payment integration with booking services, ticketing, hotel reservations, payment of bills, subscription services, and many more.
To create a messaging app, you must first determine the exact requirements and functions that the messenger app needs. This method gives you the full picture of the tasks ahead before facing them headlong.
Keep reading to know how to make clone WhatsApp.
How to code a chat application from scratch?
The tutorial below is designed to show developers how to make a simple chat app.
- Initial Setup
- Client Side Setup
- Messages Layout
- Saving Messages
- Adding Layouts
- Model Class
- List of Adapters
- Receiving messages
- Live queries
The Architecture of a WhatsApp Clone Application
The paragraphs below will explain the best architecture to use while attempting to build a WhatsApp-like application.
Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication
When designing a chatting app that will have multiple users logged in and using the platform concurrently, the focus must be on providing speed and an outstanding user experience. That is why the app architecture is critical to designing a successful app.
Keep your data structures simple, store only what is necessary, and only when needed. This approach to app design results in faster calls, faster responses, and overall perception of a very fast, responsive app.
In this context, it is best to store messages in an elementary class, which can be integrated into other complex functions such as support for image files, video files, audio files, geographic location, and more.
You should bear in mind that over 80%-90% of your general traffic will be text messages, only 10%-20% will be complex messages. Therefore, optimizing your architecture for the dominant data type will save a lot of traffic, storage, and time.
With that in mind, one of the worst hindrances of speed in data communication is over-querying. Over-querying is the process of retrieving more data than you need when replying to a query.
For instance, if you need to show the user’s name and photo. But you retrieve extra data, you have just over-queried and transmitted more data than required. By the way, this additional data could be age, address, or other content of the user profile. This little flaw results in a delay in app response and a significant increase in costs of data transmission.
That is exactly why optimizing your queries is critical to your app development project. A technology like GraphQL can greatly improve query efficiency and also makes app maintenance easier.
Take a look at these GraphQL queries for example:
- The first one retrieved only the user’s name and photo.
- The second one retrieved the full user’s data.
One of the excellent features of this query is that it needs just a single class to query any specific data you need in the runtime. This approach avoids over-querying, making your app much faster and responsive while keeping your data transfer costs minimal
In summary, the best approach is to optimize classes for messaging, keep its structure clean, and use technologies such as GraphQL to avoid over-querying.
Flexibility, scalability, and testability
One of the critical aspects of messaging application development is making the app scalable, testable, and flexible In this respect, it is expedient to segment the system architecture into autonomous layers.
After that, the business logic, presentation, and data objects should be designed such that changing one will not undermine the function of the others. The goal is to create a foundation for scalability; both the code and infrastructure should be easily scalable.
The use of Backend as a Service (BaaS) platforms is beneficial for supporting scalability. Outsourcing server-side architecture to a third party will simplify the app development and remove the hassles of running and maintaining servers. To know more about how a BaaS can help you scale your app, please read the article below:
More often than not, developers of chat applications try to use a popular programming language for the development platform. Unfortunately, they eventually realize that the language, platform, or services and libraries do not align with the demands of the application.
That is why it is essential to first consider the benefits and demerits of any language to be used for development purposes. The best approach is to use the platform that is most adaptable for building an effective system. Going after the trending programming language or platform is a wrong approach.
Handling heavy leads and scaling userbase
One of the vital aspects of building a Whatsapp-like app is creating the architecture and tweaking the business logic to align with it. Unfortunately, chat platforms built with this approach crumble under heavy load.
The best method is to establish the business logic of the whole system and build an architecture that works with it. This approach makes it easy to add new features and also expedites the project cycle. That is how to build a robust system that will not degrade in performance under heavy load.
It is crucial to be mindful of the needs of various users around the world. For instance, the speed of internet connectivity varies extensively in various locations around the world.
Some users might need to work without internet connectivity, while some may have very slow connectivity. The user device may switch from WiFi to mobile connectivity and roam from one base station to another. However, the user is not concerned about all the technical hassles.
All the user wants is to use the app to send and receive messages, get notifications, and receive messages automatically when the connection is restored.
Therefore, it is vital to adjust the software platform to perform optimally whether there is internet access or not, whether the connectivity is excellent or poor. You should take the time to test issues relating to reconnection and access to data while working in offline mode.
WhatsApp Clone: Make sure you focus on UI and UX
The application interface should not be complicated. The user does not have to read using a tutorial or tooltip before using the features of the chat program.
The user interface of a messaging app should be straightforward; just select the user and start chatting! In this respect, the best approach to enhancing design simplicity is to adopt an all-inclusive native design, principle, and technology.
The result will be a predictable user interface and a convenient user experience. By showing familiar elements to the user, they start using all features intuitively without asking questions.
The following are crucial things to consider while working on the user interface of the chat application:
- Empty States
Create empty states of different sections of the app where there is no activity yet. Make sure the user understands the appropriate action to take.
- User Feedback
Create a user-feedback mechanism: Some features in an instant messaging app will not take place instantaneously. For example, when a user is downloading files, there will be a time lag before the download completes. It is vital to keep the user informed about the activity taking place before it finishes.
- Application Testing
Do extensive application testing: Since the messaging application is used all the time, chances are high that the app will be used in unpredictable conditions. That is why you should carry out the app testing under all imaginable conditions. Let the user be at the center of your testing and focus on solving the challenges that may arise under different conditions.
For instance, you can alert the mobile user regarding data usage while sending large files on the mobile internet. These small features are important to the user and may inspire them to stick with your app for messaging.
- Display all errors when they occur:
Do not leave the user wondering what happened to the app. Display all errors on the application interface as they occur. For instance, when the internet connection is lost, display a warning so users can realize why messages are not sent.
It is also essential not to disable user actions because of an error. In a scenario where the connection is lost, you may still allow the user to send messages and queue them up for delivery when the connection is restored.
Put yourself in the shoes of the application user and think about what you can do to make life easier for your application users.For instance, features like search, access to history, downloaded pictures, videos, etc. are all important.
- Audio Messages
A replay of audio messages is an important feature that your application users will love. Moreover, the user should be able to listen to their audio messages before and after sending them.
When the need arises, the user should be able to rectify errors and delete messages. It is essential to make extensive fine-tuning of all these features and many other aspects of the application to launch a successful mobile messaging app.
Privacy and Security
Make sure your app meets all legal requirements relating to privacy and security! The most common examples are the European GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation, the US HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Brazilian LGPD – Lei Geral de Protecao de Dados, and others.
For example, the General Data Protection Regulation is meant to fundamentally reshape how personal data are collected and processed. The legislation gives all individuals living in the European Union (or the greater European Economic Area) new rights to access and control their data on the Internet.
If your app will process data from EU citizens, make sure you comply with GDPR requirements. GDPR privacy requirements are pretty complex, and the implementation will demand a lot of engineering effort. However, a BaaS – Backend as a Service can help simplify compliance procedures.
Outsourcing this implementation to the backend as a service company makes a lot of sense, especially for small to medium projects. To know more about how a BaaS can help you with GDPR, please read the page below: BaaS GDPR
It is vital to dedicate resources to establish top-notch app security. Right now, the processes of scanning, acquiring, and reading unencrypted data on a network are common knowledge available on the internet. App security flaws put your reputation and the private communication of your app users at risk.
To build a secure WhatsApp clone app, your development team must safeguard the privacy of user data, ensuring that it is safe from hackers. Communication between the users of the messaging platform must also be encrypted with SSL.
In some cases, embracing complete user anonymity is also essential. Your platform can decide not to store any user-identifiable information such as phone numbers.
The procedure for implementing these security features is easier said than done. For instance, there ought to be a means of identification (e.g., phone number, email, name, etc.) so the user can know the person that is chatting from the other end.
To avoid this bottleneck, the developer can choose to use a one-time cipher available for everyone and usable only once. A workaround is a public chat that can allow the organizer to create a one-time “key” and use it to invite participants.
Many features can be designed to improve the security and privacy of the users of your chat platform. Think about innovative ways to block the present loopholes in existing apps. For instance, what is the use of encrypted messages when the user can take the screenshot and share it? What about encrypted notifications that display on top of a locked screen? Some recent innovative security features include self-destructive messages that only display for a predefined period.
Although these security innovations are countless, you can simply implement the important ones immediately. Additionalsecurity features can be added to the app based on user feedback.
What are the differences between iOS and Android?
Here we will explain how to develop a WhatsApp clone iOS and Android.
If you take a closer look, you will realize that some features such as Emoji are different between the Android and iOS versions of the same app. This is because iOS has a standard keyboard in place for users of Apple devices, while Android has not standardized its keyboard yet.
That is why you need to add a new button to the interface of the client app to house stickers and Emoji. Indeed, Emojicompatibility is just one out of the many differences between the two platforms. For instance, video recording and playback on the two platforms use different codecs.
A video recorded on Android may not play on iOS devices if it is not converted. The workaround is that the chat server changes the format of the video so it can work for both platforms.
How much cost to create a clone WhatsApp app?
The cost of building a Whatsapp clone varies depending on the features you will demand and your development provider’s hourly rate. In the USA, the hourly rate in most cases will cost more than $100. But you can find more cost-efficient rates by using offshore developers for your project. In any case, you can build a WhatsApp-like app with a budget of $50,000- $60,000.
The article How Much Does It Cost to Create An App Like WhatsApp provides granular information about this topic, and it’s worth reading.
The procedure of developing a messaging application is complicated, only experienced developers should delve into WhatsApp app development.
WhatsApp-like apps should be tested extensively using multiple yardsticks and client environment scenarios. Chat applications are complex. Therefore, developers should choose the right tools right from the onset to enhance the success of the chat application project. Taking this route enhances scalability without degrading the app performance or undermining featureupgrades.
Want to know more about app development? Please read the article How to create an app and make money.
What are WhatsApp features?
These are the most important features to consider on your WhatsApp clone application.
– Message status
– Copy and Paste messages
– Audio messages
– Quote messages
– Starting a thread
– Forward messages
– Delete messages
– Send stickers / emojis
– Search message history
– Send file attachments,
– Import contacts
– Send geolocation
What are the most used messaging apps?
– Facebook Messenger