WhatsApp is the most sought after messaging application that has revolutionized the messaging app market. Several attempts have been made in vain to clone WhatsApp as a chat app, but none of them yielded the result. Despite introducing similar functionalities, no chat app has ever been able to topple WhatsApp’s supremacy as a chat app.
In order to build a WhatsApp like chat application, one should have a detailed understanding of its functioning mechanism and technicalities.
How Whatsapp Messaging App is Working Technically?
WhatsApp uses Ejabberd (XMPP) server which facilitates instant message transfer between two or many users on a real-time basis. High reliability and sustainability even under peak traffic the reason why WhatsApp developers chose Ejabberd above anything else.
ERLANG is the programming language used to code WhatsApp. Code restructuring and some important changes were made to the Ejabberd server to achieve optimal server performance.
Further, Erlang is agile to adapting to instant updates and hot fixes. This is what helps WhatsApp to quickly push the changes to live implementation without requiring restarts.
1. Insights on data transfer in WhatsApp
WhatsApp manages over 50 billion messages a day. The key to smooth data processing lies with the message queue length. The length of the message queue of all the processes associated with a node is monitored.
In case of multimedia messages, contents (audio, video, or image) are uploaded into a HTTP server and are linked with the content and then sent to the receiving node (receiver) in the form of a thumbnail. Based on the user’s preference the content can either be viewed or discarded.
2. Protocol used by WhatsApp
The primary protocol in use is XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol).DSL ensures network security and also helps in preventing private data transfer.
As and when message is sent, it is queued on the server. The message waits in the queue until the recipient reconnects to receive the message. As and when a message is delivered the sender gets notified by a double check mark near the message. After the delivery the messages are instantly deleted from the server memory.
This instant deletion from server memory helps WhatsApp keep its resources to a bare minimum.
Additionally, Whatsapp uses HTML5 WebSockets which communication technology which facilitates two-way communication.
3. Registration process of WhatsApp
Users can register for WhatsApp by entering their mobile number. On entering the number, the user will be sent a OTP which once verified by the device will initiate the user to the chat screen.
4. Database management
Mnesia DB handles the heavy-duty task of database management. Mnesia is a multiuser distributed DBMS which also happens to be the default DB of ERLANG. Mnesia helps achieve quicker request responses, thereby improving the overall efficiency.
FreeBSD is the OS upon which WhatsApp is built. Improvising on the ERLANG based applications and optimizing FreeBSD, WhatsApp is able to achieve better performance. For storing multimedia files, the app uses an exclusive web server YAWS.
5. End-to-end encryption
Whatsapp’s end-to-end encryption ensures rocks-solid for safety of text & multimedia content. When you send messages, you phone does the encryption and send it to Whatsapp server. The server gets the replies from the receiver’s end, encrypts it and sends to your smartphone. Now, your phone decrypts the messages and displays it.
6. Audio & Video Calls
WhatsApp uses highly equipped headway technology rather than WebRTC. The Opus/SILK audio codec 16khz with 20 kbps bitrate and NAT (Network Address Translation) techniques are used to enable audio calling. The STUN server and Peer to Peer connection are the key elements included to boost and maintain authentication to the users.
7. Location Sharing
WhatsApp integrates Google Maps Android API and Google Places API. This API is used for location sharing among the users. WhatsApp is enhanced according to their multiple needs.
8. Payment Module
UPI – Unified Payment Interface is one of the payment modules which is more secure, user-friendly and allows instant payment.
VPA – Virtual Payment Address will use the email address which is registered in the particular bank account that can be shared publicly instead of a bank account number and IFSC code.
MPIN – Mobile banking Personal Identification Number is a 4-6 digit security code used to authenticate all types of money transferred via UPI
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Build a Whatsapp like Messaging App with Contus Fly
Having discussed the technicalities of WhatsApp it is time to shift gears over analyzing the possibilities of creating a whatsApp alternative. There are plenty of messaging applications in the market that appear to be perfect WhatsApp clones. The reality is many of the attempts of building WhatsApp like apps are failing because they do not follow the technical aspects.
Well, if we take such apps as an example, it might be quite difficult to understand as they are completely built products. Instead a ready made solution that can help in creating a WhatsApp clone app would be a better learning material.
Contus Fly is a framework that catalyses the build of an instant messaging application. Contus Fly can be used to develop WhatsApp clone app for Android, iOS and Windows platforms as it has the SDK ready for these widely preferred mobile operating systems. Since native coding has been used by Contus Fly to achieve better speed, it can be handy in developing a WhatsApp like native app.
Framework & Architecture of Contus Fly
Ejabberd, the open source Jabber server has been customized by Contus Fly to improve operational efficiency. The XMPP protocol has also been customized to speedup signing in and re-signing in sessions. To protect the app from DDOS attacks and to prevent account spoofing, this mobile chat application has been encrypted with HMAC.
Mnesia and MySQL
For data storing, Contus Fly makes use of both Mnesia and MySQL. While Mnesia is used to maintain user login sessions, MySQL contributes in maintaining the user details, right from account credentials to other personal data.
Chat logs are a key for instant messaging applications. In order to save chat history between several nodes, Contus Fly has deployed . This database offers a good read write speed thus helping users to retrieve chat logs as and when they need.
Amazon S3 bucket
Multimedia messages including audio, image, video are saved in Amazon S3 bucket. Registration for the app usage can be done in multiple ways including mobile number, email, user name password and social login.
As and when a user triggers a message, the chat app SDK sends a request to the Ejabbered server. In return the server checks for the availability of the recipient and if available, the delivery request is sent to the recipients SDK and then delivered. If the recipient is offline, the data is stored in the Ejabbered as message will be queued in the server.
Contus Fly Features
- Group Chat
- Offline Messages
- Push Notifications
- Social Integrations
- Sync and Store
- Voice Calling
- Video Calling Integration
- Multimedia Sharing
- Easy Screen Sharing
- Fully Searchable
Contus Fly – A Premium Solution to Create Real Time Chat & IM Apps
- 100% Customizable Solutions
- Multi Platforms Supports
- Authenticates using Social Networks
How much does it cost to build mobile chat app like whatsapp?
“Cost of making an app like whatsapp” is a very broad term to estimate the cost of it. So how much does it actually cost to build an app like whatsapp? While messaging apps can either be built from scratch or be developed upon a source code, every individual message app being designed might cost a different price accordingly.
Some want it monetized, while others don’t. The instant messaging apps created with the motive to be monetized demands to be studded with a bunch of additional features such as Voice Over IP (VOIP) technology, user customizing options, chat security and a fancy figured fund for maintenance. In-app messaging services call for a different set of requirements to meet its needs, thus costing in different terms.
The number of users the app anticipates to have plays a major role in determining the server load. ejabberd is the most commonly used application server storing its database in Mnesia DB. Whatsapp like native apps has a lot of possibilities to outflow the number of users that could be banked by Mnesia DB. Such additional data requires to be stored in outsourced cloud storage like Amazon cloud services.