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03 November, 2020

Developing a Chat Using Twilio

Creating a chat sounds quite like a challenge because it’s a complex structure with constant real-time updates. It can be hard to believe that such a complex task can have a ready-made solution. Well, here we have Twilio.

Chats have long been a part of our lives and without them, our daily routine seems almost impossible. We use them for work, to communicate with family and friends, and even with people on the other side of the world. As more and more chat platforms appear, so do new ideas on how to make them more interesting. 

Everyone who has ever come up with their own chat idea has probably thought about whether or not there is some kind of universal way to create them. Our answer to that is yes, definitely. And it is called Twilio Programmable Chat.

Twilio in a nutshell

We would like to start by mentioning what Twilio is in general. Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service (CPaaS) company. This is a great solution if you need to implement the ability to exchange text messages and files inside the app, make voice and video calls, send or receive verification codes, and create various chatbots.

For a long time, our team has been working with Twilio very closely, as they are recognized leaders in their field, helping us and our clients develop not only chats but many other projects as well. As a bonus, we were certified by Twilio as its bronze partner.

What exactly helps our team build chats

Our team has extensive experience in working with Twilio. This includes Twilio Programmable Chat, Twilio Programmable Voice, Video, Studio, and more. Of all these products, we are going to highlight Twilio Programmable Chat, because this is what we work with most.

Twilio Programmable Chat contains a lot of features that are necessary for the functioning of any good chat, and they are very easy to set up. They include, for example, displaying information about a person’s online status, typing a message, push notifications, and message history. Also, thanks to Twilio Programmable Chat, you can configure the deferred message function, when a person chooses the time when the message will be delivered to the recipient. This is a particularly good feature, and it’s still not available in every messenger and chat platform.

We would also like to highlight their documentation, which is very easy and convenient to work with and almost anyone can understand it.

Overall, Twilio Programmable Chat contains solutions for any occasion and helps you create a chat the way you imagined it. From the simplest chats with a minimal set of features to chats with the widest functionality that even the strictest critic can appreciate.

What you can create with Twilio Programmable Chat

With our extensive experience, we can say that we have used this tool to the maximum. In particular, the online presence indicator, which shows whether the participants in the conversation are online or offline now, and also provides an opportunity to find out when the participant was last in the chat. We used the typing indicator, as well as the read status.

We should also note the ease of integrating calls video and audio calls inside the chats. Twilio really has a lot of ready-made solutions for this, so in working with it, even the simplest chat can be equipped with the ability to make calls.

Our team didn’t ignore the push notifications from Twilio, but here we would like to note that this function was not as flexible as we would have liked it to be. For example, these push notifications are more than enough if you have a classic messenger with regular text messages, and if you send audio, video, or documents. 

However, in the case of notifications about any money transfers or more complex operations inside the chat, they are not possible to be configured using Twilio, since it has limited options for customizing push notifications.

We used the Twilio SDK, which is updated quite often and is constantly getting better and better. Server-side SDKs make it easy for you to use Twilio's REST APIs, generate TwiML, and do other common server-side programming tasks. These helper libraries are available in a variety of popular server-side programming languages.

Why is Twilio cool to use for chats

Thanks to the simple documentation, you can immediately start creating your own chat... even though the chat itself is a very complex structure with a very large number of updates in real-time. Twilio handles this just fine, allowing you to continue to work in real-time.

We would also like to acknowledge Twilio’s support team. Difficulties can arise even on the simplest projects, and the faster and better a person can handle them, the higher their loyalty to the service and the faster they can move forward in working on the chat. Their team answers your question within two days maximum. 

Based on the experience of our clients and our team, Twilio is definitely one of the most optimal platforms for working on chats.

To sum it up

Fortunately, progress never stands still, and even small things like chats can and should be improved. It all started with sending text messages to each other, then it became possible to exchange various files. After that was not enough, in came the ability to create group chats, and a little later, calls within these chats. 

No matter how many features have already been invented, new ideas still come and they also need to be implemented. It is much easier and more enjoyable to do this when you don't have to put a lot of effort into the execution and you can focus on the idea itself. Thanks to tools like Twilio Programmable Chat, this is possible. It’s also very gratifying that along with the development of chats, the platform is also developing, so we can use chats every day.

Related article:

Step-by-Step Guide on Custom Mobile Chat Application Development

How to Create a Chatting Website: Important Features and Design Tips


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