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Android Chat App Tutorial: Building A Real-time Messaging App

Published On May 9th, 2024 10828Communication
Explore Android Chat API

Are you interested in building your messaging app for Android? Facing confusion with technical scenarios revolving around! No worries! I will get you everything you need—the coolest and simplest approach you ever need.

Here, I have a complete blueprint for you to build a chat app for Android devices with a detailed tutorial. So, with no delay, let’s have a walk-through of the entire development journey, starting from features to the tech stacks. Let’s explore!

Table of Contents

Key Features of an Android Chat App 

If you have ever thought of doing market research, you can find many real-time chat apps with a list of various features, and of course, some of them may stand out too.

But, do you know that every Android chat system will have certain ground-level key features to build an app’s foundation? If not, let’s have a look and learn about some here

One-to-one Private Chat

It enables the user to get connected with another specific user instantly.

Group Chat

Get the user to create a private or public group of like-minded people worldwide to have a real-time conversation.

Video & Conferencing Calling

It allows the user to make peer-to-peer HD video calls across multiple platforms. In addition, users can also connect with up to 5 users at once via group or video conference calling and have uninterrupted interaction with crystal-clear quality.

 
Build Your Own Android Chat App with World-class Features!

Voice & Conferencing Calling

Users can make calls instantly and get connected with other users across the world. If needed, call voice conference calls and connect with multiple users at once.

Data Transfer

Let the user share their data, including voice/video files, documents, GIF files, images, etc., with another user, either privately or publicly.

Video/Voice Call Recording

Get the user to record each and every conversation that took place during the video/voice calling session. The user can later compose these recordings with the required edits and store them in the cloud for future reference.

Tabbed Text Messages

You can alter any number of chats; i.e., if needed, you can combine multiple text messages into a single one.

Animated GIF files

It allows you to have more interactive and meaningful conversations with an open option of reactions, emojis, and animated GIFs.

Language Translation

Let the user translate their conversation into any language of their choice within the chat screen.

Multiple-platform Calling

Users can make global calls across any platform, like iOS, Android apps, or web apps, at any time.

Now, after getting some idea about these key features, you have to decide the main thing of the entire process: whether you have to build your chat app from scratch or want to make use of a ready-made chat SDK for Android, to make the process simple and easy.

Planning to Build an Android Chat App – Make a Choice! “Readymade Vs Custom”

Whenever you are planning to build your team chat app, the first and foremost question that crosses your mind could be the investment; the next would be the timeframe. Since both of these factors can affect any business, it’s better to have a clear idea about the approach: whether to go for ready-made chat APIs and SDKs or build something from scratch. Let’s do some research in detail for better understanding.

1. Ready-made APIs and SDKs

When it comes to ready-made APIs and SDKs, or, say, a white-label chat solution, you can be very clear about having a quick market launch within your budget. Yes, these are the in-built features and functionalities that will work immediately once integrated into any third-party device.

But, still, if you look for a drawback, then each of these ready-made APIs can get you the functionalities of a specific feature alone, i.e., if you need another feature in the future, then you have to go for another API with that particular functionality. But, these solution providers do allow open hosting options, mostly for both your cloud and their cloud/premises, depending upon your business demands.

However, with custom solutions or when you have to build something from scratch, you have to do some pre-planning. Let’s have a brief look below.

2. Steps To Build a Custom Chat Solution

  • Research your platform – Make a complete study on your required platform, whether it’s Android or iOS.
  • Aim of your app – Who is the targeted audience? This information identifies the need for features that need to be installed in the application.
  • Check for MVP (minimum viable product) –  Make a note of what these MVPs look like with features and more.
  • Required timeframe to Build an application – This is the core step, as here you have to be clear with the idea of all your requirements, like the development team (in-house or remote), if so, the hiring process, whether there will be a support team within your reach, etc.

Now, after getting a brief idea about these ready-made solutions and building from scratch, let’s get into a more detailed study of how to create a chat application in Android using the modern programming languages of Kotlin or Java.

 
Do you want to create Android chat app with 150+ Chat Features!

Steps to Build An Android Chat App Using Kotlin Or Java

However, to understand the technical background of how this Android chat app’s development works, it’s highly essential to know what the steps involved are while planning to build an Android chat app.

Let’s look for a better understanding.

  1. The core step is to open an Android studio. This is so that every programming language starts over with its technical foundation of platforms or studios.
  2. It’s time to decide which programming language to use for your Android chat app development. Most often, Kotlin is considered over Java for its simple, user-friendly attributes with less need for coding.

Once the decision has been made, it’s time for the in-depth article. Yes! Here, I have divided the tutorial section into two parts.

The first part talks about the initializing and login stuff, where the display, selection, and creation of the channel are involved. The second part talks about the technical details of the features, codes, and more.

On the whole, both of these parts will cover the entire process of building an Android chat app. 

So, now that we have all these above details in mind, let’s get to know how it works with MirrorFly in a further detailed tutorial section.

How to Build an Android Chat App Using MirrorFly SDK in Android Studio!

Where app and web development move together to build a strong foundation in communication, MirrorFly too works with multiple collaborations of chat, voice, and video calling features that support building the best chat app for Android.

Since MirrorFly understands the needs of its clients, it has made a compatible platform available wherein its messaging APIs and SDKs can be easily integrated into any pre-built device, like iOS, Android, and web apps, with minimal effort.

In the same way, when it comes to the server end, MirrorFly mainly focuses on reliability within the application. Thus, it allows space for server setup-related documents with an easy download option from the control panel’s download section.

In the future, the initialization page will provide the chat SDK’s structure and installation procedure. After that, the implementation process is carried over.

So moving further, let’s have a walk-through with a detailed tutorial session that can help you build your own Android chat app.

Requirements to Build Chat Application Android

The minimum requirements you need for your Chat SDK for Android are as follows:

  • Android Lollipop 5.0 (API Level 21)
  • Java 7 or higher
  • Gradle 4.1.0 or higher

SDK License Key

Authentication of the SDK is the core process of initialization, which MirrorFly performs at its server end using the License key. Moreover, you can make use of this license key in your dashboard while generating an account.

Everything is fine, but do keep in mind that these master API tokens can never be revoked or changed once the process is done.

MirrorFly Chat SDK Integration Into Your Android Chat App

The integration process is the basic one to start with but before that, you have to make sure that the SDKs have already been compiled into an AAR file or not. This is because, if you want to use the SDKs then the below AAR files need to be imported into the project. Although you need the support of Kotlin for messaging SDKs to proceed further in the project.

To get the License Key

Step 1: Contact us to get a MirrorFly User account.

Step 2: Log in to your Account

Step 3: Get the License key from the application Info section

Integrate the chat SDK

Step 1: Create a new project or Open an existing project in Android Studio

Step 2: If using Gradle 6.8 or higher, add the following code to your settings.gradle file. If using Gradle 6.7 or lower, add the following code to your root build.gradle file. See this release note to learn more about updates to Gradle.

Grade 6.8 or higher


dependencyResolutionManagement {
    repositories {
        mavenCentral()
        google()
        jcenter()
        maven {
            url "https://repo.mirrorfly.com/release"
        }
    }
}

Grade 6.7 or lower

allprojects {
    repositories {
        mavenCentral()
        google()
        jcenter()
        maven {
            url "https://repo.mirrorfly.com/release"
        }
    }
}

Step 3: Add the following dependencies in the app/build.gradle file.

dependencies {
   implementation 'com.mirrorfly.sdk:mirrorflysdk:7.6.4'
 }

Step 4: Add the below line in the gradle.properties file, to avoid imported library conflicts.

android.enableJetifier=true

Step 5: Open the AndroidManifest.xml and add below permissions.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />

Initialize Chat SDK

To start using the SDK, there is a need for some basic requirements before proceeding with the initialization process. In your Application class, inside the onCreate() method use the below method from ChatManager to provide the necessary data.

Java

ChatManager.initializeSDK("LICENSE_KEY", (isSuccess, throwable, data) -> {
            if(isSuccess){
                Log.d("TAG", "initializeSDK success ");
            }else{
                Log.d("TAG", "initializeSDK failed with reason "+data.get("message"));
            }
        });

Kotlin

ChatManager.initializeSDK("LICENSE_KEY"){ isSuccess, _, data ->
            if (isSuccess) {
                Log.d("TAG", "initializeSDK success ")
            } else {
                Log.d("TAG", "initializeSDK failed with error message"+ data["message"])
            }
        }

These are the technical steps that are required to have a secure chat app.

Registration

The below method to register a user in sandbox Live mode based on setIsTrialLicenceKey provided.

Java

  FlyCore.registerUser(USER_IDENTIFIER, (isSuccess, throwable, data ) -> {
        if(isSuccess) {
            Boolean isNewUser = (Boolean) data.get("is_new_user");
            JSONObject responseObject = (JSONObject) data.get("data");
           // Get Username and password from the object
        } else {
           // Register user failed print throwable to find the exception details.
        }
   });

Kotlin

  FlyCore.registerUser(USER_IDENTIFIER) { isSuccess, throwable, data ->
        if(isSuccess) {
            val isNewUser = data["is_new_user"] as Boolean
            val responseObject = data.get("data") as JSONObject
            // Get Username and password from the object
        } else {
            // Register user failed print throwable to find the exception details.
        }
     }

Connect to the Chat Server

Once Registration was successful, ChatSDK automatically attempts to connect to the Chat Server and ChatSDK also observes the changes in the application lifecycle, and accordingly, it will try to connect and disconnect the Chat Server.

Observe Connection Events

Once the ChatConnectionListener has been set, you will be able to receive the connection status in the callback method as mentioned below.

Java

ChatManager.setConnectionListener(new ChatConnectionListener() {
    @Override
    public void onConnected() {
        // Write your success logic here to navigate Profile Page or
        // To Start your one-one chat with your friends
    }

    @Override
    public void onDisconnected() {
        // Connection disconnected
    }

    @Override
    public void onConnectionFailed(@NonNull FlyException e) {
        // Connection Not authorized or Unable to establish connection with server
    }

    @Override
    public void onReconnecting() {
        // Automatic reconnection enabled
    }
});

Kotlin

ChatManager.setConnectionListener(object : ChatConnectionListener {
    override fun onConnected() {
        // Write your success logic here to navigate Profile Page or
        // To Start your one-one chat with your friends
    }

    override fun onDisconnected() {
        // Connection disconnected
    }

    override fun onConnectionFailed(e: FlyException) {
        // Connection Not authorized or Unable to establish connection with server
    }

    override fun onReconnecting() {
        // Automatic reconnection enabled
    }
})

Send a One-to-One Message

Use the below method to send a text message to other users,

Java

TextMessage textMessage = new TextMessage();
textMessage.setToId(TO_JID);
textMessage.setMessageText(TEXT);

FlyMessenger.sendTextMessage(textMessage, (isSuccess, error, chatMessage) -> {
    if (isSuccess) {
        // you will get the message sent success response
    }
});

Kotlin

val textMessage = TextMessage().apply {
    toId = TO_JID
    messageText = TEXT
}

FlyMessenger.sendTextMessage(textMessage, object : SendMessageCallback {
    override fun onResponse(isSuccess: Boolean, error: Throwable?, chatMessage: ChatMessage?) {
        if (isSuccess) {
            // you will get the message sent success response
        }
    }
})

Receive a One-to-One Message

You need to initialize the observer MessageEventsListener to receive any message and observe all the incoming messages sent to you.

Java

  ChatEventsManager.setupMessageEventListener(new MessageEventsListener() {
            @Override
            public void onMessageReceived(@NotNull ChatMessage message) {
              //called when the new message is received
            }

        });

Kotlin

 ChatEventsManager.setupMessageEventListener(object : MessageEventsListener {
      override fun onMessageReceived(message: ChatMessage) {
            //called when the new message is received
      }
    })

Moreover, here the listeners would be called only when a new message is received from other user. To get more details please visit this callback listeners

Java

   @Override
    public void onMessageReceived(@NonNull ChatMessage message) {
        super.onMessageReceived(message);
        // received message object
    }

Kotlin

 override fun onMessageReceived(message: ChatMessage) {
        super.onMessageReceived(message)
        // received message object
    }

Conclusion

Well, till now, we have discussed the technical part of building your best chat app for Android using modern tech stacks with the help of MirrorFly.

However, here we made a start with the basic steps of authentication, initialization, requirements, features, license key, and more, with MirrorFly for a better understanding of the process.

I hope you found this Android messaging app tutorial helpful, and don’t forget to check out our related official documents to explore further and learn more about the features and functionalities of your chat app.

If all these interest you in learning more, then stay tuned with us; we are in the process of giving more insights about how to create an Android chat app!

Thank you!

Get Started with MirrorFly’s Android Chat SDK Today!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I create my own chatting app?

You can create an Android chat app on your own in 2 ways:
Build your app from scratch
Buy a pre-built chat SDK
Developing chat apps from scratch is a time-consuming process and takes up a lot of human and tool resources. Whereas opting for a complete white-label chat solution like MirrorFly saves development time and resources while providing modern messaging features for your chat apps.

Is Java good for building chat apps?

Yes, Java is perfectly suitable for Android chat app development. It supports multi-threading and concurrency which makes it a great choice for developing messaging apps that need to handle multiple users within the app simultaneously. It is highly reliable, and scalable and has a rich set of libraries and frameworks to create real-time Android apps.

Is Kotlin still in demand?

Kotlin is definitely still in demand. Here are a few reasons why:
Google officially supports Koltin as the first-class language for creating an Android chat app.
It is a concise, easier, expressive, modern, and versatile language.
In terms of memory management and null safety, Kotlin is considered better than Java.

Will Kotlin replace Java in the future?

No. It is very unlikely that Koltin will replace Java in the near future. Although Kotlin has gained popularity among developers, Java remains to be the widely used language for building enterprise-grade Android apps. It has a rich source of frameworks, tools, and libraries with a broad user base.

What are the basic requirements to build an Android chat app?

To create a fully-functioning Android messaging app, you’ll need the following requirements:
IDE: Android Studio
Chat Backend: Self-hosted or cloud server
Development Language: Java or Kotlin
Real-time Chat Protocols: XMPP or MQTT
Authentication: OAuth or Firebase
Apart from these, you’ll require a responsive UI, push notification system, and testing environment to complete the deployment.

How to build a chat app in Android?

To begin using the Android Chat SDK, follow these steps:

Create a New Project in Android Studio.
Configure the Project Settings.
Choose your Project Template.
Develop your chat application within the project.
Test Your App
Debug and fine-tune features
Deploy or Distribute

Which language is best for a real-time chat app?

Java and Kotlin are the 2 best programming languages that you can use to build an Android app. You can use these languages in the development toolkit that contains SDKs, emulators, and debuggers.

Can I create an Android app using Java?

Yes, you can use Java for developing your Android App. In fact, Java has been the only programming language that has been preferred by Google for a long time. 

Is Kotlin better than Java?

Kotlin is comparatively better than Java in Android app development. Java has a wide range of libraries and is extensively used by several developers around the world. However, most developers prefer Kotlin over Java as it has short syntaxes and fresh features.

Is Java still used for Android apps?

Yes, Java is a programming language that is still preferred by Google for building Android apps. One of the key reasons is that Java can run on any platform. This means, you need not write separate codes for Linux, Windows or Mac. 

How does a real-time chat app work?

In a real-chat app, the messages you send are instantly delivered to the recipient’s device. This allows users to interact and engage with each other without any noticeable delays, ensuring a seamless communication experience. 

Vigneshwar

Vigneshwar is a Performance Marketer, guiding providers of healthcare, education, etc., to elevate their conversation value with the help of powerful communication solutions to drive a better communication experience.

24 Comments

  1. Sharma says:

    I would like to use your real time messaging service for my android and iPhone app which is under development right now. Kindly let me know the pricing or packages you have

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hi Sharma, sure!
      You can easily create an Android chat app or an iOS app with engaging in-app messaging features using our chat SDK. To know more about our monthly pricing, check our pricing page. If you’d like to purchase our SDK for a one-time license cost, do check out our white-label chat solution.

  2. Chlagou says:

    Hello, I’m the technical director in remote society, we are developing a virtual workspace in unity3d, and we wanted to know if there is a compatible android chat SDK? Thanks, Chlagou

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Chlagou,

      It’s interesting to know that you are building a gaming app in Unity 3D with a workspace. Well, MirrorFly messaging SDK is compatible with any Android chat app development and will efficiently boost the cross-platform communication between your app users. Contact our team of experts to get more information about our chat features and its implementation.

  3. Pasha says:

    Hello we are building a chat platform for legal manners, and we want to have a few features: Video and audio calling, secure chat, incoming sms, outgoing sms, sms verification, app to phone calling. we are an early stage startup and we want to understand the integration process with your android SDKs and APis, as well to get ball park pricing in order to allocate funds. Let me know when would be a good time for a call. Have a wonderful day, Pasha, Co-Founder

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Pasha,

      Nice to know that you’re building a chat platform and are interested in our messaging SDK. Well, to understand about the implementation process you can check out our android messaging app tutorial or talk to our support team directly. Our monthly packages are listed on our pricing page and you can also avail of our chat SDK for a one-time license cost. Best of luck with your app development!

  4. Goodman says:

    I need your best price for android Chat API for my penniless, bootstrapped, live music gigging App which serves penniless bands. I guess what I’m saying here is ‘We really don’t have a lot of money and probably never will!’

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Goodman!

      I’m glad you found us for your music app development. You can create an android chat app for music gigs with MirrorFly’s FREE messaging SDK. Avail more information about the chat features on our official website or contact our support team directly!

  5. saxena says:

    We are developing one service based marketplace like upwork where candidate and client can connect each other. We want real time chat, video and audio calling api for android app Please confirm the pricing

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Saxena,

      Sure. MirrorFly can help you add video, voice and chat features for your B2B marketplace app. You can check out our monthly plans on our pricing page or talk to our experts to purchase our SDKs for a one-time license cost.

  6. resol says:

    My name is Resol Integrated Services Limited. I’d like to make enquiry on API integration into our on going App development. Here are my enquiries; what is the cost of the integration of the followings SMS gateway , in-app call (chat, voice and video), and Shipping gateway

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Resol,
      Glad to know that you’re interested in our n-app communication SDK. Our video, voice and chat SDKs come as monthly packages and as a full self-hosted solution. You can check out our SaaS plans on our pricing page or talk to our experts for the license cost of our custom chat solution.

  7. hadi says:

    We need a video and chat service in our android application for clients to communicate with lawyers, secure is very crucial for us. Our stack is NextJs with .NET Core as a backend.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Hadi,

      MirrorFly chat SDK comes built-in with end-to-end encryption protocols like AES-256 and SSL. Also, they are compatible with compliances like GDPR and HIPAA. So, you can confidently add video, video and chat features to your app without worrying about the security infrastructure and its maintenance.

  8. Buckley says:

    Hi MirrorFly, Can you please tell me more about your ‘white label’ Instant Messaging solution. Ideally, we are looking to embed a IM system into a iOS/Android mobile application that can be mature, branded and include out-of-app notifications. There are a few core items that am interested in understanding: 1. Do you support call center MSPs, e.g. Genesys Cloud CX 2. The IM data – is there an ability to have the data hosted using Data Residency controls that ensure data is only saved in Australia – or a similar country.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Buckley,

      Yes, sure. MirrorFly offers a completely customizable white-label chat solution. You can add your own logos, colors and brand elements to make the features look like they were built by you from scratch. Also, you can host the messaging SDK on any servers as per your preference. To know more about our self-hosted solution, contact our expert team today!

  9. nelson says:

    Hello, I would like to create an android app for managing customer service for my microloan company, I want to know the base cost of implementation and development time

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Nelson,

      Please check the cost of our monthly plans on our pricing page. If you’d like to purchase our SDK for a custom pricing, contact our support team.

  10. agarwal says:

    We’re interested to using of Mirrorfly API at android application. We’re trying to implement a functionality in which a user can block another user and should not be able to chat further. Could you please help us with an example of how this can be achieved? We’re currently using the Web SDK.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Agarwal,

      It’s great to know that you are interested in our messaging SDK. Sure, you can check out our tutorial on how to create a chat application in android and the codes to block users or groups in your chat app for the implementation. If you need further assistance, contact our support team.

  11. lina says:

    Hi, I work at LiveMode with is an entity that works for Soccer Teams and Leagues in Brazil. One of our services is the Live Streaming Platform and we would like to enhance our features with a Live Chat. Could you please confirm if you have web solution and SDK for Android and IOS? If yes, what is the funcionaliities that the chat have (moderation, GIFs, pool, etc)? Regards, lina

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Lina,

      Glad to know about your services. MirrorFly is an in-app communication solution provider that offers video, voice and chat features. You can avail our in-app chats with gifs and moderation controls, whereas live chat is not within our scope right now. You can contact our experts to know how our SDK can boost your in-app engagement from our team of experts. Contact our support team.

  12. adam says:

    We are an logitech software company for heavy construction. Would like to discuss the feasibility of adding in-app chat into our android applications for our customers.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Adam, sure. You can get complete guidance and assistance from our team of experts. Contact our support team.

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