What Is A Chat API And How To Use It?

By Hardik Savani September 5, 2020 Category : Guest Post

A Chat API involves collections of programmable-building blocks used to offer "real-time" chat features for the in-app chats, or chats on websites.

Chat API, which stands for Application Programming Interface, offers access to server infrastructures that offer full stability, scalability, and features required for real-time messaging and chat.

The in-app chat APIs are typically offered as a type of service from third-party SaaS cloud providers. They are easy to embed into applications when following the corresponding API documentation or when using Chat SDK, which is a Software Development Kit.

Examples Of How Chat API Is Used

Today, many companies use CometChat's Chat API to engage or communicate with new customers or clients in sales processes or to enhance or improve relationships with an existing customer base to provide live and direct support. Some organizations also use Chat API by creating collaborative chat environments internally for staff members who can help to improve productivity and communication across various departments.

Another popular use for Chat API involves providing participation from an audience during a live event using a streaming-chat window. Examples of this can include competitive eSports spectators.

How To Use Chat API

Since Chat API only proves to be useful according to the service that it can provide, it may be better for a company to ask what a Chat API can do for the company and the owner of the business. Although a Chat API comprises various use cases, these applications provide a way to execute live or asynchronous messaging and chat within websites, mobile applications, games, and various other services. Here are some of the common examples of communication channels created when using a Chat API:

User <>User

This is one of the more well-known forms of online chats between different users in messenger apps, collaboration apps, dating apps, and games.

Marketplace <> Buyer<>Seller

This includes communication on e-commerce platforms between the actual platform, sellers, and buyers.

Service Provider <> User

This includes communication between service providers (the company or actual service provider) and the users (customers) at ride-hailing services, healthcare providers, financial institutions, or any other communication associated with on-demand service providers.

Broadcaster <> Audience

This involves communication that occurs between audiences with each other along with the broadcaster.

What To Expect From A Chat API And What It Can Provide

There are a few basic features that a Chat API should be providing. These features usually include the following:

  • Group messaging/ one-on-one messaging/ open channels
  • Custom-data and file transfers
  • Cross-platform sync
  • Push notifications
  • Chat history
  • Webhooks
  • User blocking or profanity filters
  • Delivery status/ read receipt/ typing indicators
  • Online or offline status
  • Analytics

The Chat APIs also come with a host of advanced features. Some of these often include:

  • Moderation tools
  • Data export API/ message retrieval API
  • AI/Chabot interface
  • Auto-thumbnail
  • File encryption
  • Spam flood protection
  • Auto-translation
  • Smart throttling / auto-partitioning
  • Admin messaging / announcement API

Many of the chat APIs are also compatible with video and voice API, allowing you to add on video and voice chat that other API providers provide. Before you choose a Chat API, there are a few things to keep in mind:

The technology type used, for example, Ajax, HTTP, WebSocket, Push/Streaming, XMPP, REST.

The available authentication, for example, Single Sign-On / Two-Factor / OAuth / Email.

The types of platforms and devices supported. For example iOS / Android / web browser.

The chat functionality type. For e.g. video & voice, open-public chat, private-group chat, 1-on-1.

Some of the Chat APIs provide support for certain advanced features. These often include customizable themes, anti-spam, moderation tools, chatbox integration, typing indicators, chat history, announcements, read receipts, and webhooks. These are features that are easy to add on as needed, depending on the user's needs.

Messaging API Vs. Chat API

Chat APIs differ from Messaging API, as the Chat APIs generally only offer instant live messaging. Messaging APIs, on the other hand, might include instant messaging along with traditional messaging systems such as MMS and SMS.

Questions To Ask Before Investing In A Chat API

You can ask a few questions to make sure you are investing in the right in-app chat-development tool.

1. What Platforms Will You Need Cover?

Not all providers offer coverage for all the main platforms. Look for a provider that can offer fully-supported working examples and documentation for all the platforms that you require support with.

2. What Chat Form Will You Need Support?

This question might be unfamiliar if implementing or developing chat features is still new to your team or you. There are roughly 3 chat types:

public/open chat channels

Group chat

1-on-1 messaging

Not every solution is available with customizability, particularly the solutions that come with specific-use case driven tools.

Visit cometchat.com

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