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My task for this project was to create a well-featured and scalable group chat app that runs on Android, iOS, and Desktop in a few weeks work. No big deal, right?
In our three part series on building a multi-user messaging application, we’ll cover:
Part One: Building a simple chat room.
Part Two: Managing multiple rooms, showing users a history of previous messages, and showing what users are in the room.
Part Three: Appifying our project through PhoneGap, tweaking the responsive UI, and future improvements.
Working on Mobile and Desktop
The final piece of the puzzle to get it working on iOS and Android was using PhoneGap. With PhoneGap, I could easily generate an Android and iOS app that runs a full screen web view to load the application in. As soon as the page loads, the frameworks take care of the rest. The best part of this that is the only mobile support I had to include was hiding the user list on smaller screens. Everything else was simply plug and play.
Overall, it was pretty straightforward to build. Instead of spending my time writing platform specific code or setup a single server, I was able to focus on adding great features to my application. This is how web development should be.
If you would like to build your own application like this, check out the group chat app source code on GitHub.