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Introducing offline messaging, a push notification tester tool, and message threading

Introducing offline messaging, a push notification tester tool, and message threading

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We’re proud to announce the launch of built-in offline messaging in the Sendbird Chat SDK and Sendbird UIKit, a push notification tester tool, and message threading in the Sendbird UIKit. These launches are part of our commitment to making our low-code platform more powerful and accessible for developers to ship in-app chat quickly.

Here are the highlights:

  • The Sendbird Chat SDK and Sendbird UIKit now come with built-in offline messaging as a core feature. This feature saves developers time and allows them to ship apps faster. 
  • The push notification tester tool makes it convenient for developers to build and test push notifications in their app, thus saving them hours of development time.
  • Message threading in Sendbird UIKit brings it on par with the Sendbird Chat SDK—and it enables developers to build threaded messaging experiences when using Sendbird UIKit.

Now let’s dive into each feature. 

Built-in offline messaging

As user expectations from chat increase, offline messaging capabilities have become core to an app’s chat engagement strategy. Offline messaging enables users to have chat access when they’re not connected to the internet. This feature comes in handy in regions with poor internet connectivity or use cases where users are comfortable communicating asynchronously. As a result, users can access existing messages just as they would when the app was online. Users can also write new messages to be sent even when the app is offline. As soon as the internet connectivity is restored, the app automatically establishes a connection to send and receive messages. This feature ensures that the user remains engaged in the conversation even when the app is offline.

Before this release, offline messaging was offered as a standalone feature through the Sync Manager SDK—an additional SDK required to be integrated with the Sendbird SDK to build offline messaging. However, integrating another SDK with the Chat SDK added complexity for developers to build offline messaging. In addition, because the app interacted with two SDKs to power chat, it led to slower load times when the chat app came back online, resulting in a less smooth end-user experience. 

Now with this release, offline messaging is a core offering in the Sendbird Chat SDK and Sendbird UIKit. Built-in offline messaging saves time for developers as they no longer need to integrate an additional SDK. In addition, it is more stable when compared to using Sync Manager and helps load chat apps faster, therefore ensuring a smoother experience for users. Offline messaging is available for both Group channels and Supergroup channels in Sendbird Chat. 

Our low-code chat offering Sendbird UIKit, built on top of the Sendbird Chat SDKs, will first benefit from this release. Sendbird UIKit will also support built-in offline messaging. As a result, developers can now build in-app chat with offline messaging in minutes using Sendbird UIKit.

Offline messaging is especially helpful in use cases such as:

  • Marketplaces: Offline messaging allows buyers and sellers to communicate even when the internet connection is unstable. A buyer or seller doesn’t need to worry about message deliverability once they’ve hit send on the message. Instead, they can connect with other buyers and sellers confidently, knowing that the message will be delivered once the connection is back up—ensuring more conversations leading to more transactions.
  • Social and Communities: Offline messaging can help users connect by letting them access old messages for context and queue new messages to be sent when the connection is back up, keeping them engaged while the app is offline.
  • Healthcare: Offline messaging is especially useful in use cases where users prefer asynchronous conversations, as it gives them the flexibility to respond at their availability. Healthcare is one such use case. Even if users (patients) lose connectivity, they can respond to a message and be sure to send it once internet connectivity is restored. 
  • Education: For students in areas of bad internet connectivity, offline messaging lets students access previous conversations and continue learning from them, and at the same time post new queries for teachers. These messages can be sent once the connectivity is back up. 

We can’t wait to get this in your hands to build connected experiences for users.

If you’re curious about how we built offline messaging, you can read more in a technical blog here. Remember that you can migrate seamlessly from SyncManager to the Chat SDK for local caching; check out our migration guides for iOSAndroid, and JavaScript.

Push notification tester tool

Push notifications are vital in increasing user engagement and retaining users. At Sendbird, we are focused on being developer-centric—and we understand the developer’s pain. As a result, we aim to reduce the cadence for developers when they build and test push notifications

Push notifications are great for reeling users to come back to the apps. However, push notifications can cause delays as developers build and test their chat apps. 

Our push notification tester tool streamlines the testing and configuration of push notifications for developers, thus reducing the time spent ensuring that push notifications work. In addition, our debugging tool is included in all of our plans and is available in the Sendbird Dashboard. As a result, developers can instantly discover bottlenecks and save time on building great chat apps. 

With the push notification tester tool, developers can:

  • First, confirm whether push notifications are being sent along with messages. 
  • Second, check and troubleshoot whether a push notification hasn’t been sent. 
  • Third, check and troubleshoot if a push notification hasn’t been received, all from the convenience of the Sendbird Dashboard.

Developers can do all of these tests right in the Sendbird Dashboard.

Push notifications are invaluable for all verticals, specifically:

  • Healthcare: Push notifications help to remind patients when a doctor has responded to their message. They also notify patients when their prescription refills and lab results are ready. 
  • On-demand: Push notifications to serve as prompt updates for both the on-demand food delivery drivers and customers. Both parties stay engaged in conversation until the delivery is made. 
  • Online gaming: Push notifications reel gamers back into the game as they become aware when a new game has started and when a friend has sent them a message. 
  • Education: Push notifications aid in keeping students on top of their coursework as they’re reminded of an upcoming test or assignment. In addition, students are prompted to engage when an instructor has responded. 

You can learn more about the push notification tester tool in an in-depth blog post here. If you want to learn more about push notifications, their benefits, and how they can be used, check out our guide to mobile push notifications. If you want to take a detailed look at how to use our new push notifications tester tool, check out this new tutorial.

Message threading in Sendbird UIKit

The next feature we’re happy to introduce is message threading in Sendbird UIKit. Message threading allows developers to deliver an enriched user chat experience. For example, users can create threads in group channels and stay further engaged. In addition, threads let users discuss topics in detail without adding clutter to a conversation’s main view, making channels more readable and helping make discussions easier to follow.

Message threading allows users to reply to specific messages in a thread-like fashion and is a great way to organize and keep track of conversations. For example, message threading specifies which message a user is responding to and avoids confusion amongst other users. Additionally, message threading allows for in-depth discussions. For instance, users can follow up with questions or reply with a thorough explanation. Finally, message threads can encourage users to start topic-specific discussions separate from the main channel conversation.

Message threading is especially useful in:

  • Workplace messengers: Threads can be used to create organized discussions around specific messages, especially in busy channels. It creates a better experience for users to maintain extended discussions in threads instead of the main channel. 
  • Community: Most community users are comfortable using threads in large community forums. Now, they can experience a familiar experience in group chats and use them for deep discussions around a specific topic without clogging up the group chat with details.
  • Education: Message threading maintains contextual conversations between teachers and professors with their students. It enables students to communicate and collaborate, ensuring that others are not disturbed. Students can create message threads to share ideas, review, or ask specific questions about an assignment or project. 

The new additions to the Sendbird Chat SDK and Sendbird UIKit advance our commitment to providing developers with a low-code platform to build full-featured chat at scale quickly. As a result, developers can focus their attention on building core features that differentiate their app experience. 

To learn more about offline messaging in the Sendbird Chat SDK/UIKit, the push notification tester tool, and message threading in Sendbird UIKit, please visit Sendbird docs. To start building right away, sign up for a free trial.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback — we’d love to learn from you.

The chat never ends with Sendbird! 

Happy chat building!

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