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This is the new Docs for Chat SDK v4 for Android. To see the previous Docs, click here.

Send your first message

Sendbird Chat SDK for Android is a development kit that enables an easy and fast integration of standard chat features into client apps. On the client-side implementation, you can initialize and configure the chat with minimal effort. On the server-side, Sendbird ensures reliable infra-management services for your chat within the app.

If you are looking to build an app with chat features, we recommend you build a client app on top of our sample app. If you already have an app and you are looking to add chat to it, proceed with this guide to integrate chat into your app. This guide walks you through installing the Chat SDK in your app, creating a channel, and sending your first message to the channel.

Note: To implement Kotlin in your app, see our tutorials on How to build in-app chat using Kotlin Part 1 and Part 2.


Requirements

The minimum requirements for Chat SDK for Android are the following.

  • Android 5.0 (API level 21) or higher
  • Java 8 or higher
  • Android Gradle plugin 3.4.2 or higher

Note: The Sendbird server supports Transport Layer Security (TLS) from versions 1.0 up to 1.3. For example, in the server regions where TLS 1.3 isn’t available, lower versions from 1.0 to 1.2 will be sequentially supported for secure data transmission.


Before you start

Before installing Sendbird Chat SDK, you need to create a Sendbird application on Sendbird Dashboard, which comprises everything required in a chat service including users, messages, and channels. You need the Application ID of your Sendbird application from the dashboard when initializing the Chat SDK.

  1. Go to Sendbird Dashboard and create an account for a free trial. If you already have a Sendbird account, sign into your account.

  2. Create a new application by clicking Create + at the bottom right of your screen.

  3. Enter a name for your application. Choose a Product Type and Region. Then, click Confirm.

  4. Click the application you just created under Applications. You will see the application's Application ID which you will need when initializing the Chat SDK.

Each Sendbird application can be integrated with a single client app. Within the same application, users can communicate with each other across all platforms, whether they are on mobile devices or on the web.

Sendbird UIKit

UIKit is a Sendbird Chat SDK add-on with user interfaces that enables easy and fast integration of standard chat features into new or existing client apps.

If you would like a sample app with embedded UI, see UIKit Overview for Android.

Access control list

Sendbird provides various access control options when using the Chat SDK. By default, the following attributes are turned on to avoid unexpected errors when creating sample apps and sending your first message:

  • Allow retrieving user list
  • Allow updating user metadata
  • Allow creating open channels
  • Allow creating group channels

However, this may grant access to unwanted data or operations, leading to potential security concerns. To manage your access control settings, you can turn on or off each option in Settings > Application > Security > Access control list on Sendbird Dashboard.


Get started

To send a message in a client app, you should build and configure an in-app chat using Sendbird Chat SDK, which can be installed through Gradle or by accessing our remote repository.

Step 1 Install the Chat SDK

How to install the SDK using Gradle depends on your Gradle version. 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.

Gradle 6.8 or higherGradle 6.7 or lower
// Add the following to your settings.gradle file.

dependencyResolutionManagement {
    repositories {
        maven { url "https://repo.sendbird.com/public/maven" }
    }
}

Next, for all Gradle versions, add the dependency to your module build.gradle file.

dependencies {
    implementation 'com.sendbird.sdk:sendbird-chat:4.1.1'
}

Step 2 Request to access system permissions

The Chat SDK requires system permissions. These permissions allow the Chat SDK to communicate with the Sendbird server and read from and write on a user device’s storage. To request system permissions, add the following lines to your AndroidManifest.xml file.

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

Step 2-1 (Optional) Configure ProGuard to shrink code and resources

If you're building your APK with minifyEnabled true, add the following line to the module's ProGuard rules file.

-dontwarn com.sendbird.android.shadow.**

Step 3 Initialize the Chat SDK

Now, initialize the Chat SDK in the app to allow the Chat SDK to respond to changes in the connection status of Android client apps. Initialization requires your Sendbird application's Application ID, which can be found on the Sendbird Dashboard.

Note: All methods in the following steps are asynchronous. This means that when using asynchronous methods, your client app must receive success callbacks from the Sendbird server through their callback handlers in order to proceed to the next step. A good way to do this is using nested methods. Go to Step 6: Enter the channel to learn more about how you can nest openChannel.enter() inside the OpenChannel.getChannel() method.

Before initializing, you should determine whether to enable local caching using InitParams and InitResultHandler() in the SendbirdChat.init() method. The useCaching property of InitParams determines whether or not the client app is going to use local storage through the SDK. If you want to build a client app without our local caching functionalities, set the value of useCaching to false.

Note: If you aren't using local caching, onMigrationStarted() and onInitFailed() in InitResultHandler() won't be called. To learn more, see Initialize the Chat SDK with APP_ID.

SendbirdChat.init(
    InitParams(APP_ID, applicationContext, useCaching = true),
    object : InitResultHandler {
        override fun onMigrationStarted() {
            Log.i("Application", "Called when there's an update in Sendbird server.")
        }

        override fun onInitFailed(e: SendbirdException) {
            Log.i("Application", "Called when initialize failed. SDK will still operate properly as if useLocalCaching is set to false.")
        }

        override fun onInitSucceed() {
            Log.i("Application", "Called when initialization is completed.")
        }
    }
)

Note: The SendbirdChat.init() method must be called across a client app at least once. It is recommended to initialize the Chat SDK with the onCreate() method of the Application instance.

Step 4 Connect to the Sendbird server

You need a user in order to send a message to a channel. You can either create a user on our dashboard or you can use a unique ID that hasn’t been taken by any of your Sendbird application users. In the latter case, a new user is automatically created in your Sendbird application before being connected.

To learn about using a token to authenticate a user, see the authentication page.

SendbirdChat.connect(userId) { user, e ->
    if (user != null) {
        if (e != null) {
            // Proceed in offline mode with the data stored in the local database.
            // Later, connection is made automatically.
            // and can be notified through ConnectionHandler.onReconnectSucceeded().
        } else {
            // Proceed in online mode.
        }
    } else {
        // Handle error.
    }
}

Note: You must receive the result of InitResultHandler() before calling the connect() method. Any method can be called once the user is connected to the Sendbird server.

For Chat SDKs that don't use local caching, the connection process remains the same. When an error occurs, the SDK must attempt to reconnect again.

Step 5 Create a new open channel

Create an open channel using the following code. Open channels are where all users in your Sendbird application can easily participate without an invitation.

OpenChannel.createChannel(OpenChannelCreateParams()) { channel, e ->
    if (e != null) {
        // Handle error.
    }

    // An open channel is successfully created.
    // Through the channel parameter of the callback handler,
    // you can get the open channel's data from the result object that the Sendbird server has passed to the callback handler.
}

Note: You can also create a group channel to send a message. To learn more, see Create a channel.

Step 6 Enter the channel

Enter the channel to send and receive messages.

// The following sample code continues from Step 5.
OpenChannel.createChannel(OpenChannelCreateParams()) { channel, e ->
    if (e != null) {
        // Handle error.
    }

    // Call the instance method of the result object in the openChannel parameter
    // of the callback handler.
    channel?.enter { e ->
        if (e != null) {
            // Handle error.
        }

        // The current user has successfully entered the open channel,
        // and can chat with other users in the channel by using APIs.
    }
}

Step 7 Send a message to the channel

Finally, send a message to the channel. To learn about the message types you can send, refer to Message overview in Chat Platform API.

You can check the message you've sent in Sendbird Dashboard. To learn about receiving a message, refer to the receive messages through a channel event handler page.

openChannel.sendUserMessage(UserMessageCreateParams(MESSAGE)) { message, e ->
    if (e != null) {
        // Handle error.
    }

    // The message has been successfully sent to the channel.
    // The current user can receive messages from other users
    // through the onMessageReceived() method of an event handler.
}