PhoneGap Chat App Development using NodeJS & Websockets

PhoneGap is a versatile mobile application framework which enables developers to build mobile applications for multiple mobile platforms with a single codebase. JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 are the three main elements used in PhoneGap application development for mobile devices. Chat is one of the most popular features of the smart mobile devices today. The chat applications in mobile devices enable people to be in touch with their friends, family and relatives irrespective of time and place and hence, are the popular means of communication of the modern tech savvy man. Chat apps are one of the most desired things one desires to have in his/her mobile device. This is the reason that chat app development is gaining momentum in the present era thereby increasing the demand for the PhoneGap mobile application framework.

Chat app development with PhoneGap will require using two popular technologies called the NodeJS and Websockets. With PhoneGap as your platform for mobile app development, you are required to use JavaScript which would require a runtime environment like NodeJS for execution. Yes, NodeJS is a cross-platform runtime environment that uses Google’s fastest V8 engine for code execution or running the JavaScript applications. With NodeJS application one can create their own web server and hence, server their content at a much faster pace.

Adding websockets to the mix would be a great solution to create mobile apps that can work in every browser irrespective of the mobile device. Websockets can termed as protocols which allow bi-directional persistent communication between client (browser) and server. With an open websocket connection, client and browser can exchange messages between them at any time until the connection is closed.

Combining NodeJS and websockets is a good idea to build a chat app which can work really fast for enhanced communication without lagging. Built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime, its easy building server side applications using NodeJS, which is a perfect platform to run chat applications. The reason to choose Node.JS is that with this runtime system, we don’t have to deal with a different language but with JavaScript only. Hence, it’s easy developing real time communication in chat apps with Node.JS. Moreover with package manager like npm, node.js will enable rapid application development process to create efficient chat application within the least possible time.

The main feature of a chat application is the real time communication for which you need websockets. However, the websockets require a backend application to communicate with server and hence, it is required to develop node.js based server for the purpose. We use the NodeJS server to support HTML5 websockets. However, the websockets are supported by all browsers or servers. So, a compatibility test is done initially for the purpose which again requires is the websocket API that is used to test the websocket compatibility to find out if the connection will be established with the websocket or not. It provides an API for NodeJS which is very much similar to the client side API. The main purpose of using is to enable chat or communication where every person who connects with the client can send or push messages to the server and in turn the server pushes back the replies to all the connected clients. Hence, enables sending messages back and forth between the client device and server and therefore is required to enable continuous two way communication between client user and server that hosts the app’s services.

Therefore, with the advent of technologies like PhoneGap framework, Node.JS and WebSockets, chat app development for mobile devices is no longer a tedious and time consuming task.

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