Why App Developers Shouldn’t Build Chat from Scratch?

Published On August 23rd, 2022 Tech Talks

As a passionate app developer, do you find yourself going back and forth between building e2e encrypted in-app chat from scratch vs buying chat APIs and SDKs? 

Well, considering the fact that chat is no longer an afterthought but a full-fledged product in itself heightens this argument further.

In view of straightening out this buy vs build dilemma, it is crucial to weigh-in the business priorities, and product(app) goals for unreal in-app communication experiences.

Is building in-app chat the obvious choice?

Building chat from scratch might sound to be the easiest and safest option for developers and app owners in the first place. However, given its superior capabilities to resonate better communication across the board, it is no lesser than developing a complete solution.

But, before one gets drawn to this choice automatically, it is worthwhile to understand all that it takes to build chat in-house for apps:

1. Prolonged Implementation

In terms of the bandwidth, engineering chat from the ground up isn’t a day’s job as it might take roughly a year or two considering the dedicated infrastructure demands, core chat functionalities, storage, and integration requirements. Not to forget the time investment towards security, add-on features, and ongoing maintenance services of building real-time chat. 

Practically speaking, chat app users typically expect a response in less than a minute. Waiting nearly a year to experience the benefits of a fully customized chat app is simply not feasible.

2. High on Capital Investment

Developing an in-house chat app encompasses several factors that often require a huge sum of capital investment. Every component ranging from the critical infrastructure, chat API development, server, database, UI/UX design, encryption, subscription last but not the least resources cost the business on the higher side. 

For instance, a low-end in-app chat build for an enterprise with 3 dedicated developers would cost approximately $125,000 including the initial development, maintenance & scaling setup($60,000, $65,000 respectively) in a year. 

Now, imagine designing a high-end chat app from scratch and do the math for yourself.

3. Unfitting Infrastructure

The success of building an in-app communication experience translates to having a rigid and flexible infrastructure in place. Besides, the right choice of programming languages, databases, and messaging protocols augments chat app building and scaling from ground zero. 

However, be wary of any compatibility issues or integration mishaps during the build process as it not only halters development, slows down the build, but also incurs additional cost and annoys users eventually. 

On the flip side, will buying chat APIs & SDKs do the heavy-lifting for you?

In-app chat APIs and SDKs are the panaceas for all real-time roadblocks and sub-par chat experiences

Powered by a rigid foundation of a real-time messaging infrastructure, these time-tested integrations fastrack deployment of in-app messaging features in under an hour with extensive support docs and guides.

As we are in the context of the buying decision, let’s evaluate why it makes sense to go down this route:

1. No more endless ‘Build – Iterate – Review’ cycles

Unlike the scratch development process, the buying factor is simple and much less complicated. Its pre-defined APIs and SDKs accelerate deployment with on-demand chat experiences that eventually convert the app’s goals into revenue faster than ever. 

Furthermore, it comes with a dedicated infrastructure that ensures the right platforms (Android, web, IoS) and tech elements for the finest in-app implementations. 

Ultimately, this contemporary chat architecture beats up resource, development and ad-hoc constraints of a chat app for a scalable app and user experience.

2. Guaranteed Ease of Maintenance

Clearly, buying in-app chat leaves no room for maintenance worries as the setup is fabricated to effortlessly handle new API releases, versioning, in-app feature requests, and server-side enhancements like a pro. Doing so, it eliminates the associated maintenance overhead costs and guarantees uptime via robust security and load balancing methods.

So, no more jump scares of peak load and user traffic for your in-app communication!

3. Low-cost Advantage

Although the in-app chat APIs & SDKs sound fancy in its mode of use, deployment, and effectiveness, it is easy on the pockets. Typically, one can save 4x the invested capital and work towards focusing their energy on in-house efforts and diversifying their chat solution across niche segments for profitable outcomes. 

4. Reliable Innovation at its Best

This simple logic of leveraging a tailor-made innovative solution rather than developing one from scratch is the clear winner owing to its competitive advantage and quick wins. These tailor-made APIs & SDKs are developed with enough leeway for future innovations, security, low latency, compliance and moderation aspects, so you can make the most of it in less time. 

Build vs Buy CTA

Building chat isn’t necessarily the best choice always

From the developer’s perspective, adding communication (chat) into an app should be an easy process that elevates engagement for you and your users.

When a trusted solution (APIs & SDKs based in-app communication) warrants faster time to market, cuts down on the investment proportion, eases real-time chat woes, and delivers a supreme user experience, then the choice is pretty clear for developers here. 

MirrorFly’s in-app chat APIs and SDKs get the job done smooth and easy through simplified integration and dedicated infrastructure setup. The powerful integration suite constantly adds up advanced features up its sleeve to brace the changing user needs across chat and technology.  

And if you’re aiming to get started with implementation, take a look at our FAQs for help all along.

Looks like it is time to relish the power of a rewarding suite up for grabs in the name of chat APIs & SDKs to beat the developer blues for a reliable, future-centric chat experience.


Sadhana is an avid reader and passionate writer who loves to pen down her thoughts on all things tech and new-age communication. Being a new-gen millennial herself, she loves creating mature, precise content that transcends better across the board.

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