How does your app communicate with the world?

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A lot of times the apps we work on need to communicate outside of themselves. How does your app speak with your users or the world? Is email your preferred method? SMS? WhatsApp? Does it make a difference what you are communicating or where you are communicating?

Where I live in Israel almost all communication from apps is done via SMS. Email communication comes in a distant second, while WhatsApp is used for just about all personal communication.

What about you? What do you build with? What do you prefer?

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I don't have a preference, but the decision I make is based entirely on the user. As for the what you are communicating vs where are communicating, I think the "what" has a heavy influence on the "where":

  • There are situations where an email is the expected format, such as newsletters, marketing messages, etc. The trick is to avoid being considered spam, which is extremely difficult.
  • Text message can seem invasive and lack rich formatting options, but in terms of sending quick short-text notifications they're the only universal choice, as you only need to have a phone that supports text messaging, which just about all phones do.
  • If it's a native app, I use native notifications as much as possible to avoid SMS fees as well as the email spam problem.
  • I have never integrated with Whatsapp as the opportunity has not arisen for me to do so. I wrote a heavy-weight chat app years ago, but that was before the Whatsapp was dominant. If I were building it again today, I think Whatsapp integration is a core requirement.
  • If it's a web app with messaging capabilities that users are guaranteed to use daily (e.g. an enterprise productivity app), then I would use web push notifications as much as possible.
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Ben Greenberg profile image
Rabbi turned Coder. Second Career Dev taking it one function at a time.