Gone are the days of trusting other companies to secure your private messages. We’ve got advice for anyone seeking a truly private messenger app.
Ask anyone who has used “private” messenger apps and they’ll tell you that their information has most likely been stolen or used in some unintended way. The belief that free apps would ultimately protect your 10 second message is now gone. These days, companies have an extremely hard time controlling a user’s privacy and users are starting to take notice – quickly shifting from one product to the other once the trust has eroded. A mobile user’s demand has shifted from “I have 1000 friends” to “I’d rather talk to my real friends”.
User Created Messenger Apps
There are already a number of companies trying to capitalize on a more intimate messaging experience to decrease the privacy violation concerns. Nevertheless, mobile app users are still trying to build their own private messenger apps, not because they can make over $1billion dollars, but because they crave more privacy and control. With so many iterations on photo sharing / messenger apps, it is become increasingly obvious that there aren’t many barriers to build these types of apps, even if you’re not an expert programmer.
Building your private Messenger App
Despite the belief that building an app is a challenging ordeal, especially if you don’t know how to program, Rheti is proving that anyone can build their own social media (or messenger apps) through their platform which utilizes the latest scripting methodologies and gesture-oriented design. In other words, if you have a smart phone, you simply select from a catalog of features and templates, and decorate it as you see fit. To get started, simply download Rheti from the Google Play store and follow the steps below:
First, find your template
Rheti offers a catalog of free templates that users can modify to build their own applications. Starting from an already pre-built template is the easiest way to go, unless you’re one of those people that would rather build from scratch. For this example, we will use a template called “Snapper”.
Second, tie into Facebook and Parse
This template has a Facebook login and friend functionality while it also utilizes Parse as its backend. If you don’t have accounts on any of these services, you will need to set them at Facebook.com and Parse.com respectively.
1) Go to the Facebook Developer Console.
- Now that you have created an app, and assigned it a name, go to settings and select “add Platform”
- Inside the “Site URL” write in: http://rheti.com
- Write in the same in the section “mobile site URL”.
2) Go to Parse and create an app
- Copy the App Key, Client Key and the Rest API key as you will need to input them in Rheti services section.
- Go to the Rheti Services section (accessed by opening up the Rheti menu on the home screen or by swiping from left to right while inside the template)
3) Inside the Rheti builder (with the template already opened), swipe from left to right to view in live mode. Once in live, facebook login should already be working, as well as your Parse data.
Third, change your Data Feeds in the template
1) Start off with your Content Providers (don’t worry if the terminology scares you) – these are the boxes where your information coming from Parse and Facebook will be displayed.
- Go to the page titled “Invite a Friend”. Tap on the main part of the screen and an orange frame (indicating an item selected) plus its name “Feed List1” shows up. Tap and hold on that object to bring up the control panel. Then click on the cloud icon. This opens up the Data screen.
- In the data screen, select the option “facebook” on the top list.
- Fill out the dialog and make sure “Friend List” is selected in the spinner; click OK. I named it “Facebook Friends”
- Notice that in the list below, a new item has appeared with the name you previously gave to your Friend list item (in my case “Facebook Friends”). Find it, and then click on the “+” sign. This will bring up a dialog asking you for a title to name the Friend List view you are about to design. Name it however you want, select all the information you want to appear on that list view “Friend Picture, Friend Name” should be enough and then click OK.
- Design how you want each row on your friend list to appear. Place the picture on the left, right, add different colors, change the text…etc. Once you are done, click on the “Save” icon on the top right.
- Back on the Data list view, find the view you just created (“Facebook Friends”), click on the down arrow to expand that list, on the list you just created, click on the download icon (arrow).
- IMPORTANT: As we just created a new list view we need to replace the one that’s currently in the screen. Therefore, when this dialog opens up after you have selected to download your facebook list, simply select “Facebook Content Provider1”. If you select “New” you will have to make more changes.
Repeat the same steps for the “Send To” screen. Edit your Data feed, change the view, and assign it a new Content Provider.
That’s it for Facebook, now let’s do the same for Parse. It will be a little harder since we have to assign the right columns from Parse into the app.
- Go to the Data screen and select Parse from it.
- Add your Class Name – make sure it matches what was created under your Parse.com account and begin to add New Fields. These will have to include
- “media” and select “File” in the spinner
- “receiver” and select “String” in the spinner
- “sender” and select “String” in the spinner
- “time” and select “String” in the spinner
- “sender_name” and select “String” in the spinner
- NOTE: make sure that these were created in Parse.com first and then on your data screen. Also make sure you have added the Class name as it was online
- Finally, go to the app, Go to the “My Media” page and replace the content provider (following the same steps you did with the Facebook content providers) should be “Content Provider 2″ and replace it with the new Parse “My Media” data feed you created in the Data screen.
Edit your app’s look and feel (UI)
In Rheti, you can add buttons, pictures, background images, and different fonts throughout your app. Make sure you edit the app’s icon, action bar colors, and anything else that might want to make your app unique.
Finally, publish it
Once you’re done, you can preview your app in live mode to make sure everything is working correctly. If you’re ready, simply select “Get APK” from the swiping menu and within minutes, Rheti will email you the app for you to use and share with whomever you wish (your group of friends, your significant other, or even your family)
That’s all it takes to make sure you have your own Snap Chat or private messenger app. With it, you can control who has access to it, what information is shared, and ultimately make sure that your information is much safer.
Founded in 2012, Rheti’s Android application is proving that any person can build a great mobile application. Rheti requires no previous programming knowledge and leverages a catalog of hundreds of features, third party APIs, and pre-built app templates to create native Android apps using touch commands. Customers who build apps using Rheti get to market 90% faster and can quickly customize their apps to make them unique in both functionality and design. Users interested in learning how to program are also able to use Rheti’s blockly interface to understand the methodologies behind scripting. Rheti is available for free in the Google Play store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rheti.appcreator.
Please visit http://www.rheti.com for more information.