Click to chat [small, no ads] - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

I've been programming since high school, mostly on my free time. I started developing small android apps for fun, and this was one of them, which got popular. I now work as a professional programmer, but I keep doing side projects.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

Making sure that even the smallest changes don't break anything for specific users. Android is a very fragmented platform and I don't use any libraries so I need to be extra careful to make sure the app is at least usable in all configurations. When I push an update I always check the play store developer console for any unusual error reports.

TrianguloY is a free-time Android developer, and the single author of the Click to chat app (except for translations, contributed by users).

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

The favorite, by far, is Lightning launcher. It already was the most configurable launcher ever, and later the developer added the ability to write scripts to change anything imaginable. I was very involved in its community and even helped the developer personally. Unfortunately, it is now mostly abandoned, but I still use it. Other favorite apps (ignoring very known ones) are DNS66, DiskUsage, Planet Quest, Swype keyboard, and Tasker; either because I use or have used them in the past actively.

How long have you been working on this app?

The app was developed in just a few days, and on 14 April 2017 (more than 4 years ago) version 1.0 was published with basically only a textbox and a button. Since then I've been updating it, improving and adding requested features, fixing bugs, adding user translations, and doing code cleanup. All in my free time (and when not developing other projects). I think I've been able to publish a version each month, more or less.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

When WhatsApp added the Click to chat feature it consisted of a long and easily forgettable URL, whose format you needed to remember. I thought that making a small app to help you fill it could be very useful, and in fact, it was. Since then the URL has changed to a shorter and easier one, but my app also has gained other helpful features like a searchable country code list or a recently opened numbers agenda, so I guess it is still useful even if you don't necessarily need it.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

To be honest I don't really know how other similar apps are. I know I was one of the first (if not the first) app with this feature, and clones quickly started to appear, some even blatant copies (with ads) of my version. I tried to avoid it, but I quickly realized that's impossible so I now simply ignore them. What my app always brought and will bring is the lack of ads or any other advertisement (which some said was a mistake, but I don't regret it at all and I'm happier with the few donations I receive).
Additionally, a common comment in reviews is that my app is very fast. I guess that's because I don't use any external library nor extra unwanted features, and I'm very proud of it. The core of the app is an extremely small and efficient way to perform its purpose: to help you open a WhatsApp chat with any valid number.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

I plan to keep doing what I've been doing in the past 4 years: maintaining and improving it when I have the time to do it. When I'm no longer able to do it, I plan to publish the source code so the community hopefully can continue its legacy. As for features...I usually make small changes which sometimes end being bigger than expected, some even suggested by users, so unfortunately I can't say what the future will bring because even I don't know. Some features that I want to add, but not sure if I'll be able to, are: improving how numbers are displayed and formatted, allowing to open dual versions, and adding a widget for even faster access.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

If you want an app with a specific feature, make a search and try different versions first to find the best for you. Don't settle on the first result and move on, especially if it's a sponsored and an ad-bloated 100MB 'pretty' app. Try to find the one that best works for you, and even better if it's open source or with the strictly required permissions. They may be hard to find, but they usually exist.

Click to chat [small, no ads]

About App:

Did you know you can open a chat in WhatsApp with any number without saving first into contacts by opening in your browser the link 'wa.me/123456789' (using the prefix+number desired)?

Source: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/26000030/

Originally that link was longer and more difficult to remember, so I made this tiny app to help in the process.

Since then I have added multiple functionalities (enter the message, share the link, list of country codes, create a shortcut, save recent and pinned, open recent calls via an add-on, and a few more) but always with these three principles:

1) Make the smaller app possible. This means no extra unrelated content, no extra libraries, and no useless things. Currently, its size is around 100KB=0.1MB. Less than a standard picture!
2) Use as few permissions as possible. Only the create_shortcut permission is used, nothing else! (no calls, no storage, no internet).
3) No ads. I hate ads. I will never add ads, adware, spyware, user tracking, or other nasty stuff.

If you want a small tool to help you open numbers in WhatsApp, try it. If you prefer an app that sends your data to Google, there are clones out there.

I'm aware some users are using the app for business purposes. I'm glad my app is helping you be more productive, but please if you are using the app for commercial purposes consider supporting it. I want this little personal project to keep being free without ads nor purchases app, and the progress and updates are based on the reception and support from you. There is a donation version that you can buy to help the development:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.trianguloy.openInWhatsapp.donation

[New: There is now a web version, compatible with WhatsApp Web:
https://trianguloy.github.io/OpenInWhatsapp_Web/ ]

Disclaimer: This app is not affiliated with nor endorsed by WhatsApp Inc.
Previous name: "Open in WhatsApp (click to chat)", changed to comply with WhatsApp guidelines.

Categories: Tools

Date: August 26, 2021

Developer: TrianguloY

About developer: TrianguloY is a free-time Android developer, and the single author of the Cl ... Read more

Website: https://triangularapps.blogspot.com/

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