Today we’re happy to announce the public availability of our new Client API—a REST and WebSocket API that lets anyone build browser-based messaging applications for web and desktop.

Its release comes at the end of several months of beta testing. Three hundred developers took part in our early access program, and a number of companies have already released applications that use the new API, most notably Udacity, who saw a 25% boost in goal achievement when they added group chat to their mobile and web applications.

Our Client API is available today, and documentation can be found here:
http://developer.layer.com/docs/client

What is the Client API?

The Layer Client API is a set of APIs for building messaging clients on any web-enabled platform, including browsers and desktop applications. It bundles together a REST API for authentication and interacting with Conversations and Messages, and a bidirectional WebSocket API for real-time updates. These APIs serve as the underpinnings of the forthcoming JavaScript SDK.

What can be built with it?

The most straightforward use for our Client API is to create a complementary browser-based version of your mobile app, offering the same functionality but on a different platform (mirroring the experiences your users may have had with web versions of WhatsApp, Telegram, or Facebook Messenger). Some applications package this as a native desktop app wrapped around a web view.

Alternatively businesses may require a two-sided, asymmetrical application, where different users have different application experiences. Examples of these asymmetrical interfaces include:

  • Logistics — a dispatcher is given a large administrative dashboard, while mobile users (drivers and riders) have application experiences that are specific to their needs
  • Customer support — one agent has dozens of tickets, but a user may only have one support ticket
  • Concierge shopping — a personal shopper is paired with several individual users, who each have only one shopper
  • Coaching — connecting personal trainers to clients, where trainers have different options from clients

Layer for Web: Client API, SDK, UI Kit

Today’s release of our Client API is the first step towards what will eventually become Layer for Web—a complete toolkit for building messaging applications on the web. Steps two and three, a JavaScript SDK and accompanying Web UI Kit, will be open sourced and released in the same fashion as the Client API; a small early access program followed by a public beta.

If you’d like to help test our JavaScript SDK in the coming weeks, please fill out this quick 2 minute form, and let us know your plans for developing with it.

As for the Client API, we can’t wait to see what you build with it.