In response to one of the most popular requests from our community, we recently rolled out support for large rooms in Chatkit.

Now, you can use Chatkit to create rooms with up to 500 members, which is a 5x increase from the 100 members our SDK initially supported. As a result of this new capability, we’re certain that our customers will unlock many new exciting use cases for interactive in-app messaging—and we can’t wait to see what those are.

How big is a 500-user chatroom, really?

For some perspective, Chatkit’s chat rooms are now twice as big as groups in WhatsApp (up to 256 users), and 5x larger than what is offered in competing products.

The new and improved large chatrooms come with all the features you know and love in Chatkit – including typing indicators, user presence, read cursors, rich media messages, push notifications, unread counts, webhooks, and more.

Simply put, there isn’t any other large chatroom on the market that delivers the same high-end user experiences. All other offerings only give you a bare-bones subset of features like the ability to send messages without advanced features like presence, typing indicators, or unread counts (e.g., “Twitch-style” rooms).

Case study – Education

As an example, large chat rooms can be particularly beneficial for educational use cases.

With Chatkit, up to 500 staffers and students enrolled in the same course can now communicate with their peers throughout a semester, for instance. Whether they’re at a university, high school, MOOC, or special interest group, students and staff can share high levels of context—with common schedules, materials, and assignments—directly in a persistent chat room

It’s not uncommon for hundreds of students to be enrolled in the same class at large colleges. Now, thanks to Chatkit, a Physics 101 class with up to 500 students and faculty members can stay connected to peers and staff, communicating with them in real time to enhance the educational experience. Whether that involves asking questions, sharing notes or insights, coordinating projects, or more, Chatkit can power it.

What’s more, Chatkit’s Roles function enables you to assign different levels of permissions for teaching staff and students. This feature gives faculty the ability to invite external members to the chatroom or mute students during exams, for example.

Of course, education is far from the only industry that can benefit from large chat rooms. Chatkit can power many more use cases, including cross-department collaboration for entire businesses, streamlining communication for production lines in factories, increasing user engagement ahead of and after events, and much more.

How to create large rooms with Chatkit

Using the new large rooms feature in Chatkit is straightforward, as the public API hasn’t changed.
Whether you’re using one of our SDKs, or the HTTP API directly, you can still add and invite members in the exact same way. Everything will work just as you’d expect.

Chatkit supports several ways of adding users to rooms:

  • On the server you can use createRoom and add users to it at the time of creation, or addUsersToRoom to add users at some point in the future.
  • Using the client SDK, you can also use createRoom and addUserToRoom just like you would on the server. You can also use the joinRoom call which lets the current user join a particular room.

For more information on how you can use Chatkit to deliver stronger experiences to your users, check out our docs.