What is the Chat SDK?
Chat creates a personal connection with customers looking for support. It's a fast and effective way of offering help without interrupting the customer experience or moving them away from your apps.
The Zendesk Chat SDK is a quick and convenient way to embed Zendesk Chat into your iOS and Android mobile apps and make chatting with support agents easy for your end-users. The Chat SDK is fully native so customers don't have to deal with ugly web views or complicated implementation flows.
Integrating Chat into a new or existing project takes only a few lines of code. The Chat SDK combines this simplicity with the flexibility to make the chat interface look and feel like the rest of your app.
What is the new Chat SDK v2?
The previous version of the Chat SDK has been around for a couple of years. Over this time, we listened to your feedback, feature requests, and pain points to improve the Chat SDK and the mobile experience for your customers.
Today we're proudly announcing the new Chat SDK v2, a completely re-written version of the Zendesk Chat SDKs for iOS and Android, focusing heavily on reliability, stability, and performance.
The new Chat SDK v2 is built on top of our new Unified SDK, which allows for the interoperability of the Chat SDK with other Zendesk SDKs. As a customer, you can keep using the Zendesk Chat SDK v2 as a standalone product if you wish, but you can also integrate it with other Zendesk products like Answer Bot and Support, offering a unified experience for your customers.
What are the new features of the Chat SDK v2?
Some major improvements in this new version of our Chat SDK v2 include:
- Real-time queue position updates: No more fixed queue positions. Your customers can now check their queue position in real-time. You can also completely customize and even hide the queue position.
- Ending a chat on a visitor’s behalf with a callback: As an integrator, you now have more control over the chat session lifecycle, a major request from previous versions of the Chat SDK.
- Improved connection and chat session stability: Chat SDK v2 is made with reliability and stability in mind. The chat sessions lifecycle were completely remade to make them more reliable for our mobile platforms.
- Completely new and updated UI: The SDK’s UI components have been totally remade and have a more contemporary look.
- Answer Bot integration: Answer Bot can automatically answer common questions your customers ask, saving your agents time.
- Conversational data capture: Our pre-chat and offline forms are now conversational, and data is captured directly inside the conversation, giving your customers a modern messaging-like experience.
- Less dependency on external components: The new SDK relies less on external dependencies (like Apple's UIWebView). This means a more stable, durable, and smaller Chat SDK for your app.
- Expanded internationalization: Chat SDK v2 now supports 33 languages, with full Right-To-Left languages support.
- Enhanced developer's experience: A series of improvements were also made to improve our developer's experience like improved error handling on APIs, new APIs for requested Chat lifecycle events, full technical documentation of APIs with Jazzy and Java docs for iOS and Android, and a lot of other smaller improvements.
- JWT end-user authentication: The Chat SDK v2.8.0 iOS or later and v3.0.0 Android or later supports user authentication so that you can authenticate your Chat users for more familiar and secure interactions. More information on implementing this functionality can be found here. For detailed developer documentation, see: iOS | Android.
How and when should I migrate to the new Chat SDK v2?
For existing, already published apps
The migration to Chat SDK v2 is not an automatic process. You will need to enlist your mobile developers to help you with the migration. But it's not a complex process though and we have a full migration guide available for Android and iOS.
You also don’t need to migrate right now, but we highly recommend that you plan for the migration in the upcoming months, especially on iOS. Apple announced recently that UIWebView (a core component of the Chat SDK v1) will be fully deprecated by December/2020 and, after that, no new app updates will be possible on iOS with Chat SDK v1.
Note: Apple have postponed the deprecation of UIWebView until a date in the future.
For new apps, not yet published on the app stores
If you're developing a new mobile app, you should definitely use Chat SDK v2. Due to the UIWebView deprecation, you won't be able to publish new apps in the iOS App Store with Chat SDK v1.
What versions of iOS and Android does Chat SDK v2 support?
While Chat SDK v1 supports iOS 9 as the minimum version of iOS, Chat SDK v2 supports iOS 10 and up. The reason behind that change to largely to ensure the the SDK is more reliable for the end-user, and we take advantage of several technical improvements that came with iOS 10. If you have concerns relating to this level of support during your migration, we can work with your team to mitigate concerns around support levels.
For Android, there is no change in the minimum version that we support. For both Chat SDK v1 and Chat SDK v2 the minimum version is 16.
Awesome! How can I start?
Read our detailed docs about Chat SDK v2 for Android and iOS. If you want to use multiple SDK products together (like using Answer Bot SDK deflection together with Chat SDK v2), check our Unified SDK documentation for Android and iOS. You may also wish to follow this Developer Community post in order to receive email notifications regarding new SDK versions to ensure that your integration always stays up-to-date in the future.