5 min readUpdated Jul 11, 2024

Say hello to Ably Chat: A new product optimized for large-scale chat interactions

TL;DR: Today, we're excited to announce the private beta launch of our new chat product! Ably Chat bundles purpose-built APIs for all the chat features your users need in a range of realtime applications, from global livestreams operating at extreme scale to customer support chats embedded within your apps. It is powered by Ably’s reliable global platform with proven performance guarantees and scalability.

Request a beta invite now to give it a try!

We’ve had the privilege of working with a wide range of customers including global retailers, CRM vendors, sports franchises, creators, entertainers, and broadcasters - from HubSpot and SportsBet, to 17Live and InvitePeople - providing them with reliable, scalable and low-latency chat. Ably Pub/Sub is already a fantastic fit for a variety of chat use cases. But we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we can better help developers to overcome the many challenges of delivering chat features to market quickly, at scale and in an economically viable way.

That’s why we're excited to kick off the private beta for our new chat product.

What is Ably Chat

Ably chat is designed to meet a wide range of chat use cases, such as livestreams, in-game communication, customer support, or social interactions in SaaS products. Built on Ably's core service, it abstracts complex details to enable efficient chat architectures.

Ably Chat comes with purpose-built APIs for a host of chat features enabling you to create 1:1, 1:many, many:1 and many:many chat rooms for any scale; have users send and receive messages; and see the online status of the users in the room or the occupancy i.e. how many people are there in total. You can also build typing indicators, and room level reactions. We are actively working on other features like moderation and the ability to update and interact with chat messages.

Check out the documentation for a sneak peek of the functionality offered at this stage. If there are other chat features you'd like us to prioritize, please let us know.

What Ably Chat looks like

//Connect to a chat room with any number of participants
const room = chatClient.rooms.get('basketball-stream', { reactions: reactionsConfig });
await room.attach();

//Subscribe to chat messages
const {unsubscribe} = room.messages.subscribe(message) => {

//Subscribe to room reactions
const {unsubscribe} = room.reactions.subscribe((reaction) => {

//Send a chat message
await room.messages.send('That was such a cool shot!');
//Send a room reaction
await room.reactions.send({ type: 'like', metadata: { effect: 'fireworks' } });

Check out the live demo to play with it yourself!

Why Ably Chat

When Ably started in 2016, our goal was to make realtime interactions a key part of digital experiences. Now, we have a mature, battle tested WebSockets platform that gives us the freedom to focus on creating user-centric features that meet your needs in the best way possible. This approach unlocks many benefits for users of Ably Chat, and other products:

Composable realtime

A truly great realtime experience often involves combining multiple features together - chat, live updates, collaboration, notifications and more! Unlike chat-specific products or building your own solution from scratch, Ably offers the best of both worlds - full flexibility to build what you want, rapidly.

Whilst we will keep adding new features into our SDKs we know we’ll never be able to satisfy every unique use-case possible. That’s why we are also evolving our product suite to give you the flexibility to mix and match APIs and create what you need, exactly the way you want to, quickly and efficiently.

Dependable by design

We’ve built a realtime experience platform that ensures predictability of latencies. It is designed to preserve continuity of service at a regional and global level, ensuring capacity and availability. This allows you to maintain varying levels of scale seamlessly. Finally, data integrity comes baked in with message guarantees for ordering and exactly once delivery. This enables you to focus on your application and the user experience, with no infrastructure to build or manage.

Cost optimizations

A realtime platform needs to be able to support reliable chat at extreme scale, but must do so cost effectively. Typically, as chat usage (especially concurrent usage) increases, so does the cost per user. Cost optimizations and affordability of technology have been top of mind for us when designing the roadmap. With the upcoming batching and aggregation features you can maintain a low and stable cost per user. Additionally, Ably’s pricing model has been built for operations at scale with customisations such as hourly billing, usage based pricing and volume discounts.

All these abstractions and optimizations ultimately mean one thing — you spend less time figuring out the design patterns for good efficiency and a great user experience.

Get started with Ably Chat

Stay tuned for more updates and features as we roll out this new initiative. Sign up for the chat private beta to access new features early and collaborate on upcoming functionality to shape our roadmap. We're just getting started, and there's plenty more to come!

Join the Ably newsletter today

1000s of industry pioneers trust Ably for monthly insights on the realtime data economy.
Enter your email