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  3. How to implement a typing awareness indicator
2 min readUpdated Feb 8, 2023

How to implement a typing awareness indicator

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What is a typing indicator?

Typing indicators signify when other users’ are typing a message. It is a useful feature that provides a realtime typing view, and enables users to communicate efficiently. It sets user’s expectations that there will be a new interaction, such as a response in a live chat, or a new comment in a collaborative document.

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Where can I use Typing Indicators?

Typing indicators can add value to a range of live experiences. Some example use cases are:

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Advanced typing awareness indicator functionality

You can incorporate more functionality within your Typing Indicator such as:

  • Showing that multiple people are typing simultaneously

  • Showing who is typing a message if there are more than 2 users connected

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How to build realtime typing indicators

With Ably, it is easy to implement a typing awareness indicator.

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Step 1: Sign up to Ably

Visit our sign up page to start using Ably for free. Simply upgrade when you need to ramp up usage past 6M Monthly messages, 200 Peak concurrent channels, 200 Peak concurrent connections. Once you are signed up, download one of our SDKs to get started.

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Step 2: Start using Ably Channels and Presence

Ably Channels

Channel is the unit of distribution of messages. Channels can be used to segment the data. For example, different boards, different rooms in audience engagement tools etc. Users or their devices can subscribe to a specific or multiple channels.

Ably Presence

Presence allows you to automatically track who is present in a channel. This feature can be used to update user information such as whether they are typing or not. This will publish the update information to other clients.

You'll need to do the following to get started with adding a Typing Indicator to your chat application.

  • Implement the UI for the Typing Indicator

  • Create the logic to update the typing indicator status for each user

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Discover more collaborative features

Discover the other features you could use to deliver a rich collaborative experience, including:

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