WhatsApp’s nascent sticker feature has amassed a fervour of amateur and professional developers creating Sticker Apps in the Play Store. Here’s how you can create your own app and possibly begin monetising your creations.
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WhatsApp’s sticker functionality has witnessed a substantial amount of traction amongst its 200 million users since its recent advent. However, the limited stickers provided by WhatsApp seem rather lacklustre. WhatsApp has now allowed third-party applications to create apps with sticker packs that can be integrated within the app itself. Creators and developers can design their own stickers for WhatsApp and effectively package them into an Android or iOS app. This creates an avenue for users to share their creations with the world and even monetise their creations by distributing the apps on the Play Store or the App Store.
A plethora of WhatsApp sticker pack apps on the Play Store
However, to integrate your stickers into their WhatsApp the users will be required to download your application and keep it in the app drawer to ensure usability in WhatsApp. Ensure that you adhere to the general standards of stickers on WhatsApp by creating legal, acceptable and authorized stickers. You can read their terms of service here.
WhatsApp has provided a sample code that allows users to create sticker apps with minimal or possibly even no level of coding knowledge required. This allows tech-enthusiasts who are sometimes novices to build an app that could feature on the Play Store or App Store with their customized creations free for the world to use.
It is essential for users to follow certain requirements and abide by certain restrictions before creating a sticker app to ensure that the creations are compatible and well-structured for WhatsApp to successfully integrate them. Here are a few guidelines you must pay heed to while creating your sticker art.
WhatsApp boasts a few packs of preinstalled stickers
Maintain a 16-pixel gap between the sticker art and the canvas
Try to keep the size of your PNG file as low as you can
It is highly recommended to reduce the size of your PNG file to facilitate faster loading times and lesser data consumption. WhatsApp’s in-house stickers are about 15KB each which seems to be the optimal size. There are a few methods that have proved successful in reducing the size of these images.
You will need to convert your PNG image to WebP format
To create stickers for WhatsApp, you must convert your PNG images to WebP. This format usually does a stellar job in retaining image quality alongside reducing the file size which is a preferred state for stickers. You can convert your PNGs to WebP using a few different methods.
Android Studio will let you convert to WebP easily
Note: While running tests, we found that Android Studio works best to convert the PNGs into webp files. We faced some errors while trying the other methods, however, they have worked for a large audience.
Get your developer gloves on! We can now get started with constructing the app for your very own sticker pack for WhatsApp. You will need to download Android Studio, as well as the Sample Code zip file. Using the Sample Code, you will only need to minimally modify it to create your basic yet functional sticker pack app.
Replace all existing files with your own sticker WebP files and PNG tray icon
Next, you will need to navigate to the assets folder yet again and modify some of the metadata in the contents.json file with your own. This is necessary since most of this data will show up in the app you create. You certainly do not want the WhatsApp ‘cuppy’ sticker being part of your sticker pack, do you?
Replace all the essential components listed below in the contents.json file
There are a few final steps that need to be taken care of before submitting your sticker pack app for WhatsApp. Let’s hit a home run on these!
Simply input your PNG file in the tab named ‘path’
After completing all the aforementioned steps, make sure that you run and test the app in Android Studio which will run checks. If there is any error, you will be able to see it in the logcat. If not, the app will launch and display all your sticker packs.
This is how the finished product should look
A release version of your app must be created before submission to the Play Store. Click on Build > Generate Signed Bundle/APK. Android Studio will go ahead and save your APK in project-name/module-name/build/outputs/apk. During the process of preparing your app for submission, you will receive the option to add a description to your app. Add the keyword WAStickerApps here to make sure that your app will be easily located during a search. Don’t shy away from using additional keywords as well. The more, the better.
Stickers will appear in your WhatsApp once you have downloaded the app and added it to your collection
Finally, to submit your app you will need to sign up for a Google Play developer account, accept the developer distribution agreement and pay the one-time registration fee and enter your account details. Follow the instructions on how to submit your app to the Play Store here.
You can now show off your very own WhatsApp Sticker Pack app to your friends and family. You may even be able to possibly monetise your creations if your app gets enough traction. If that’s not incentive to try this out, then what is? Get to creating and share some of your WhatsApp Sticker Apps with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Perpetually sporting a death stare, this one can be seen tinkering around with her smartphone which she holds more dear than life itself and stuffing her face with copious amounts of bacon.
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