Whatsapp Webhook Integration: 6 Easy Steps

on API, Data Integration, Tutorials, Web APIs, Webhook, whatsapp, Whatsapp API • October 26th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

Whatsapp Webhooks: Featured Image

WhatsApp is a free, multiplatform messaging app that lets you make video and voice calls, send text messages, and more — all with just a Wi-Fi connection. With over 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is especially popular among friends and family who live in different countries and want to stay in touch. WhatsApp’s global popularity is due in large part to its accessibility, cross-platform functionality, and simple, straightforward features. Whatsapp Webhooks is a more advanced of cross platform functionality.

webhook (also called a web callback or HTTP push API) is a way for an app to provide other applications with real-time information. A webhook delivers data to other applications as it happens, meaning you get data immediately. Unlike typical APIs where you would need to poll for data very frequently in order to get it real-time. This makes webhooks much more efficient for both provider and consumer. The only drawback to webhooks is the difficulty of initially setting them up.

This Article talks about Whatsapp Webhooks Connection.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Whatsapp

whatsapp webhook: whatsapp logo
Image Source: insider.com

WhatsApp is a free, multi-platform messaging app that lets users make voice and video calls, send text messages, share their status, and more with just a proper internet connection on their mobile device. it works on various phone and computer operating systems, this allows you to continue your conversation anytime, anywhere. It can also take advantage of Wi-Fi and cellular data to make one-on-one or group calls, reducing the need for expensive calling charges.

Features of Whatsapp                                           

whatsapp webhook: whatsapp features logo
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Free international calls

WhatsApp uses your phone’s cellular or Wi-Fi connection to facilitate messaging and voice calling to nearly anyone on the planet that uses Whatsapp. Whatsapp allows you to send messages to an Individual or in a group and this makes it nice for families and small collaborative workgroups. The app lets you make calls, send and receive messages, and share documents, photos, and videos. WhatsApp is completely free because it uses your phone’s 5G, 4G, 3G, 2G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi connection instead of your cell plan’s voice minutes or text plan. If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, it won’t eat into your data plan, either.

Easy chatting and calling over most platforms

WhatsApp is platform agnostic. You do not need to own the same brand of the phone as your call recipient or be on a specific platform — the app works with iPhone and Android phones and Mac or Windows desktop or laptop computers, which you can use to send and receive messages, but not make calls. Like any other SMS messenger, you can initiate a conversation with an individual or a group and video chat with up to eight people. The iOS version also has in-app support for video playback from both Instagram and Facebook.

You can also share your location, broadcast your status to your contacts, share contacts, set customized wallpapers and notification alerts, email chat history, use the camera to shoot photos and videos from within the app, and simultaneously broadcast messages to multiple contacts. You are always logged in so you never miss messages, but even if you miss notifications while your phone is off, the app saves recent messages for when you re-open the app.

Like iMessage for the iPhone, WhatsApp has a simple interface that showcases your chats in text bubbles complete with a timestamp and notifies you when your recipient has viewed your text.

WhatsApp can identify people in your contact list who currently use the app, so you typically don’t have to add them manually. You can also invite people who don’t have WhatsApp or connect with other users you know but who aren’t on your contact list. WhatsApp lets you create work, friends, or family groups to communicate with up to 256 participants. The app also lets you change your background and send your GPS location to the group through an interactive map.

Additionally, you can type in a status message or upload a photo in your status that will last up to 24 hours. It’s also quite adaptable, as you can block contacts from within the app or send a friend’s information to another user within the app. The app has a search function that lets you search by keyword, group, contact name, or phone number. You can also search for keywords in a conversation. WhatsApp is interoperable with Google so that you can save a copy of your message history to Google Drive or, if you are not on Google, to your phone’s memory. Should you lose critical messages, you can redownload and reinstall the app to find your lost messages.

Security

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Image Source: statuswhatsapp.co.in

WhatsApp has a number of advanced security features. It has end-to-end encryption, just like Apple’s iMessage and Signal. All messages flowing through the platform are secured so that only the sender and the recipient can view them. This means WhatsApp couldn’t read your message even if it wanted to. The app doesn’t store your personal information, and only people you approve as contacts can message you.

As with an increasing number of internet services like Google and Facebook, WhatsApp uses two-factor authentication, which has you type in a second passcode sent to your phone via text message to access your account. Group messages can conflict with some privacy settings, however, in that if you have blocked someone, they can still appear in a group message that you can see.

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Introduction to Webhooks

whatsapp webhook: webhooks logo
Image Source: miro.medium.com

Webhooks are automated messages sent from apps to your devices when something gets triggered inside the application interface. They have a message—or payload—and are sent to a unique URL—essentially the app’s phone number or address. Webhooks are almost always faster than polling and require less work on your end. They’re much like SMS notifications.

A webhook is a software architecture approach that allows applications and services to submit a web-based notification to other applications whenever a specific event occurs. The application provides a way for users to register or connect application programming interface calls to certain events under specific conditions, such as when a new user, account, or order is created or an order ships out of a warehouse.

Webhooks use requirements similar to If This Then That (IFTTT) statements. When an event triggers the webhook to “fire,” it calls another external API. This allows the application to “push” the knowledge of the event to any third party, such as an enterprise architecture integration (EAI) platform or directly to other applications.

Webhooks are transmitted via HTTP or HTTPS, usually as a POST request over a specific URL. The POST data is interpreted by the receiving application’s API, which triggers the requested action and sends a message to the original application to confirm the task is complete. The data sent is commonly formatted using JSON or XML.

Webhooks are user-defined HTTP callbacks. They are usually triggered by some event, such as receiving an SMS message or an incoming phone call. When that event occurs, Twilio makes an HTTP request (usually a POST or a GET) to the URL configured for the webhook.

To handle a webhook, you only need to build a small web application that can accept HTTP requests. Almost all server-side programming languages offer some framework for you to do this. Examples across languages include ASP.NET MVC for C#, Servlets and Spark for Java, Express for Node.js, Django and Flask for Python, and Rails and Sinatra for Ruby. PHP has its web app framework built-in, although frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, and Yii are also popular.

Benefits of webhooks

Because webhooks notify other systems when an event occurs, changes are event-driven and made in near-real-time. A continuous integration system using webhooks might send a message to the security team only when a build failure is due to a security problem, for example. This can “push” information onto the screens of the security team, instead of causing them to search for it periodically in other systems. It can also allow systems to synchronize in near-real-time, instead of overnight or in a batch.

An alternative to a webhook is a polling process. A polling process has a program wait five or 10 minutes, then calls an API for a list of recent transactions, adding any new ones to a list and processing them. This assumes the API provides a list of recent transactions.

Uses and examples of webhooks

Webhooks are a simple way to make an API accessible to make or receive calls or send text-based responses to users when specific events occur within the application. Platforms that support webhooks include Facebook, Github, Trello, Confluence, and Google Calendar.

Practical uses of webhooks can include:

  • Daily automatic email reminders for meetings
  • Confirmations of processed and completed payments
  • Sync changes in customer data between applications

Webhooks are very common on the internet of things (IoT), where a sensor might notice a change in temperature and call the air conditioning system. A motion sensor could send a message to a security system or generate noise to simulate a barking dog, for example.

Whatsapp Webhooks Connection

Understanding Webhooks

You can use these Whatsapp webhooks in two ways:

  • Inbound Notifications: Use it to get a notification when you have received a message.
  • Message Status Notifications: Monitor the status of sent messages.

If a Whatsapp webhook event isn’t delivered for any reason (e.g., the client is offline) or if the Whatsapp webhook request returns a HTTP status code other than 200, retry the Whatsapp webhook delivery is perform. Also continuing retrying delivery with increasing delays up to a certain timeout (typically 24 hours, though this may vary), or until the delivery succeeds.

Components

WhatsApp Business API Client Webhooks have a top-level array field indicating what is being communicated. The members of the array are JSON objects with detailed fields relevant to the Webhook:

Messages: Used to notify you when you get a new message and what is in the new message.

Statuses: Used to notify you when there’s a status change in a message you sent.

Errors: When there are any out-of-band errors that occur in the normal operation of the application, the errors array provides a description of the error. This type of error can be caused by transient network connectivity errors, invalid credentials, management controllers in unavailable status, etc.

See Components for all available Whatsapp webhook objects.

Requirements

To deploy a live Whatsapp Webhook that can receive Whatsapp Webhook events from the WhatsApp Business API, your code must have the following:

  • HTTPS support
  • A valid SSL certificate

For information about uploading and retrieving Whatsapp Webhooks CA Certificate, see the Certificates documentation.

Configure Notifications Settings

Following the instructions in the Application Settings documentation, configure the following settings for Whatsapp Webhooks notifications:

Settings OptionDescription
webhooksRequired when you are using Whatsapp Webhooks. Provide the URL for your Webhook. If the Whatsapp Webhook URL is not set, then callbacks are dropped. See the Sample Testing App for a simple way to see and test your Whatsapp Webhooks.
You can validate Whatsapp Webhook events by specifying a shared secret as a query parameter when you set the Webhook URL. Example: https://url?auth='[shared_secret]’.
sent_statusSpecify if you want to receive notifications when a message is received by the server. By default, these notifications are set to off.
callback_persistSelect whether to store callbacks on disk until they are successfully acknowledged by the Whatsapp Webhook or not. Notifications that are not successful (no HTTPS 200 response) are retried indefinitely. Use this setting to configure the retry.

Network Rules

The WhatsApp Business API Client sends the Whatsapp Webhook callbacks to you via the Coreapp container. Therefore, your Whatsapp Webhook endpoint needs to be configured to accept inbound requests from the Coreapp.

Sample Testing App

One way to see the messages sent to your Whatsapp Webhook is to create a cross-platform runtime environment (node.js) and run a server-side JavaScript application (server.js) to implement endpoint handler code to parse the JSON format. The handler will route inbound and outbound message notifications to your Webhook.

You can use any tool of your choice to see your Whatsapp Webhook in action. We have provided a sample node.js application created in Glitch that you can replicate. Upon “remixing” the project, you will have a new project that uses Express to expose Whatsapp Webhook endpoints that the WhatsApp Business API Client can send to.

  1. Click this Remix on Glitch button: 
  2. Once the project is created, the URL will be in the form of https://<project-name>.glitch.me (or simply click Show App at the top to navigate to the URL).
  3. Select server.js in the left navigation pane to see the Webhook endpoint implementation.
  4. Click on the Status button in the left navigation pane. You will see that your app is listening on a specific port.
  5. Use the Application Settings to set the Whatsapp Webhook URL to point to your newly created project (Step 2 above). Append /webhook to the project URL as that is the endpoint being exposed (i.e., https://<project-name.glitch.me/webhook).
  6. Send a message or send yourself a test message to see the notification. The following example of the log shows a received text message with a body of “Hi” and a sent message with updated status of sent then delivered, then read.
Incoming webhook: {"messages":[{"from":"1234567890","id":"ABGGhSkIc2B_Ago-sDy5BNm-1gI5","text":{"body":"Hi"},"timestamp":"1529381066","type":"text"}]}
Incoming webhook: {"statuses":[{"id":"gBGGhSkIc2B_AgkXDygfSDwgG5s","recipient_id":"1234567890","status":"sent","timestamp":"1529381072"}]}
Incoming webhook: {"statuses":[{"id":"gBGGhSkIc2B_AgkXDygfSDwgG5s","recipient_id":"1234567890","status":"delivered","timestamp":"1529381072"}]}
Incoming webhook: {"statuses":[{"id":"gBGGhSkIc2B_AgkXDygfSDwgG5s","recipient_id":"1234567890","status":"read","timestamp":"1529381076"}]}

Conclusion

This article gave a comprehensive guide on Whatsapp and Webhooks. It also gave a step-by-step guide on Whatsapp Webhooks Connections.

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