WeChat announced last night that it has upgraded its mini programs’ user experience and developers’ tools.

Here are some of the changes:

  1. The programs now allow users to read articles published by subscription accounts linked to the programs. The new update will allow a user to read an article published by the account when shopping in the account’s registered mini program. However, current service doesn’t include tipping an account from a mini program. A non-subscriber shopper cannot subscribe to the subscription account from the mini program entry.
  2. Mini programs now allow users to put down real-time feedback in a mini program. A developer will be able to read users’ comments and operation records from the backend.
  3. In-program font functions are also improved for better user visual experience.
  4. TabBar in a mini program will allow display of numbers or red dot notifications, to remind users to check new messages and information.

The new functions also aim to improve developers’ experience as much as possible, such as:

  1. Access to cloud code management service TGit, similar to GitHub.
  2. The system enables the separation of 3 major development scenes to allow developers to work on programing projects on different screens.
  3. The system supports the direct launch of mini programs on user end of WeChat version 6.6.7 and above.

According to local media, in early 2018, daily active users (DAU) of WeChat mini games hit 170 million, and the monthly active users (MAU) hit 430 million. The number of developers involved surpassed 1 million.

WeChat mini programs are getting traction in China

The Chinese governments are also experimenting public services in the strong mini program trend. By the end of October 2018, users can use WeChat mini program “Tencent Car-taking Code (腾讯乘车码)” to pay for all bus service in Shanghai. The digital payment can be completed in 0.2 seconds. Now, 2,000 buses in Shanghai are available for mini program pay.

The mini programs are also providing quick and convenient commercial opportunities for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) players. By offering WeChat platform and access to billions of users, WeChat is building an ecosystem enabling technology and its penetration into real-time social and individual needs.

Runhua Zhao is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Connect with her via email: runhuazhao@technode.com

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