Open Source Platform Emojidex Offers “Emojis-As-A-Service”

Like them or not, emojis are turning into the mobile era’s lingua franca. Now a project called emojidex is offering “emojis-as-a-service,” with a platform that lets developers share new emojis with each other and add them to their websites and apps.

The platform is “the first service that lets anyone register their own emojis,” claims founder Rei Kagetsuki.

“Beyond that, we are not just stopping at emoji as images, we will start adding more and more features to emoji. We have plans to do a variety of things, including ones that are somewhat interactive and have more content or links and other things like that,” he adds. “We really want to enable the people who are uploading emoji to put more than just images in their emojis.”

The service currently its own Chrome extension and Android app. This lets users send emojis to other apps and services (if they aren’t integrated with emojidex, each emoji’s shortcode shows up instead).

Before it reaches a critical mass of developers and users, however, emojidex has to carve a niche for itself against rivals like Imoji, which lets people make customized emojis and stickers and recently launched an SDK for app developers, and “stickers-as-a-service” startup PicoCandy.

Kagetsuki says emojidex sets itself apart by being the only service that focuses on emoji as graphic characters, instead of stickers. This means all sentences with a shortcode (i.e. “let’s go get some :sushi:”) will be converted in-line. The service also lets emoji creators apply copyright locks, which means developers can’t use those images in commercial content without first getting a license.

More importantly (as least from the project’s perspective), emojidex is open-source and, aside from a few restrictions, lets any developer integrate the service without license fees.

Kagetsuki is passionate about open-source initiatives—other projects he has worked on include the Phantom Open Emoji project and apngasm, to promote animated PNGs as an alternative to GIFs.

The service is free to use, but Kagetsuki plans to monetize with premium features. Proceeds from emojidex will be used to fund other software projects. The most important of these is a school management software called GAKU Engine created with the aim of saving funds-starved districts from expensive vendor lock-ins.

“Emojidex supports open-source, education, and research,” says Kagetsuki. “We want users to know that just by using emojidex, they are doing something socially good.”