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Getting Started with WebRTC

Oct
31

WebRTC if a fantastic new technology hitting main stream devices these days. There is a lot of buzz on the subject. The main reason is that it makes thing possible on webpages that were not really possible before (at least not by default).

What is WebRTC? It is an implementation (multiple frameworks exist) of multiple protocols. When implemented WebRTC enables devices peer to peer device communication. What that means is it enables a webpage opened in Firefox web browser on your desktop to communicate directly with the Facebook app on your phone (assuming both sides grant permission). The communications channel is encrypted by default. This means engineers will be able to create brand new technologies in the up coming years.  As one of those engineers I can say, this is exciting! Personally I am looking forward to making the chat experience on the talk to strangers website Pokiecam even better.

The nuts and bolts of WebRTC

When getting started with WebRTC you might find yourself overwhelmed if you are not already familiar with the protocols. A few of them are ICE, TURN, STUN, SDPs, Signaling servers.. That’s a lot of moving parts. The main thing to concern yourself with is being able to pass messages between peers. There are lots of examples of this online, just be sure all the messages get delivered and in order.

Which of the protocols should you concern yourself with? Really, from a user of the APIs not none of them. What WebRTC is doing is using the ICE protocol which in-turn uses STUN and TURN if needed. The implementations handle all of this though. The main thing users of the APIs need to worry about is the signaling portion. Signaling again, is just passing messages for offers and candidates between peers.

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