WebRTC: the latest in Web Application Technology

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Should you be using WebRTC?

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is one of the recent trends that has everyone in web application technology in a buzz. The web technology promises the ability to enable real-time communication in the browsers without plug-ins and other requirements. This powerful cutting-edge technology is highly disruptive and is quickly becoming the only way forward for companies.


WebRTC leverages a set of plugin-free API’s (application programming interface) that can be used in both mobile and desktop browsers. This exciting technology is eliminating the need for external plugins due its ability to achieve the functionality similar to what WebRTC is offering.

Let’s simplify this for all the tech-newbies; say you want to have a video chat with your best friend in the UK, but her computer is not a web server. A request would need to be processed to receive her video and audio data directly while simultaneously sending my video and audio data directly to her without going through an external server. This would normally pose as quite a dilemma however with WebRTC, and its ability to enable real-time communication this problem is eliminated.

How does WebRTC communication work?

WebRTC relies on three API’s which perform specific functions to enable real-time communication within a web application. These important three API’s are getUserMedia, RTCPeerCoonection, RTCDataChannel.

  1. getUserMedia
    Before the use of WebRTC, it was vital to rely on third-party browser plugins like Silverlight or Flash to capture video and audio from a desktop. However with the new era of HTML 5 there is direct hardware access to a number of devices, while providing JavaScript API’s which interface with the systems hardware capabilities. getUserMedia enables a browser to access a user’s microphone and camera.
  2. RTC Peer Connection
    This API is responsible for managing the full life-cycle of every peer-to-peer connection. This is also the first of the two API’s to be specifically offered as part of the WebRTC specification. This type of interface represents the WebRTC connection and is relied upon to deal with the streaming of data between two connections. If a caller would like to start a connection with a remote party the browser will start a RTCPeerConnection object. With an established RTCPeerConnection, the sending of real-time video and audio data will be as a bitstream between browsers.
  3. RTCDataChannel
    This is another API that is offered as part of WebRTC and represents the main connection channel through which the exchange of application data occurs between peers. This API is responsible for transferring data directly from one peer to another. There are alternative options for communication channels but these alternatives were initially designed for communication with a server. RTCDataChannel takes a peer-to-peer format with customisable delivery properties of the underlying transport.

So why should you use WebRTC?

There are no requirements for plugins, frameworks or applications. No Flash, no Silverlight, and no JavaScript API just pure audio, video and data communication on any webpage if you have a WebRTC compatible browser. WebRTC is completely peer-to-peer so there are no extra costs for bandwidth across the wire even though you are getting the highest performance and lowest latency possible.


WebRTC might be the most recent trend in web application technology but with its impressive results the likelihood that it will simply fade away is low.


Image Credit: GitHub.com


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Showing 7 comments
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    Good informative web for me..
    I added your web into my bookmarks!
    Keep up good work! Excited for future updates!


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