All posts tagged ‘WebRTC’

File Under: Programming, Web Apps

WebRTC, Online Code Editor Team Up for Real-Time Coding

Collaborating with Codassium Image: codassium.com.

It’s still going to be some time before WebRTC technology starts to deliver cool apps, but even today developers are quickly moving from the realm of cool WebRTC experiments, like the Mozilla/Google phone call demo, to useful apps like Codassium.

WebRTC is a proposed standard — currently being refined by the W3C — with the goal of providing a web-based set of tools that any device can use to share audio, video and data in real time. It’s still in the early stages, but WebRTC has the potential to supplant Skype, Flash and many native apps with web-based alternatives that work on any device.

Codassium uses WebRTC to bring together WebRTC-based video chat and Mozilla’s Ace code editor. The result is what Wreally Studios, creators of Codassium, call “a better way to conduct remote interviews.” Of course Codassium could be used for more than just interviews — think code reviews, remote pair programming or even just discussing code with remote employees.

To use Codassium you’ll need to be using a web browser that supports WebRTC — recent versions of Firefox and Chrome will both work. Head on over to Codassium, click the Start button and allow the site to access your camera and microphone. Once the video chat and Ace editor load, just click the Invite button and send the resulting link to the person you’d like to work with.

File Under: Browsers, Mobile, Web Standards

Mozilla: WebRTC is the Real Future of Communications

WebRTC blasts off. Image: Tsahi Levent-Levi/Flickr.

The first release of Firefox with support for WebRTC is right around the corner and Mozilla is encouraging web developers to go ahead and start experimenting with what Mozilla refers to as “the real future of communications.”

WebRTC is a proposed standard — currently being refined by the W3C — with the goal of providing a web-based set of tools that any device can use to share audio, video and data in real time. It’s still in the early stages, but WebRTC has the potential to supplant Skype, Flash and many device-native apps with web-based alternatives that work in your browser.

WebRTC support is already baked into Firefox for Android. Both the getUserMedia API and the PeerConnection API — key components of WebRTC and the cornerstones of web-based voice chat — are already supported though you’ll need to enable them in the preferences. See the Mozilla hacks blog for more details.

The same APIs are also now part of desktop Firefox in both the Nightly and Aurora channels. Expect both to make the transition from Nightly to final release as part of Firefox 22 (due some 10 weeks from now).

As Adam Roach, who works on Mozilla’s WebRTC team, writes, with these tools landing and some impressive demos from both the Firefox and Chrome WebRTC teams, “it’s tempting to view WebRTC as ‘almost done,’ and easy to imagine that we’re just sanding down the rough edges right now. As much as I’d love that to be the case, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

That’s part of why Mozilla is asking developers to start experimenting with WebRTC — to help discover what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be better.

“As long as you’re in a position to deal with minor disruptions and changes; if you can handle things not quite working as described; if you are ready to roll up your sleeves and influence the direction WebRTC is going, then we’re ready for you,” writes Roach.

But it isn’t just experimenters that Mozilla is interested in, “for those of you looking to deploy paid services, reliable channels to manage your customer relationships, mission critical applications: we want your feedback too,” says Roach. He goes on to caution that developers should “temper your launch plans.”

Still, while it’s perhaps too early to launch a serious business built around WebRTC, you won’t have to wait long. According to Roach, WebRTC will be “a stable platform that’s well and truly open for business some time next year.”

File Under: JavaScript, Web Standards

WebRTC Is Hard, Let’s Go Demoing

Conversat.io, simple video chat in your browser.
Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey.

WebRTC is changing the web, making possible things which just a few short months ago would have been not just impossible, but nearly unthinkable. Whether it’s a web-based video chat that requires nothing more than visiting a URL, or sharing files with your social networks, WebRTC is quickly expanding the horizons of what web apps can do.

WebRTC is a proposed standard — currently being refined by the W3C — with the goal of providing a web-based set of tools that any device can use to share audio, video and data in real time. It’s still in the early stages, but WebRTC has the potential to supplant Skype, Flash and many device-native apps with web-based alternatives that work on any device.

Cool as WebRTC is, it isn’t always the easiest to work with, which is why the Mozilla Hacks blog has partnered with developers at &yet to create conversat.io, a demo that shows off a number of tools designed to simplify working with WebRTC.

Conversat.io is a working group voice chat app. All you need to do is point your WebRTC-enabled browser to the site, give your chat room a name and you can video chat with up to 6 people — no logins, no joining a new service, just video chat in your browser.

Currently only two web browsers support the WebRTC components necessary to run conversat.io, Chrome and Firefox’s Nightly Channel (and you’ll need to head to about:config in Firefox to enable the media.peerconnection.enabled preference). As such, while conversat.io is a very cool demo, WebRTC is in its infancy and working with it is sometimes frustrating — that’s where the libraries behind the demo come in.

As &yet’s Henrik Joreteg writes on the Hacks blog, “the purpose of conversat.io is two fold. First, it’s a useful communication tool…. Second, it’s a demo of the SimpleWebRTC.js library and the little signaling server that runs it, signalmaster.”

Both tools, which act as wrappers for parts of WebRTC, are designed to simplify the process of writing WebRTC apps — think jQuery for WebRTC. Both libraries are open source (MIT license) and available on GitHub for tinkering and improving.

If you’d like to learn more about SimpleWebRTC and signalmaster and see some example code, head on over to the Mozilla Hacks blog for the full details.

File Under: Browsers, Mobile, Multimedia

Mozilla Wants to Put Your Phone Inside Firefox

What if your web browser were also your phone? That’s a future being imagined by Mozilla, Ericsson and AT&T.

Mozilla has combined Firefox’s WebRTC support with Ericsson’s Web Communication Gateway and AT&T’s API Platform to put together a working demo of calls — both voice and video — and text messages all made from within Firefox.

Mozilla’s “WebPhone” is one part Skype, one part Apple’s Messages and all parts web.

The demo builds on previous Mozilla efforts like the recent WebRTC video calling demo with Google, as well as the Firefox Social API demo Mozilla showed off last year (the Social API provides the glue that brings your mobile contact info into Firefox in the video above).

Aside from the cool factor, web-based calling has a potentially huge benefit for users — no more need for your phone. Mozilla’s WebPhone concept would make it possible to call from any device and the person you’re calling would still see your info.

WebPhone also makes it easy to receive calls and messages anywhere. Anyone who’s ever used Apple’s Message app knows that it’s nice to get messages on the desktop, eliminating the need to track down your phone when you’re already in front of a screen. WebPhone would make it possible to not only get messages on whichever device you’re using, but take calls as well.

Indeed what’s most surprising about Mozilla’s WebPhone demo is that AT&T and Ericsson are involved since more than anything they’re participating in a vision of the future where they are little more than pipes for sending data.

If you happen to be in Barcelona Spain for the ongoing Mobile World Congress event you can check out a live demo of WebPhone at the Mozilla booth. For now the rest of us will have to settle for the demo video above.

Stop Squinting at Your Screen Thanks to This Responsive Type Experiment

Tracking Webmonkey. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey.

Responsive design typically focuses on screen sizes, but that’s just the practical application of the larger goal — making a website function well no matter how or where you are viewing it. The emphasis ultimately is on you, not your device.

Developer Marko Dugonjić takes responsive design’s emphasis on you to new levels of interactivity with his experiment in typesetting by face detection.

Using a very cool JavaScript headtracking library — which taps WebRTC and getUserMedia to access your webcam — Dugonjić’s app calculates how close you are to the screen and adjusts the font size to make text more readable.

To see it in action, head on over to the demo page and grant it permission to use your webcam. For the most useful example, check out the onload-based implementation, but for a better sense of how it works be sure to try the “Realtime” version.

It may not be the most practical experiment and how well it works depends on plenty of factors well beyond the control of the site (how good your eyes are, whether or not you’re wearing your glasses and so on), but it’s not hard to imagine how this could be very useful in some situations — for example, bumping up font-size when your site is displayed on a television.

When you’re done playing with the resizing demo be sure to check out Dugonjić’s more practical and more immediately useful Typetester.