WebRTC World Feature Article

April 09, 2014

WebRTC's Browser-to-Browser Telepresence Functionality Affects Other Browser Behavior


As many know already, WebRTC stands for Web-based real-time communications. It is an open-source project that is currently supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that has come to be an emerging audio/video communications standard in Web browsers; one of its novelties is in the fact that it requires no plug-ins.

WebRTC is still a young technology, yet it is starting to influence the enterprise. Recently, it has made an impact on early adopters like Ericsson Research, which says, “WebRTC is a very important part of future communication solutions…” This may be because WebRTC opens the door for a new wave of WebRTC applications that will change the way people communicate today.

Its inclusion in HTML5 allows delivery of high quality peer-to-peer audio/video conversations between browsers and sharing of data Web applications to a browser or device through simple CSS3 and JavaScript APIs. By using WebRTC, it is possible to use CSS3 and HTML5 features to build self-contained and configurable UI components for the Web, for instance, or create native cross-platform apps. Ericsson opted to leverage much of the open-source technology in its own products.

Some incompatibilities, however, were discovered when trying to communicate between different types of clients. WebRTC promises to fix these issues and, when doing that, it has the potential to become the de facto standard for real-time communication in testing for CSS3-based UI performance on low-end devices.

According to a recent post on BlogGeek.me, major browsers for WebRTC (Firefox, Chrome and Opera) behave differently when delivering Web elements or tools to users; an example of this is HTML5′s drag-and-drop or CSS3′s background formats, and that’s a serious open issue. Nevertheless, Tsahi Levent-Levi says Web developers will know what to do to correct the issues that make WebRTC a bit challenging, but the technology still provides new opportunities for those that use it.

Web developers are likely to use jQuery or some other package to correct the issues they observe, “they have these notions called a shim or polyfill […] and they have online services to test their websites on all possible browsers,” the blog post affirms. In brief, what Levent-Levi is “trying to get at here, is that for those developing websites, differences across browsers and browser versions are a way of life.” WebRTC’s growing pains will definitely not scare developers who can see the potential of this technology.

Another post, although featured on laptopmag.com, tells of the Dolphin Browser beta that upholds various HTML5 features and has partial support of WebRTC. A comparison between browsers tested showed that Opera won by virtue of its higher score on the HTML 5 test and better support for CSS3.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey




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