WebRTC Expert Feature

April 23, 2015

WebRTC Less Balkanized than the Web? Or Just Another SNAFU?

Just in case you do not know the acronym, “Situation Normal All Fouled Up” (SNAFU) explains a lot of situations we live with on a daily basis.  Traffic, corporate communication, White House press briefings, congressional hearings,  and even weddings all bring their flare for surviving the unplanned in the midst of an attempt at order.

Some feel like the lack of cross platform functionality is a stopping point.  While Priologic, Temasys, and Tokbox have navigated the work around, many point to the problem as a reason to stay away from WebRTC.

To me this sounds an alarm.

For the mobile apps world, while I advocate that people write in HTML5 and the suite of JavaScript frameworks that blend the Android and Apple experiences, most companies are used to dealing with some customization. In fact, HTML5 as a complete standard only recently was ratified.

So Web developers are used to the quirks of supporting browser A one way and browser B another way, or even making device C work by using objective C and developing for device D by using a different framework.  Then comes the strange and wonderful world of screen displays from watches to TVs and giant kiosks.

The point is, the coder for the Web expects to cope with these problems.

My sense though with many WebRTC developers is that they are SIPping the wrong Cool Aid and starting from the premise that the signaling code should be universal.  I think that premise makes the developer see a softphone as the goal.

If you think back to the early days of Skype, it did not have connectivity to the PSTN.  It had a simple user interface, a great codec and the ability to search.   Later on they made their gateway to the PSTN. 

I think a lot of innovation will occur when signaling is secondary and Web developers start with the premise that WebRTC gives access to better tools.

As we move to an era of WebRTC, ORTC and a work around for Apple still necessary, we should embrace the chance to write more code, develop more libraries, and post more open source to GitHub.

In the end even carriers want to enable developers to deliver new applications, not dictate communication paths.

So let’s push the envelope and get some developers who don’t even know how to spell SIP to be engaged.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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