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February 18, 2015

Startup Temasys Targets WebRTC for IE and Safari

So far, only Google Chrome, Opera and Mozilla Firefox have enjoyed status as webRTC-friendly browsers, offering native support for the HTML5 specification. But Singaporean startup Temasys has released Skylink, a free plugin for OS X and Windows that brings WebRTC to both Apple Safari and Internet Explorer.

“Why on earth would you want to try another browser? Well, there are some pretty compelling reasons,” said Matthew Hughes, a software developer, student and writer from Liverpool, England, in a how-to blog. “If you’re using Windows 8.1, you might want to use a browser that closely meshes with the look-and-feel of touch-friendly Metro. If you’re concerned about blazing-fast browsing, you might want to use Safari, which is drastically faster than Chrome, largely thanks to its phenomenal JavaScript interpreter.”

Skylink is a simple browser plugin, downloadable from the Temasys site.

“The Temasys webRTC plugin implements the WebRTC spec as closely as possible,” the company said. “It implements the latest published draft, not working draft, and in case of ambiguity, will always align its behavior with the latest stable version of Chrome and Firefox.”

However, for a site to recognize a WebRTC-enabled IE or Safari, installing the plugin on the target computer is not enough.

“Whilst Skylink brings full WebRTC support to Internet Explorer and Safari, not every webRTC-powered website supports it,” explained Hughes. “Yes, having the plugin installed on your computer is only half the battle. The Websites themselves need to make a small tweak in order for them to detect the plugin. The bad news is that some Websites, such as appear.in, have not made this tweak.”

For that, Temasys provides a modified version of adapter.js, a helper file originally provided by Google and Mozilla to help interaction between browsers, to illustrate what needs to be done.

“We also provide a set of tests and demos, modified version of those provided by webrtc.org, to support our plugin, as a way for you to test if the plugin installation was successful,” the company noted. 

There is no solution to provide support for iOS versions of browsers at this stage, but the company said that it is separately working on bringing WebRTC support to Apple’s mobile platform, with no timeline right now.

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