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So what do the HTML programmers really think about WebRTC?

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

htmlI had a chance to sit down with the delightful Jen Simmons. Jen is a web designer and the host of The Web Ahead. Making websites since 1996, Jen focuses on innovation through HTML5, responsive web design, and fiercely on creating experiences for human. Jen is a noted speaker in the HTML community evangelizing about the future web and it’s technology.

I wanted to know what the HTML world really thought about WebRTC. Jen sadly told me, “not much” but there is hope. Exciting things like CSS3, border radius and of course the hot hot topic of rounded boxes seem to pepper the conversation of traditional HTML development folks. But not to despair, Jen thinks the entire web is about to change and morph from being a simple 1-way media plane to becoming even more dynamic and dimensional. WebRTC is a component of this change as the line between a web page and an app blurs even more.

But it takes time. For years, websites tried to avoid using JavaScript for fear of incompatibilities, performance issues and end user security warnings. Today JavaScript is readily accepted with many developers using common libraries (e.g. jQuery) but with little real understanding of the magic beyond. Jen believes this is changing as HTML developers become much more comfortable writing/editing their own JavaScript code. It’s a given that developers would like easy & dependable methods to access the camera and microphone to enhance the user experience.

But the biggest challenge according to Jen, is organization. The Internet is in fact, old (at least in dog years), the process has created  well understood job titles and departments for how web sites are developed. The future 2-way media of the web is going to require a change in this structure and that takes time.

In terms of WebRTC, what will help? Jen wants to see more meaningful demos & examples using the technology which she thinks will spark the curiosity and creative juices of the development community.  Jen likes the creativity shown by andyet with their colloboration tool. Simple, elegant and fun.

Ironically, Jen isn’t too concerned for the moment about incompatibilities between Chrome/Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. The HTML community has dealt with these issues for years. Apple, she noted, never comments much to the world and she’d bet WebRTC simply appears one day in an update.

In terms of other technologies, Jen believes the WebRTC initiative is moving much faster than any she’s seen in the past which speaks to the need of the Internet community. But it clearly is part of the overall disruptive army within the HTML5 community and it will take time, examples and some experimenting as it moves into the mainstream world.

Learn more about Jen @ and with her Webahead blog and podcasts.