Chris Kranky

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WebRTC – a microbe in the world of HTML5

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

css-previewFor my previous P2P article, I asked Sophia/Brie – what % of Stanford computer science students were aware of WebRTC. They guessed the answer was ~ 25%.  What? If only 25% of students at the leading technology university in the center of all things technology know about WebRTC, Houston we have a problem.

It’s easy to understand this low awareness level. WebRTC is but a small function amongst many new functions that are part of the ecosphere we know as HTML5. Take a look at this 65 page online presentation by HTML5Rocks which shows the “highlights” of HTML5. Highlights? If you’re a programmer in Peoria, this is a lot to consume. Web workers, Canvas 3D, new file systems, speech rec, new form types, web sockets, offline storage, CSS3. The list of new things to learn is nearly endless and somewhere in that mix is our beloved WebRTC.  We have to remember that rounded boxes CSS seem like an Apollo moon launch to the typical HTML developer.

As an interested person (that would be you) it’s easy to engage in a heated battle with another WebRTC’er about such ‘you are so wrong’ topics like Offer/Answer or the please not again topic of video codecs. We’re all on this island together and I’m voting it’s time move this party to the mainland.

What this means is that you and I have to evangelize WebRTC beyond the borders of those who accidentally wandered in to our fiesta. We have to talk in simpler terms, make the technology approachable and glow about the prospect of not simply re-doing a stupid telephone call, but in fact, upping the ante on the entire way by which we communicate.  We have to illustrate those early adopters who launched WebRTC-powered applications. The affable Craig Walker with his newest venture, Uberconference, is a WebRTC powered conference service is a good example of this new thinking.

Craig is not trying to replicate the big yawn 30 year old telephony conferencing service that we’re all too familiar with, but introduce a different experience to how groups meet and collaborate. That’s powerful. That’s WebRTC.

I’m thinking, you be thinking, “how do we inflate this balloon further?” (comment, tweet or just open your window and scream it out).  More demos, more libraries  and more talking beyond borders is a start. If 2013 was spent trying to get the technology to work, this year (and we’re already a month into it) should be introducing WebRTC to a broader audience.