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Tsahi Levent -Levi
Tsahi Levent-Levi is an independent analyst and consultant for WebRTC.Tsahi has over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications, VoIP,and...
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Tsahi Levent -Levi | May 01, 2013 |

 
   

WebRTC Infrastructure is Tricky

WebRTC Infrastructure is Tricky If I were in the position of Google today, I'd invest someone for the next 12 months in churning out how-to documents on building that infrastructure.

If I were in the position of Google today, I'd invest someone for the next 12 months in churning out how-to documents on building that infrastructure.

There's a lot to be said about the ease of use of WebRTC and how it lowers the barrier of entry for anyone thinking to use VoIP. What is usually left out, or more accurately, where I think the biggest hole that Google has left us, is on the infrastructure side.

A while ago I wrote here about the hurdles of streaming, from the point of view of Netflix. From the interviews I did with WebRTC companies, it is easy to say that the hardest thing they have to deal with is the infrastructure.

The one that really strikes home? When Jeremy Thomas of popexpert answers what he would change in WebRTC:

"I'd love to see a more authoritative reference architecture which illustrates how to setup a TURN server, which technologies are good for signaling, etc."

One of the hardest issues for developers with WebRTC? Getting the backend up and running. There doesn't seem to be any good documentation or walkthrough on how to do that well--and in a world of APIs, that's the largest missing part.

If I were in the position of Google today, I'd invest someone for the next 12 months in churning out how-to documents on building that infrastructure.

WebRTC is an API and should be treated as such. If the company behind it wants to get more adoption for it, then they need to take care of all of the developer's needs:

API documentation
There's documentation of the API on the official WebRTC site. I find it somewhat lacking--placing it all in a single HTML page is demeaning in my view. It is also missing some basic code examples and links to related APIs.

Good forum
Every API requires a good place to ask questions and get answers. Unluckily, in this case, the forum is based on Google Groups, which is "ok". A better choice would have been to open up a dedicated Stack Exchange site for it--or something of that caliber when it comes to the types of interactions it enables.

Code samples and how-to guides
There are a few provided by Google, but they are lacking. There needs to be a good place that shows real code samples--things that people actually want to develop--and things that aren't trivial; and we already know that the backend side isn't trivial.

Things that come to mind?
* Setting up TURN server to work with WebRTC
* Implementing basic multipoint video call
* Using SIP signaling
* Using XMPP signaling
* Using basic JS signaling

Focus on WebRTC training by Google should shift from WebRTC APIs to how to stitch WebRTC's infrastructure to build services.

Once that happens, the biggest real gap and hurdle of most developers out there will have been resolved.





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