WebRTC Apps are Expanding Fast, Including Hybrids
Members of the WebRTC Solutions Community are no doubt getting accustomed to the fact that I am an unabashed and unrepentant fan of the technology. Closing in on almost 40 years of communications and computing industry experience, I firmly believe that the browser will be the primary tool of real-time interactions going forward for “E”verything and that WebRTC will be the foundational component for making this happen—and ultimately will be universally adopted so that we have seamless interoperability.
With that as prologue, what follows can be taken as a community service. A number of WebRTC resources are starting to emerge that deserve visibility as tools for educating the community and hopefully accelerating WebRTC adoption. As readers know from previous features, hackathons such as the recently concluded TADHack are a terrific source to see what developers are up to, and the number of WebRTC meet ups around the world is heartening. That said, the place I like to go to see what the buzz is about WebRTC, obviously including this site, is webrtchacks. If you have not been there, go, and you might wish to bookmark it.
The reason you may wish to bookmark the site is exemplified by the latest post by Chard Hart, Developing mobile WebRTC hybrid applications. I won’t spoil the fun of reading the entire posting, but hopefully a few tidbits will whet your appetites. Hart walks through the efforts of the team at eFace2Face to build a mobile hybrid app and as Hart notes, “The next phase in most WebRTC deployments is inevitably figuring out how to support mobile.” The reason for the hybrid approach is that currently the vast majority of mobile apps are native as opposed to use on mobile websites, so hybrid solutions are needed to bridge the gap.
Hart provides a comprehensive explanation of how hybrid applications are built, the pros and cons for developers taking one of the two hybrid building routes, and the current challenges of WebRTC on native mobile. He then provides the conclusions of the research which included:
- In Android a preference for Intel’s Crosswalk.
- A team developed open source WebRTC Cordova plugin for iOS.
- A walk through on how to develop a hybrid app using iOS
Hart concluded with some interesting food for thought based on the team’s experience.
“Deciding whether to go hybrid or native for your WebRTC app is up to you. It depends on the kind of resources and relevant experience your company has, the kind of application that you want to implement, and the existing codebase and infrastructure you already have in place. The good news is our results show that using WebRTC is not a key factor in this decision, and you can have the mobile app version of your WebRTC web service ready in much less time than you probably expected.”
Thanks to efforts like those of eFace2Face, there is good news on WebRTC’s ability to play nicely and well in mobile.
As a closing point, be sure to make your way to the webrtchacks home page. And lastly, there are a lot of reasons why the Popular Post section is popular. Find out for yourself.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino