madbernard: a long angled pier (Default)
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a plan to let there be plugin-less peer-to-peer sharing... In real time... Of anything. Back in the day, you had to download Flash or Silverlight or some other godawful program to use your webcam with the internet. Since HTML5, the ability for a browser to ask you for access to your webcam or microphone is built in to the spec.

There are three legs of WebRTC: the first, mentioned above, is the "getUserMedia" API, added to browser javascript, part of HTML5. The second and third are for WebRTC alone: the ability to maintain a direct computer to computer connection (forget the rest of the internet! We got us!), and the ability to exchange arbitrary data along that connection (for now, mostly live video). These second and third, which are specifically called RTCPeerConnection and RTCDataChannel, are something the browser makers should build in; but as of today, not all of them have.

Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge are up to speed on WebRTC: if you have one of them, go check out https://webcamtoy.com/ . It's a surprisingly fun website, and a source of great userpics. (I just tried visiting with Safari, to see what happened: the page let me know that I'd have to install Flash to continue. Good on them for having their ducks in a row, bad on Safari for not getting with the times.)

Of anything? ... Also, the ways the communication is done )

The tl:dr is, WebRTC: the browsers that care about security have set up a more secure real-time sharing service, and you don't need crummy programs any more to do interesting webcam things.

May 2016

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