We think great software can truly help make people’s lives better. Join us as we push Talky and WebRTC forward.

It gives us really deep joy to be able to officially announce that RealtimeConf will return in full force for 2015.

No, we aren’t telling you anything about it.


Okay, we’ll tell you some stuff.

The people

Most importantly, we’re thrilled to be back. RealtimeConf has always attracted an amazing lineup—of attendees. We love the community we’ve built with this event and we miss you all tremendously!

The vision

We’ll of course be true to the original vision of RealtimeConf—bringing a diverse set of technologists together to focus on the problems of realtime and what these emerging technologies mean for the future of the web. Expect great people, discussions, and talks around peer-to-peer, WebRTC, messaging, protocols, distributed systems, architecture, security, as well as the human side of all of the above.

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Yesterday Microsoft announced Vorlon.JS, an open source tool for remotely debugging and testing your JavaScript. The team behind it wants to make debugging easier, quicker, and more consistent for developers across multiple platforms.

That’s a goal we very much support and we’re excited we could play a role in getting Vorlon.JS ready for this release.

We’ve built and contributed to a handful of open source projects ourselves, so Microsoft asked us to help them in open sourcing Vorlon.JS. As open source veterans, Henrik, Philip, and Bear helped improve the developer experience of using the software and setting it up for community contributions.

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A Talky Kickstarter!

Talky started as an interesting demo two years ago this February, but it became a product that has seen thousands and thousands of new users each month.

We believe Talky can be an independent communication platform built entirely on open-source technologies (both our own code as well as great projects like Jitsi, Prosody, and restund). We believe we can do it bootstrapped without VC funding or the support of a telco—and with security and your privacy in mind.

In fact, it already is all of these things!

But we need your help to make Talky stronger, better, faster and other things that would make Daft Punk finally proud of us. We don’t just want Talky to be an open alternative to existing solutions. We want it to be one of the absolute best solutions. And with your help, it will be.

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Fippo and I gave a talk this week at Fluent covering:

  • The basic fundamentals of WebRTC
  • How easy it is to get started building an app with SimpleWebRTC
  • What ‘signaling’ means
  • Why IETF controversy over multiparty signaling led to ORTC
  • What’s different about ORTC and why telephony engineers such as Fippo like it (and why web developers won’t care)
  • &yet’s future plans to support WebRTC and ORTC with SimpleWebRTC

Gar even was able to make a cameo appearance to kick off the talk with an acapella Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney cover with some twisted lyrics:

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Node has changed the way we write applications at &yet. Not just sort of changed, in fact, if it didn’t sound so cliché I would use “revolutionized” to describe it.

How so? Well, if I were forced to pare it down to a single word it’d be “modularity.”

Annoyingly, the word “modular” doesn’t really mean much. Of course every developer strives to write modular code, so let’s disambiguate it a bit.

Modularity across applications

Within an application, splitting things into separate files with singular concerns is a great start. But as a Node consulting company we write lots of different applications many of which share similar functionality. The logical next level of code reuse and modularity is being able to easily reuse code across applications as well.

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&yet has long been a rambling crew of professionals.

We love making products for clients, but we also love helping other teams solve particularly annoying problems or augmenting their talent with some of our focused expertise.

In spite of our penchant for bleeding edge technologies, we have an extremely veteran crew. Most of our engineers are more than halfway through their second decade in the software field, quite a few starting their third—and some longer than that.

When we set out to build a security consulting offering, we did so by creating a distinct division: ^lift security. ^lift has gone on to be a fixture of the Node community, leading the way in all things security.

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Earlier today our friends at Digicoop released Kaiwa, a great new text chat app for the web with a super-friendly user experience. We’re keen on the fact it’s built on top of some of the open source code we’ve been working on for years, such as the Stanza.io library for XMPP in JavaScript.

Kaiwa logo

Yeti Lance Stout created a prototype application called Otalk.im along these lines a while back (as demonstrated at RealtimeConf 2013 starting around 16:45), and through the beauty of open source software the Digicoop team forked that code as the foundation for Kaiwa.

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Recently, Chrome’s WebRTC product manager, Serge Lachapelle, asked a critical question about WebRTC “product of the year” awards:

We agree!

Without all the hard work by the Chrome, Firefox, and Opera teams, WebRTC would not exist, nor could we build applications like Talky.

WebRTC is by far the most complex feature ever added to web browsers, and we believe it to be an important technology for the present and future of the Open Web.

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If you need a database feature, Postgres probably has it.

Recently, in versions 9.3 and 9.4, the Postgres devs have added JSON support in the form of JSON types, functions, and operators.

JSON functionality ends up being pretty handy for REST APIs, which I will get into in a later post, but it also has some other uses.

You may not have known this, but Postgres has Publish-Subscribe functionality in the form of NOTIFY, LISTEN, UNLISTEN. This is commonly used for sending notifications that table rows have changed.

Unfortunately, the NOTIFY payload is merely text, meaning that structured data will need to be encoded somehow.

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Software should solve real-world human problems, and the most important problems will probably be the hardest.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when developers come face to face with people who depend on a software app for their lives.

I am currently attending the ISC Project’s Global Workshop, which brings together technologists and activists from all over the world. Most of the attendees are activists from different communities across the globe fighting for human rights, political freedom, and independent media. All of them use technology to advance their work, but the choice of which tool to use requires vastly different criteria than societally privileged people typically consider.

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