Talky is &yet’s premier plugin-less, just a link in a browser, group video and chat service. To add to the list of adjectives, we can also claim open standards-based, but not by inventing new ones.
So many services claim to be open, but roll their own API and call it open because they published a document; we didn’t do that. Our team has been contributing to real open standards for decades before we were even a team -- that’s part of why we recruited them.
Starting with WebRTC, the browser feature that allows us to do video, audio directly between browsers without a plugin, we get the core functionality of Talky, however not the intelligence of it. WebRTC wisely doesn’t include a means of signaling (connecting the call), so we’re left to “roll our own.” On the surface, this is pretty easy -- just set up a server that exchanges the WebRTC signaling payloads between the two browsers and let it go peer-to-peer -- but this is a very naive approach, and ends up being difficult to add features to, maintain, secure, and scale in the long run.
Did you know that group management, call signaling, presence, chat, federation, and all of those other features you might want to add later have been done before? Not only that, but these features have been painstakingly reviewed and iterated to ensure security, feature-extensions, and interoperability by large communities of professionals, and then documented as RFCs and XEPs.
Additionally, the open source community (and proprietary vendors) have made hundreds of implementations of these standards, proven in a variety of tools and products. I’m talking about XMPP, the Internet standard for federated communication.
As a result, Talky is incredibly flexible and secure. We can add features, make specific implementations for our clients, integrate with “competing” services, and benefit from the maturity of the specifications and code around it.
All of the components, save for some UI logic, of Talky are open source as the Otalk Platform. We’re particularly proud of Lance's work on Stanza.io which makes working with XMPP in the browser painless and free of those pointy angle brackets.
If you’d like our help using OTalk in your projects, you should give us a call or even ask us to join a Talky room.
You can also show your support by spreading the word about our Kickstarter for Talky. We’d sure appreciate your support in our efforts to reclaim open standards for communication.