World’s first conference calls between Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge

We’ve talked before about the revolutionary importance of WebRTC, because it brings the principles of the open web to voice, video, screensharing, and other applications that were traditionally closed off to fast innovation. This revolution has been led not by old-style telcos but by web and mobile companies, especially the developers of the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers.

Until recently, both Microsoft and Apple have been standing on the sidelines as this revolution unfolded. Thankfully that’s starting to change, as Microsoft adds these capabilities to its upcoming Edge browser. (Apple, however, is still late to the party.)

There’s a twist to this story, though, because Edge supports an object-oriented flavor of WebRTC called ORTC, which most observers expect will eventually become WebRTC 1.1 or 2.0 or something. :-)

Thus we have a conundrum: in video conferencing apps like our Talky service, cross-browser calls work fine right now because both Chrome and Firefox support WebRTC. But adding Edge to the mix doesn’t automatically result in cross-browser calls to Edge users, since the signaling methods involved have different syntax even though the semantics are the same.

The solution is to hide some of the messy details from app developers by providing a higher-level API - ideally one that’s more object-oriented because as a developer do you really want to be dealing with Session Description Protocol? We didn’t think so.

We care a lot about interoperability, so yetis Philipp Hancke, aka fippo and Lance Stout jumped at the chance to gain early access to the ORTC API in Edge when Microsoft sent us an invitation to visit them in Redmond.

We plan to publish several reports on our work in this area, covering a lot of fascinating technical internals. For now, we simply must point to the demo that fippo built using SimpleWebRTC because it represents a huge advance in the state of the art: the world’s first interoperable conference calling app that supports Chrome, Firefox, and now Edge, too!

The folks at Microsoft are featuring the demo on the dev.modern.ie testdrive so head on over and give it a try.

As you can see, we’re always on the cutting edge (no pun intended) of WebRTC, ORTC, and whatever is next in the field of realtime communication. To get a jump start on building the realtime app of your dreams, drop us a line today.

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