WebRTC makes it possible for anyone to create video and voice on the browser. But as cool as the new Web protocol is, it’s not always easy to work with. Building a full fledge video app requires complex and esoteric coding. You need other elements as well. For example, signaling to make the phone ring and authentication.
PubNub, a company that provides key building blocks to real-time apps through an API, hopes to solve that problem. On Wednesday at WebRTC World, the startup announced a template that connects the WebRTC dots, allowing you to create Skype-like voice and video painlessly, in a matter of hours.
Todd Greene, PubNub CEO, explains that if you are going to build an app with WebRTC, you still need several other things. You need to integrate with a global signaling system to make the phone ring and for chat and file sharing. You need to integrate with an authentication system to make sure you are who you say you are, and you have to deal with all the complexities of WebRTC.
PubNub's WebRTC template brings together WebRTC, PubNub, and Google Authentication. The PubNub piece detects which friends are online. It adds call signaling and initialization and text chat using data push. And it imports friend lists using Google Authentication, a feature that Greene says can easily be extended to Facebook, LDAP, or other homegrown directory service.
“Before this, it took a significant amount of design, development and infrastructure to add something as simple as voice and video to an existing business, consumer, or game app,” said Greene. “Now you can take our template, and plug it right into your application.”
For app developers, the template means they can have Skype-like video in three hours, Greene says. “Before you know it, you’ve taken yourself from lots of develop and research and deployment to a few lines of code and simply changing the user interface,” he said.
The template is open source, so anyone can build upon it. You do need a PubNub account to access the PubNub API for signaling. Access to the API is free while your app is in development, but after that you'll pay anywhere from $15/month on up, depending on how many devices and users you have.
Tools such as PubNub's WebRTC template play an important part in a growing ecosystem that is making WebRTC accessible to a broader community of people.
At WebRTC World, PubNub also announced the hiring of Oracle veteran Bhagat Nainani as its VP of engineering. And the addition of two new data centers — one in Sao Paolo and one in Amsterdam — bringing its total number of data centers to 13. Those global data centers act like nodes, relaying messages from different apps around the world.