Last weeks commentary about how larger companies need to do better at rolling out WebRTC seems to have struck a chord in some circles. Apparently there are others who feel as I do that creating yet another free WebRTC-based video chat tool is just so much reinventing the wheel. It’s a pure marketing move aimed at establishing cool-by-association with something hip, shiny & new.
However, this critique we should reserve for developers who ought to know better. More specifically, those who are already involved in communications of some sort. Citrix’s GotoMeeting for example. If you have a track record of working with voice+video then WebRTC is novel, but it should not be entirely new.
In reality, the purpose of WebRTC is to enable an entirely new class of web developers with respect to online communication. That means word of WebRTC needs to spread. It needs to leave the confines of the crowd that knows that Opus is an audio codec, and find a home with the crowd that just needs to put some nice new feature into their web application. This is migration to face a much larger audience of developers.
It’s interesting to see this migration getting underway. For example, episode #418 of Scott Hanselman’s Hanselminutes podcast features a discussion on WebRTC with Lisa Larson-Kelly who runs a blog called Learn From Lisa. The interview introduces a new course that she has created called WebRTC Fundamentals.
For anyone who has been tracking WebRTC over time the interview is bit on the cursory side, but it does what is required. It gets people who are not already into communications excited about adding a new tool set to their web development arsenal.
This sort of training for developers that is going to be crucial to getting WebRTC used in the myriad possible applications that its creators might have imagined. It will enlarge the discussion around its use, bringing to bear the imagination of a massive new audience. This is where the new toolset that WebRTC presents will hopefully inspire innovation.