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Re: Recap from WebRTC World

From: Robin Raymond <robin@hookflash.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 11:38:53 -0400
Message-ID: <51CC5C8D.3080601@hookflash.com>
To: Gili <cowwoc@bbs.darktech.org>
CC: public-webrtc@w3.org

Thanks for this...

To address point #2, #3, #4, #7:

On the IETF side, there has been substantial pushback as well about the 
current WebRTC API and explains the rationale need for a new API 
(including use cases), see:

For those interested, you should also let the IETF RTCWEB Working Group 
know about your displeasure of working with the current API on their 
mailing list. Several of us have been fighting hard against the current 
SDP based API in that group:

This is a list dominated by telecos and SIP people, but even some of 
them have changed their mind so not all in favor of the current 
approach. However, many are scared that any change will derail momentum 
and slow down progress (a view I do not personally share as I think the 
current model is broken).

There will be a new proposed WebRTC JavaScript Object Model API to be 
published in the coming days that could bridge the two worlds by 
providing a clean WebRTC JS object model (very much constraints based), 
without all the telco speak, and a WebRTC shim written entirely in 
JavaScript for those who want SDP approach offered in the current 
approach. This will not "burn down" the current efforts put forth for 
those who like the current model but it does free other developers from 
the complexities and issues caused where we are currently forced to use 
SDP and offer/answer.

NOTE: I do not claim to speak for the IETF RTCWEB WG, I'm sharing my 
*personal perspective* only from participating in that side of the equation.


> Gili <mailto:cowwoc@bbs.darktech.org>
> 27 June, 2013 10:19 AM
> Hi,
>     (If you'd like to respond to individual points, please start a 
> separate topic)
>     I'd like to start a discussion of issues that came up during the 
> WebRTC World conference (in sessions and while speaking with Dan 
> Burnett and Cullen Jennings):
>  1. Ending the VP8/H264 war: A proposal was made to mandate a
>     patent-unencumbered codec (whose patents have expired or are not
>     enforced) as mandatory and optionally upgrade to other codecs such
>     as VP8 or H264 depending on peer capabilities and personal
>     preferences. VP8 guys can use VP8. H264 guys can use H264. And if
>     the two camps need to chat with each other they can fall back on
>     H263. This gives you the flexibility of arbitrary codecs without
>     the need to do transcoding.
>  2. The WebRTC API needs to focus on normal web developers, not not
>     telecom experts: The conversation on this mailing list is unduly
>     skewed in favor of telecom experts which make up a tiny minority
>     of WebRTC end-users. We need to find a way to collect feedback
>     from the Javascript community at large in order to ensure that the
>     API facilitates their use-cases. The proliferation of WebRTC SDKs
>     for end-users (the conference was full of them) is a strong
>     indication that there is a gap to be filled.
>  3. Implementers vs End-users: The specification document has two
>     target audiences, implementers and end-users. We need to provide
>     implementers with a lot of low-level detail but make as little
>     guarantees as possible to end-users to leave the door open to
>     future change (without breaking backwards compatibility). We
>     discussed explicitly marking-up sections of the specification "for
>     implementers" or "for end-users" or separating the specification
>     into separate documents. We need to make it clear, for example,
>     that the specification does not make any guarantees regarding the
>     contents of the SDP token. Implementers need a detailed breakdown
>     in order to implement WebRTC 1.0 but end-users may not rely on
>     these details because the token might not even be SDP in future
>     versions.
>  4. SDP: Users should interact with the Constraints API instead of
>     SDP. It is true that there are some use-cases that are not yet
>     covered by this API (forcing you to manipulate the SDP directly)
>     but the plan is to address all these use-cases by 1.0 so users
>     never have to interact with SDP directly. "If your use-case is not
>     covered by the Constraints API, please tell us right away!"
>  5. Offer/Accept: There are plans to enable peers to query each
>     other's capabilities and change constraints (and as a result the
>     offer/answer) in mid-call.
>  6. Troubleshooting WebRTC: We need to do a better job diagnosing
>     WebRTC problems. We need a user-friendly application (run by
>     non-developers!) for quickly debugging network and microphone
>     problems (Skype does this), and allow users to drill down into
>     more detail if necessary. We also need programmatic access to this
>     API so WebRTC applications can detect problems at runtime and
>     decide (for example) to refund users who paid for a call that was
>     subsequently aborted due to network problems.
>  7. Use-cases, use-cases, use-cases: "Tell us what is wrong, not how
>     to fix it". You are a lot more likely to get traction for your
>     problems if you help us understand your use-cases then trying to
>     argue for change for its own sake. On the flip side for
>     specification editors, I encourage you to actively engage posters
>     (ask for these use-cases) instead of ignoring discussion threads ;)
>     I encourage other people who attended the conference to contribute 
> their own discussion points.
>     (If you'd like to respond to individual points, please start a 
> separate topic)
> Thank you,
> Gili
Received on Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:39:25 UTC

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