W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webrtc@w3.org > August 2019

The abysmal state of interoperability for the m-section of SDP

From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2019 15:28:50 +1000
Message-ID: <CAHp8n2moyHn2+ZRQGWLXyvVk=fvjuXTzu7ztbNXdYQyBbD0pzA@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-webrtc <public-webrtc@w3.org>
Hi all,

This is a bit of a rant, but I thought it would be important to share
how painful it is right now to work across browsers with WebRTC and
where I'd like to see some improvements.

We are an avid user of multiple parallel media streams between peers
in a video call. We often send one or more screenshares at the same
time as the video call itself. This makes it possible to look at a
person while sharing the screen, something I've always found bizarre
in most traditional video conferencing applications. We can't have
that in a telehealth application where the clinician needs to always
be able to see a patient.

In the past, we had no interoperability between Firefox and Chrome
because Chrome supported Plan B (which incidentally worked really
well) and Firefox did Unified Plan. We waited patiently for Chrome to
support Unified Plan and rejoiced when it came. But we were out of
luck. Moving to Unified Plan with Chrome didn't make sense for us,
because Firefox decided to make secondary streams not use the ID that
is passed in, but use something else altogether. So we held back,
because we still couldn't make it work interoperably. (Thanks Firefox
for not following the standard.)

Now, Safari has decided to jump to Unified Plan - rejoice! Oh, but
wait! Instead of offering backwards compatibility, it removed Plan B.
What!? We now face the bizarre issue that our iOS app (developed
before Safari supported WebRTC) is now not able to interoperate with a
modern Safari. Awesome, thanks.

Anyway, we soldier on. We have moved to Unified Plan and fortunately,
Safari and Chrome are interoperable. Yay! But Firefox continues to
plague us.

To support older versions of browsers, we now have to maintain an ever
growing matrix of combinations of browser versions so we can indicate
to a user who is joining a call whether they will have
interoperability issues with the other peer - specifically we have to
tell them whether screensharing is available to them or not. It would
be really nice if the complexity of WebRTC interoperability would
reduce over time, not continuously increase.

So much for news from the coalface... please get interoperable Unified
Plan sorted - we have waited for more than 5 years for this already!

Kind Regards,
Received on Sunday, 25 August 2019 05:29:24 UTC

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