Which WebRTC Book is Best for You?

October 20, 2014

If you are a developer, then there are 5 WebRTC books out there available for you.

Which of them should you be choosing?

Here is how I like to refer to each one of them.

WebRTC: APIs and RTCWEB Protocols of the HTML5 Real-Time Web, Third Edition

Aka: The Bible

Authors: Alan B. Johnston and Daniel C. Burnett (US)

Alan B. Johnston and Daniel C. Burnett are the authors of this book. It was the first one out there about WebRTC and it is now in its third edition. Alan and Daniel are doing a great job at maintaining this book up to date with a technology that is changing fast.

What I like about it is that the book covers WebRTC, what it does and how it works. It is more a dictionary/encyclopedia than an instruction manual. Something to keep in the bookshelf and use when needed.

The last edition is very useful as it contains Wireshark printouts of how messages look like on the network – something that can assist when troubleshooting WebRTC services.

Here is the interview with Alan Johnston on this WebRTC book.

Getting Started with WebRTC

Aka: The Step-by-step

Author: Rob Manson (Australia)

Rab Manson have written this book and I really liked it.

He took the approach of building a simple WebRTC service from scratch and just explaining the steps taken along the way. It uses Node.js for the backend.

There is a more detailed book review here.

Real-Time Communication with WebRTC: Peer-to-Peer in the Browser

Aka: The Living-room Chat

Authors: Salvatore Loreto and Simon Pietro Romano (Italy / Finland)

Salvatore Loreto and Simon Pietro Romano are behind this book.

Reading this one feels like sitting in the living room of Salvatore and Simon. They make great hosts in the journey they take the reader through the book, which similar to Rob Manson’s book is about building an app from scratch and explaining along the way how it was done.

There is a more detailed book review here.

WebRTC Blueprints

Aka: The Hard-core

Author: Andrii Sergiienko (Ukraine)

This one is for those who already know a thing or two about WebRTC and want to get to some nitty gritty details. It doesn’t shy from areas that are not fully baked in WebRTC and explains how to get things done – covering areas such as properly setting up a TURN server and implementing screencasting. Not for the faint of heart.

There is a more detailed book review here.

High Performance Browser Networking: What every web developer should know about networking and web performance

Aka: The mandatory curriculum

Author: Ilya Grigorik (US)

While not a WebRTC book per se, it does have a chapter about WebRTC.

The reason that I highly recommend this book is because it is focused on signaling related aspects that are necessary for developers. Things like XHR, SSE and Websocket. If you think you know VoIP well enough but aren’t that savvy with browser technologies, then this is a great way to understand it better.

The best thing? If you are fine with reading from a PC screen, this book is available freely online.

What I am still missing in the WebRTC books

Most of these books are focused on signaling.

I wish someone did a great WebRTC related book with more beef on media – anything from NAT traversal to server side media processing would be nice.

Scaling WebRTC services can be a good idea as well for a book.

There is another book coming later out this week. I hope I will be able to review it soon and share my thoughts here.

Post image via shutterhacks

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  1. Rob Manson’s book is awesome and has helped us a lot in getting familiar with WebRTC back in the day. High Performance Browser Networking goes a bit deeper into WebRTC’s underlying technologies and was also extremely helpful.

  2. I tried the real time communication but it is a bit too into programming.
    What about a book that describes both system level engineering and potential business applications ?

    Would recommend any additional source in this direction?

    1. Paolo,

      These books are mostly for developers. Their intent isn’t in the area of potential business applications and I think they touch the system level engineering part only briefly, as they focus on explaining what WebRTC is and its mechanics in the browser.
      For use cases, there’s my own book/report (http://www.amazon.com/WebRTC-Business-People-Unraveling-opportunities-ebook/dp/B00PKLJOA6/). For system level engineering you’ll have to get by from resources on the internet.

        1. Sven – I believe it got canceled.

          The sad truth is that WebRTC books are scarce and old. They aren’t keeping up with the tech itself. This was one of the reasons why I decided to do an online course.

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