All routes are leading towards WebRTC.
Somehow, people are still complaining about adoption of WebRTC in browsers instead of checking their alternatives.
Before WebRTC came to our lives, we had pretty much 3 ways of getting voice and video calling into our machines:
- Build an application and have users install it on their PCs
- Use Flash to have it all inside the browser
- Develop a plugin for the service and have users install it on their browsers
We’re now in 2015, and 3 (again that number) distinct things have changed:
- On our PCs we are less tolerant to installing “stuff”
- As more and more services migrate towards the cloud, so are our habits of using browsers as our window to the world instead of installed software
- Chromebooks are becoming popular in some areas, so installing software is close to impossible in them
- Plugins are dying. Microsoft is banning plugins in Edge, joining Google’s Chrome announcement on the same topic
- Flash is being thrown out the window, which is what I want to focus about here
There have been a lot of recent publicity around a new round of zero day exploits and vulnerabilities in Flash. It started with a group called The Hacking Team being hacked, and their techniques exposed. They used a few Flash vulnerabilities among other mechanisms. While Adobe is actively fixing these issues, some decided to vocalize their discontent with Flash:
Facebook’s Chief Security Officer wants Adobe to declare an end-of-life date for Flash.
It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.
— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) July 12, 2015
Mozilla decided to ban Flash from its browser until the recent known vulnerabilities are patched.
Don’t get me wrong here. Flash will continue being with us for a long time. Browsers will block Flash and then re-enable it, dealing with continuing waves of vulnerabilities that will be found. But the question then becomes – why should you be using it any longer?
- You can acquire camera and microphone using WebRTC today, so no need for Flash
- You can show videos using HTML5 and MPEG-DASH, so no need for Flash
- You can use WebGL and a slew of other web technologies to build interactivity into sites, so no need for Flash
- You can run voice and video calls at a higher quality than what Flash ever could with WebRTC
- And you can do all of the above within environments that are superior to Flash in both their architecture, quality and security
Without Flash and Plugin support in your future, why would you NOT use WebRTC for your next service?
Need to know where WebRTC is available? Download this free WebRTC Device Cheat Sheet.