First Plugins, then Flash and now Java – WebRTC is now the only alternative

February 1, 2016

All roads lead to WebRTC.

Want to run WebRTC on anything? Check out my free WebRTC Device Cheat Sheet.
Java in the browser no longer an option

This started happening in 2015, and is growing as a trend. Half a year ago we witnessed browsers killing off plugins and Flash with a slew of new security issues getting shunned by browsers for a few days.

This left developers with 4 available alternatives for VoIP in a browser:

  1. Flash, with the assumption it is being declining in popularity and support
  2. Plugin, which is getting harder and harder to build and maintain in a way that browsers will support it at all
  3. Java, the promising technology from a decade or two ago that got outdated for frontend browsers, but still available
  4. WebRTC

Oh and there’s this Java Web Start thing, but seriously – you planning on enticing your customers to INSTALL something on his desktop in 2016?

With Flash and Plugin options becoming deprecated as we move further, it seems that Java will be taking the deprecation plunge as well. Oracle just announced they won’t be supporting their Java plugin moving forward.

You are yet again left with WebRTC.

The real implications aren’t for those using WebRTC, but rather those who are trying to support browsers without WebRTC:

  • Up until today, they were two ways of supporting non-WebRTC browsers: Flash or a plugin (Java or other)
  • Flash was always a challenge due to the mismatch in media codecs between Flash and WebRTC, along with crappy echo cancellation
  • Plugins meant you could support WebRTC by wrapping it as a plugin, but this is becoming harder to do with each passing day
  • Java seemed like a good enough alternative:
    • Many organizations had to enable Java in browsers because their internal systems worked with Java applets and programs
    • With Java you could implement WebRTC on the network on your own – there was an implementation or two of this nature
  • The problem is that Java will stop supporting plugins, so if you relied on Java to get WebRTC for you – that route is closing as well

The future of communications is in WebRTC.


Need to know where WebRTC is available? Download this free WebRTC Device Cheat Sheet.

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