Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Why WebRTC is the way it is.

A personal history

WebRTC has played a vital role keeping us all connected in the last yea which has brought new developers into contact with it. Many are surprised and confused at how it works and the technical decisions that were made. This talk aims to give some historical context to those choices. Hopefully this talk will reduce the confusion experience.

By a series of accidents I was on the edge of webRTC development, before it was even a thing. I've been involved in the standardisation from early on to this day, implemented most of the APIs and met most of the people who worked on it. I'll talk about the starting point, the forks in the road, some of the mistakes made and what this project has made possible.

Topics covered: Early history... Standards groups P2P vs client server RTP - why? Signalling and SDP Encryption - who do we trust ? DataChannel - choice of protocol Codec wars API abstraction level choice(s)

This talk is entirely from my point of view, but may help listeners understand how a huge project like webRTC evolves.


Photo of Tim Panton Tim Panton