Real-time Communication Apps: Implement WebRTC with Ionic

Using real-time communication app

WebRTC allows you to create an app that enables real-time communication between peers. Combining it with Ionic, you can quickly develop two cross-platform apps with access to the device’s features. Find out what you need to know about WebRTC and Ionic combination.

What is WebRTC?

WebRTC is a technology that enables real-time communication on the web. The technology allows to easily stream compressed voice, video or data on the web directly between devices without the need of using browser plugins. 

With WebRTC, you can build video or audio communications apps, live customer support apps, group video chats, and apps to share confidential files, among others. WebRTC is used in many well-known apps like, for example, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It’s available on desktop and mobile, for Google Chrome, Safari (11 and superior), Firefox and Opera.

WebRTC provides fast and secure data exchange. End-to-end encryption between the peers guarantees high security of transmitted data, so the solution is also perfect for enterprises. WebRTC allows creating a peer-to-peer chatting app that will work without access to the internet. There’s also no need to use plugins or install additional software, so the user experience is excellent.

WebRTC consists of a few APIs and protocols. Working together, they provide secure browser-based apps for real-time peer-to-peer communication. They are written with HTML5 code. To obtain and communicate streaming data, WebRTC uses following APIs: MediaStream (to get access to data streams), RTCPeerConnection (for audio and video calling) and RTCDataChannel (for streaming generic data). RTCPeerConnection allows communicating the streaming between peers, but to control the process of signaling (coordinating communication, sending control messages) it needs an additional mechanism. Developers need to choose an appropriate two-way communication channel, like SIP or XMPP.

Using real-time communication app with WebRTC

WebRTC with Cross-platform Apps

WebRTC can be used with both native and cross-platform apps. In most cases, the user won’t notice the difference, and cross-platform apps can be developed a lot faster. There may be a little gap in performance in case of heavy apps or games, but it doesn’t apply to real-time communication apps.

To access the device’s features and make the app look and act like a native one, we need to use additional tools. By choosing them wisely, we can make the development process easier and create our apps with the use of web technologies. 

One of the best tools is Cordova. Apache Cordova is a set of device’s APIs that enables access to native features, like for example camera, using JavaScript. Although to build User Interface like in a native app, we need to combine Cordova with a UI framework, like Ionic.

What is Ionic?

Ionic is a UI framework that allows building cross-platform apps using well-known web technologies. It provides tools to build a mobile app with HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Using Ionic, you can only write one code and then easily adapt it to each platform, obtaining two native-like apps for Android and iOS. 

The framework offers a rich set of elements and icons that look and feel exactly like native ones. The newest Ionic 4 is also framework agnostic, so we can create our app with Angular, React, Preact or Vue, and even with no framework at all. What is more, Ionic is built on the top of Cordova, so the access to native device’s features is smooth and comfortable.

Why Ionic and WebRTC Is the Perfect Combination?

WebRTC allows us to create a real-time communication app with the highest security level, excellent sound quality, effective and not interrupted streaming. With the right tools, like RxJS library and XState library, the code maintains clean, and the app is predictable. The ICE technique allows obtaining the fastest possible connection between peers. WebRTC is the most convenient technology for creating real-time communication apps.

On the other hand, Cordova provides easy access to native device’s features, which is essential in that kind of apps, and the Ionic Framework serves to build native-like UI. Since Ionic is built on the top of Cordova, with that one framework, we can manage both things. The development is faster and more comfortable, and we obtain real-time communication apps for Android and iOS with just one code.

Create Your App with WebRTC and Ionic

WebRTC and Ionic are excellent tools to create mobile apps for real-time communication. At Appstronauts, we have experience in creating WebRTC apps, and we will gladly share it with you! Just send us a message at hello@appstronauts.co with a short description of your project. Our developers are ready to help.

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