Building a Video Chat Using Node.js, WebRTC, & Socket.IO

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Recently, video calling apps have faced one of the big breakthroughs in-app in history. As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and lockdowns, it was necessary for people to start using video-calling applications. These applications like Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, Meet, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc are available.

The coronavirus outbreak added hugely to the rise of video calling apps, which came over 100% in the first quarter of 2020 to download apps such as Houseparty, Skype, and Zoom. Zoom, whose updates in January were barely two million, boomed to nearly 27 million in March. The app which was called a video caller was now the top quality application.

It is estimated that by 2026 the market for video conferencing will amount to more than $50 billion, less than a decade from now! Obviously, every aspiring entrepreneur wishes to leverage on a new business wave that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, has gone up to new heights.

Video chat systems are likely to resolve many remote working problems and to build links in terms of boundaries. Apps with high-quality connections, community or one-to-one calling, file-sharing, innovative stickers and filtration, encryption, etc are available to users.

Types & Unique Selling Points of Video Chat Apps

These applications have three major forms, including conference apps, video chat, and entertainment.

Conference Video Call Apps

Video conference call apps ensure transparency and boost communication between colleagues, especially when people in various places need to be supported.

These applications make it possible for users to have about 500 at once. High-quality video and audio calling and the speed of the internet connection are the main requirements in building such a solution.

Examples: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Duo, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet

Video Calling Apps

This kind of application permits face-to-face video calls in daily lives. These solutions have limited capabilities for video calling. In most cases, these grouped video calling applications cannot be used for work, and therefore are the best for communication with others.

For example, WhatsApp only allows for four participants, and Facebook limits the number to eight at a time.

Examples: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram

Video Chat Apps for Entertainment

For entertainment, video chat apps can be used as well.

One great example is Houseparty, a networking application for group video chats between friends. Users are notified when their friends are in a group video call and are online.

Examples: Houseparty, Discord

How Does A Video Chat App Work??

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Video calls are very like normal phone calls. You may also see them in addition to hearing the voice of the other guy. Most video calling systems often provide extra features like video sharing, video group calling, etc.

WebRTC is the best-known technology in the area of video chat apps from a technology point of view.

WebRTC is an open-source internet protocol that enables users to create videos in real-time using simple APIs.

This technology is used to execute a peer-to-peer connection, without the assistance of a web server from a third party. WebRTC will continuously submit media content.

In short, WebRTS can be used together with four APIs:

  • MediaStream – this API enables chatting between clients using either a microphone or a video camera.
  • RTCPeerConnection – this API is responsible for the security of video calls, as it enables audio and video data transfer with encryption support and access control.
  • RTCDataChannel – this API provides a Peer-to-Peer communication network for data generalization.
  • OpenTOK – this is actually not an API, but a PaaS platform and an open-source library that can be used to enable cross-platform video chats.

Here is how the connection between two clients is established

  • The first client sends a so-called Offer to another client via a server (PeerConnection Observer).
  • The second client (Remote Peer) sends a reply to the Offer via the server as well.
  • The Peer-to-Peer connection is established between the clients.

The server will also allow additional development of a video chat application after the initial bid exchange as the data can still be transmitted to the disabled server.

The next PeerConnection Observer participation is only required to accurately close the connection, add new participants to a group video call and carry out activities that go beyond the exchanging of information between two clients.

Video conferencing features

  • New meeting: Users start a new meeting instantly, just by signing up.
  • Schedule meeting: This permits users to schedule a meeting for the next date.
  • Join the meeting: The user joins a meeting via a web link, a meeting ID, or an invite code.
  • Chat: It allows you to chat with other members during a meeting.
  • Meeting lists: Users can browse a list of upcoming meetings in your dashboard. It’s an essential feature for remote workers who have regular meetings.
  • Contacts: It’s an essential feature as it allows users to add, edit, and manage their contacts. Thye can use this contact list to send meeting reminders.
  • Mute / Unmute: Can’t imagine a videotelephony platform without being able to mute and unmute. A host can mute participants or they can decide if they want to be heard.
  • Start / Stop video: Essential for user privacy.  Makes it optional whether participants want to appear on the camera or not.
  • Manage participants: It’s again an essential feature for the host. It allows a host to manage participants effectively.
  • Share screen: A virtual conferencing solution without a screen share feature. One of the most important features for any video conferencing platform.
  • Record meeting: Lets your users record the meeting and share it with others. Recording a meeting and storing it in the cloud. ‍
  • Invite: Hosts can invite people through an email, a web link, a meeting ID, or a meeting code.

Technology Stack

Several tech stack combinations can be used to create a video chat app like skype. You have a choice of:

SaaS Solutions for Building Video Chat Application

PubNub, OpenTokRTC, Wowza, Twilio, Socket

Programming Languages and Tools to Use for Video Chat App Development

Swift, Java and Kotlin, Bambuser, SDKs, and APIs

See the full list of technologies for a recommendation. However, what you end up with varies based on the specific requirements of your app.

For iOS & Android
  • React native
For API & Server Side Communication
  • NodeJs
  • Socket IO (for chatting)

WebRTC is an open-source technology that mostly enables the fast implementation of real-time communication using Android- and iOS chat-apps for video communication among devices. You would need to work with four API interfaces if you end up using this approach.

These include:
  • MediaStream
  • RTCPeerConnection
  • RTCDataChannel
  • OpenTOK

Conclusion

At Savvient Technologies, we had the chance to use a video chat for one of our recent client projects. As users could video call the site administrators for inquiries at no expense using their browsers, the outcome was very acceptable and so that feature was revolutionary for the average consumer and added value to their product.

Fortunately, nowadays it is not hard to create your own video chat app and the technology is to be explored, it is up to us to generate fresh concepts for a market that has normalized online interactions

Savvient Technologies is a leading web & mobile app development company headquartered in Australia, working on cutting-edge technologies. If you’re looking around for your successful technology partner, contact us or email at hello@savvient.com.au now.

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