Webrtc in Safari Update – Q4 2016

Apple was represented by a dozen of employees at the W3C TPAC in September. The fact that it was held in sunny Lisbon late September might explain the surge in interest, in any case we were very happy to have them with us. I usually try to meet with the WebRTC team once a quarter, and we took this opportunity to go over the latest Q4 news that can be made public. Toward the end of the post, I will also give away some of my tricks to monitor public WebRTC activity in webkit.

Q1. Back in the days, as you suggested, we told the WebRTC ecosystem to fill bugs against apple to trigger interest in webrtc development. It was done through a presentation at webrtc conference and expo in santa clara, as well as through a webrtchacks article. How successful was the campaign?

A1:  100+ bugs followed the last bug campaign. It was effective in putting on on the map for whomever is taking the decision internally to allocate ressources. Cisco/Apple deal also helped influence decisions.

Q2. You advertised a WebRTC position, is it still open?

A2. The webrtc position is now filled. Youenn fablet, previously at Cannon, France. He is a very senior webkit developer [see his latest talk from q4 2016 here], and he will be dedicated to webrtc.

Q3. So what’s the status of the implementation?

A3. Media Capture and Streams Specs are pretty much implemented, modulo the latest changes made in the September. The security Prompt is still missing, and of course there is no official ETA :-). 


Then, I’m getting a lot of questions about how to know what is going on with webrtc at Apple. Here is my list of tricks and links to try to stay current.

  • This is the META bug you want to follow
  • One resource is their trac where you can interact and search all the commits. https://trac.webkit.org/
    Be careful, all webkit sports, including safari and linux (GTK+) commits are all together, so you need to separate them. The linux port (GTK++) is more active and has an almost complete implementation (coming from the webrtc-in-webkit project I started with Ericsson R&D), don’t let those commits fool you into thinking this is the case for safari.
  • The main apple engineer on it today is their new hire youenn Fablet. You can get his commit like this: https://trac.webkit.org/search?q=youenn
    You will see all the recent work on PeerConnection plumbing (separation of the “backend” which is the OS and browser specific part, between safari and linux/openWRTC, extraction of independent code like SDP Parsing). He is still also working on the FETCH API, so you will have to separate the commits.
  • The most senior engineer is Eric Carlson. He will be the main reviewer for all things webRTC. alongside works Jer (jeremy) Noble, even if he is not very active on webRTC anymore. You can use the same kind of query to see the commits he either authored or reviewed.
  • The historical changes to the MEDIA_STREAM and WEB_RTC compilation flags in CMake. https://trac.webkit.org/browser/trunk/Source/cmake/WebKitFeatures.cmake. I documented those two flags on the webkit wiki on march 26 this year, after Eric split the original MEDIA_STREAM into two:
  • This in turn allow or disallow some JS API at runtime, which is the reason why the API sneaks in some release without being functional sometimes:

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