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JS Party JS Party #136

Deep in the WebRTC deep end

Jerod assembles a team of WebRTC experts (Suz, Feross, Mikeal) for a deep, deep dive on this practically-ubiquitous yet still-complicated web API.

We review its history, share really cool applications using the tech, provide an excellent primer on what you need to know about it, and details some production gotchas. ALSO we celebrate how Feross single-handedly “upgraded the internet”! 🙌

JavaScript github.com

Easy P2P file transfer powered by WebRTC

This is inspired by Apple’s AirDrop (which is the greatest thing since Napster). ShareDrop lets you transfer files directly between devices without having to upload them to a server first.

ShareDrop allows you to send files to other devices in the same local network (i.e. devices with the same public IP address) without any configuration - simply open www.sharedrop.io on all devices and they will see each other. It also allows you to send files between networks - just click the + button in the top right corner of the page to create a room with a unique URL and share this URL with other people you want to send a file to. Once they open this page in a browser on their devices, you’ll see each other’s avatars.

The major advantage that AirDrop has is that you need an internet connection to discover devices with ShareDrop. The major advantage that ShareDrop has is that you can share between Android and Apple devices.

JavaScript zipcall.io

A p2p video chat platform powered by WebRTC

Zipcall boasts high video quality and industry leading low-latency by removing a central server. It has many of the features I care about: no download required, single-use disposable chat rooms, screen sharing, and more.

It does rely upon Twilio’s TURN service right now, which means it falls back to their network if the peer-to-peer connection cannot be achieved. This has a couple of implications. One, it’s not totally free because you have to pay for Twilio API calls. Two, it’s not totally necessarily decentralized 100% of the time. They’re working to address these issues.

Group video calling is also in the works.

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

Top hacks for the YaCy open source search engine

I might be behind the curve on this one, because I didn’t even know YaCy (a p2p search engine) existed, let alone that you could hack/customize it! The concept immediately resonated with me:

One of the most exciting things about YaCy … is the fact that it’s a local client. Each user owns and operates a node in a globally distributed search engine infrastructure, which means each user is in full control of how they navigate and experience the World Wide Web.

Go blog.jse.li

Building a BitTorrent client from the ground up in Go

What is the complete path between visiting thepiratebay and sublimating an mp3 file from thin air? In this post, we’ll implement enough of the BitTorrent protocol to download Debian.

It isn’t a full-fledged client (no magnet links, no multi-file torrents, no seeding), but that makes it an excellent candidate for reading and learning. Here’s the resulting source code.

Kicks Condor kickscondor.com

On dat://

A fascinating review of Dat and the Beaker Browser after building a decentralized Muxtape clone called Duxtape. Here’s a taste:

The roots of ‘view source’ live on, in an incredibly realized form. (In Beaker, you can right-click on Duxtape and ‘view source’ for the entire app. You can do this for your mixtapes, too. Question: When was the last time you inspected the code hosting your Webmail, your blog, your photo storage? Related question: When was the first time?)

It’s hard to see a world where apps like this get mainstream adoption. On the other hand, what other choices do we have? 🤔

The New Stack Icon The New Stack

The people pushing for a decentralized web

David Cassel has a great recap of the recent Decentralized Web Summit and what it was all about.

It’s a follow-up to a similar event in 2016, though now “People are starting to show real working code and real projects. They’re building whole technology stacks that are more decentralized, in large part fueled by the excitement of the cryptocurrency systems. The altcoins and Bitcoins are proving that interesting and complicated systems are starting to work out there.”

Click through for lots of quotes and takeaways. I think Changelog might have to get involved if they do this again next year…

Awesome Lists github.com

Explore the peer-to-peer web with Beaker

This repo hosts a curated list of websites and apps that run in the Beaker Browser. Is Beaker new to you like it was to me? Here’s its pitch:

Beaker is a peer-to-peer browser with tools to create and host websites. Don’t just browse the Web, build it.

If you’ve been following the podcast for awhile, you know I’ve been intrigued by the recent efforts around decentralization. The thing I keep saying to people in th space is, “this stuff is too hard for people to use.” Perhaps Beaker is a first step toward making the decentralized web user-friendly…

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