[Standards] Flash binding for Jingle

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Wed Jan 31 19:21:00 UTC 2007

Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> Matt Tucker wrote:
>>> So, this is some transport that is easier to write in flash? I guess 
>>> I noticed the protocol being proprietary. Does it mean every client 
>>> that wants to talk with flash client needs to buy it from adobe?
>> Yes, unfortunately, Flash is a proprietary protocol. However, see my
>> last email. There's now a viable open source Flash server
>> implementation, which suddenly makes things pretty interesting. Having
>> Adobe as a commercial solution is also valuable.
> Naturally I can't say that I'm excited about proprietary protocols. 
> It's true that Jingle was designed to be modular, so that we can plug 
> in various transports and content types. However, I'm not sure it's 
> appropriate for the XSF itself to publish specs for interacting with 
> proprietary protocols. Would we publish a XEP for sending 
> RTF-formatted messages or collaboratively editing MS Office files? Not 
> sure. Perhaps the right place to publish a spec for the Jingle Flash 
> transport is on Adobe's site.
>> Either way, I'm pretty excited about the XEP for a few reasons:
>>  * Jingle needs a kick in the pants and a bit of sexiness. Open
>> standards voice audio in web pages is sexy.
>>  * There are rumors of Flash support for SIP from Adobe:
>> http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/voip/adobe-flash-goes-voip.asp
>>  I'd much rather see XMPP be the way that VOIP in Flash gets done.
> I like the idea of Jingle over Flash, but I'm not sure if it's right 
> for the spec to be published in the XSF's standards process.

I agree it is not normally appropriate for the XSF to publish specs for 
interacting with proprietary protocols. However this case just might be 
an exception.

While there are plenty of open alternatives to MS Office files, Flash is 
still the _only_ way that an XMPP Web client (installed on a typical 
public website) can do Jingle without asking most users to install a 
plugin. Furthermore, AFAIK, there is nothing open and ubiquitous coming 
over the horizon.

Since 2002, VoIP for Web clients has meant Flash, and that's not going 
to change anytime soon, quite the opposite. IMHO the emergence of the 
Red5 open source RTMP server could be the first of two crucial steps 
towards an explosion of Flash-based VoIP clients (the second being the 
standards-based peer-to-peer audio/video streaming that is likely to be 
built into the next major release of Flash Player).

If we can persuade Web (Flash) developers to adopt Jingle now, then 
hopefully they will continue to use it (XMPP is exceptionally 
Web-developer friendly after all), and Flash support will then prove to 
be one of the important motivators towards the widespread adoption of 
Jingle. Dele's XEP is a key step towards that goal.

So I think we should help Dele (at least semi-officially). For examples, 
the XEP could benefit from the Standards-JIG process, and it should be 
published where XMPP developers will stumble across it. i.e. The XSF's 
Jingle XEPs should at least link to it, even if the XSF doesn't 
officially publish it.

The XSF Council will probably discuss this case on Feb 14th, so any 
feedback on this list will help motivate that discussion. Do feel free 
to flame me about the evils of supporting proprietary protocols.

- Ian

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