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Facebook Developers Work on New Library for Effective Video Calling

Facebook has recently announced its plans for developing a new library to tackle video calling features across multiple platforms.

Facebook's current video calling library is built upon a fork acquired from the free, open-source WebRTC site. If that sentence sounded much like technobabble, let's slow down and examine this piece by piece. A library is a combination of code that developers use for designing software. Software that, in this case, can effectively intermediate inter-app conversation, like an API. Facebook's prior method of facilitating video calls was derived from and built upon existing source code (thus the "fork" in development).

Usually, such source code is easily obtained from sites like WebRTC, which packs an almanac worth of APIs that developers can use for their programming needs. This does, however, come with its limitations.

WebRTC and its list of open-source APIs are a goldmine for both up-and-coming developers or even established ones. Specifically providing source code focusing on Real Time Communication, social media platforms (such as Google Meets, Hangouts, and Discord) of all else have much to gain from the website. Facebook's made video-calling features pandering to multiple apps (Instagram, Messenger, Workplace, etc.), with additional features such as group calling and video chat heads. While the usage of a fork has definitely left the hands of developers free enough to work on all of this, the downside is building everything upon a heavy, slightly outdated piece of machinery.

The old library was unable to cater to all forms of devices, limited to popular brands such as Android and Apple. It was also rather memory intensive, which meant that users had to deal with an overall slower product. While developing with existing source material definitely carried Facebook far, the company now feels that it needs to develop it's own library for that extra boost in quality.

Thus, the Facebook Engineering website introduces Rsys, a redesign of the old library from the ground up. Relying on the latest version of WebRTC, and developers tweaking existing source codes, rsys aims to not only improve video calling across Facebook and its subsidiaries, but to make it accessible for more platforms.

Rsys is estimated to be 20% lighter than the original library, thus leaving so much more free room for faster processing. Video calling can also comfortably fit onto smaller apps such as Messenger Lite, and is now accessible across devices such as Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux.

Without delving into too much detail, the original library was reframed via minimizing code lines and cutting off repetitions or decrepit information. While this is certainly a massive oversimplification, the Engineers website has listed their process much more thoroughly for developers and tech geeks to mull through.


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