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Kannan
Kannan

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Let's build a video conferencing app

Hello Everyone👋,

In this article we will see how to build a video conferencing app.

Prerequisites:
Basics of Webrtc

To implement this we will be using the following libraries:

  1. React
  2. Nodejs
  3. simple-peer
  4. socket.io
  5. chance

Setup Server:

touch app.js
yarn add express socket.io
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const express = require('express');
const http = require('http');
const app = express();
const server = http.createServer(app);
const io = require('socket.io')(server);

const users = {};
const socketRoomMap = {};

io.on('connection', (socket) => {
  socket.on('join-room', (roomId, userDetails) => {
    // adding all user to a room so that we can broadcast messages
    socket.join(roomId);

    // adding map users to room
    if (users[roomId]) {
      users[roomId].push({ socketId: socket.id, ...userDetails });
    } else {
      users[roomId] = [{ socketId: socket.id, ...userDetails }];
    }

    // adding map of socketid to room
    socketRoomMap[socket.id] = roomId;
    const usersInThisRoom = users[roomId].filter(
      (user) => user.socketId !== socket.id
    );

    /* once a new user has joined sending the details of 
    users who are already present in room. */
    socket.emit('users-present-in-room', usersInThisRoom);
  });

  socket.on('initiate-signal', (payload) => {
    const roomId = socketRoomMap[socket.id];
    let room = users[roomId];
    let name = '';
    if (room) {
      const user = room.find((user) => user.socketId === socket.id);
      name = user.name;
    }

    /* once a peer wants to initiate signal, 
    To old user sending the user details along with signal */
    io.to(payload.userToSignal).emit('user-joined', {
      signal: payload.signal,
      callerId: payload.callerId,
      name,
    });
  });

  /* once the peer acknowledge signal sending the 
  acknowledgement back so that it can stream peer to peer. */
  socket.on('ack-signal', (payload) => {
    io.to(payload.callerId).emit('signal-accepted', {
      signal: payload.signal,
      id: socket.id,
    });
  });

  socket.on('disconnect', () => {
    const roomId = socketRoomMap[socket.id];
    let room = users[roomId];
    if (room) {
      room = room.filter((user) => user.socketId !== socket.id);
      users[roomId] = room;
    }
    // on disconnect sending to all users that user has disconnected
    socket.to(roomId).broadcast.emit('user-disconnected', socket.id);
  });
});

server.listen(3001);
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Here we use socket to transmit the user details and webrtc signals between multiple peers.

Setup the Client:

npx create-react-app webrtc-video-call-react
cd webrtc-video-call-react
yarn add socket.io-client simple-peer chance
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import React from 'react';
import { BrowserRouter, Route, Switch } from 'react-router-dom';
import Home from './Home';
import Room from './Room';

const App = () => (
  <div className='App'>
    <BrowserRouter>
      <Switch>
        <Route path='/' exact component={Home} />
        <Route path='/room/:roomId' component={Room} />
      </Switch>
    </BrowserRouter>
  </div>
);

export default App;
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Here we have 2 routes /home and /room/:roomId . In /home we will give the option to create room or join room. In /room/:roomId is where we will render the video streams from multiple users.

import React, { useState } from 'react';
import * as Chance from 'chance';

const chance = new Chance();

const Home = ({ history }) => {
  const [roomId, setRoomId] = useState('');
  return (
    <div style={{ marginTop: 10, marginLeft: 10 }}>
      <input
        type='text'
        value={roomId}
        onChange={(e) => setRoomId(e.target.value)}
      ></input>
      <button
        type='button'
        onClick={() => {
          if (!roomId) {
            alert('RoomId is required');
            return;
          }
          history.push(`/room/${roomId}`);
        }}
      >
        Join Room
      </button>
      <button
        type='button'
        onClick={() => {
          const id = chance.guid();
          history.push(`/room/${id}`);
        }}
      >
        Create Room
      </button>
    </div>
  );
};

export default Home;
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import React, { useEffect, useRef, useState } from 'react';
import io from 'socket.io-client';
import Peer from 'simple-peer';
import * as Chance from 'chance';

import Video from './Video';

const chance = new Chance();

const Room = (props) => {
  const [userDetails, setUserDetails] = useState({
    id: chance.guid(),
    name: chance.name(),
  });
  const [peers, setPeers] = useState([]);

  const socketRef = useRef();
  const refVideo = useRef();
  const peersRef = useRef([]);

  const roomId = props.match.params.roomId;

  useEffect(() => {
    navigator.mediaDevices
      .getUserMedia({ video: true, audio: true })
      .then((stream) => {
        refVideo.current.srcObject = stream;

        socketRef.current = io.connect('http://localhost:3001');

        // sending the user details and roomid to join in the room
        socketRef.current.emit('join-room', roomId, userDetails);

        socketRef.current.on('users-present-in-room', (users) => {
          const peers = [];

          // To all users who are already in the room initiating a peer connection
          users.forEach((user) => {
            const peer = createPeer(
              user.socketId,
              socketRef.current.id,
              stream
            );

            peersRef.current.push({
              peerId: user.socketId,
              peer,
              name: user.name,
            });

            peers.push({
              peerId: user.socketId,
              peerObj: peer,
            });
          });

          setPeers(peers);
        });

        // once the users initiate signal we will call add peer
        // to acknowledge the signal and send the stream
        socketRef.current.on('user-joined', (payload) => {
          const peer = addPeer(payload.signal, payload.callerId, stream);
          peersRef.current.push({
            peerId: payload.callerId,
            peer,
            name: payload.name,
          });

          setPeers((users) => [
            ...users,
            { peerId: payload.callerId, peerObj: peer },
          ]);
        });

        // once the signal is accepted calling the signal with signal
        // from other user so that stream can flow between peers
        socketRef.current.on('signal-accepted', (payload) => {
          const item = peersRef.current.find((p) => p.peerId === payload.id);
          item.peer.signal(payload.signal);
        });

        // if some user is disconnected removing his references.
        socketRef.current.on('user-disconnected', (payload) => {
          const item = peersRef.current.find((p) => p.peerId === payload);
          if (item) {
            item.peer.destroy();
            peersRef.current = peersRef.current.filter(
              (p) => p.peerId !== payload
            );
          }
          setPeers((users) => users.filter((p) => p.peerId !== payload));
        });
      });
  }, []);

  function createPeer(userToSignal, callerId, stream) {
    const peer = new Peer({
      initiator: true,
      trickle: false,
      stream,
    });

    peer.on('signal', (signal) => {
      socketRef.current.emit('initiate-signal', {
        userToSignal,
        callerId,
        signal,
      });
    });

    return peer;
  }

  function addPeer(incomingSignal, callerId, stream) {
    const peer = new Peer({
      initiator: false,
      trickle: false,
      stream,
    });

    peer.on('signal', (signal) => {
      socketRef.current.emit('ack-signal', { signal, callerId });
    });

    peer.signal(incomingSignal);

    return peer;
  }

  return (
    <div style={{ display: 'flex', flexWrap: 'wrap' }}>
      <div style={{ display: 'flex', flexDirection: 'column' }}>
        <video muted ref={refVideo} autoPlay playsInline />
        <span>{userDetails.name}</span>
      </div>
      {peers.map((peer, index) => {
        return (
          <Video
            key={peersRef.current[index].peerId}
            peer={peer.peerObj}
            name={peersRef.current[index].name}
          />
        );
      })}
    </div>
  );
};

export default Room;
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This room component will take care of connecting to the peers, sending and receiving signal with the help of our socket server and simple-peer.

Start the server, client and open the url in multiple devices to see it in action.

Output

Please feel free fork and play with the source code.

Source:
Client
Server

Please like and share if you find this interesting.

Discussion (3)

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krishisangaran profile image
krishi sangaran

Thanks for sharing this information. This is very useful post for me. This will absolutely going to help me in my project. Thank you for providing the full details for building an app for video conferencing.

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lendk profile image
Info Comment hidden by post author - thread only accessible via permalink
Lend • Edited on

Hi there, can you break down your code with a more elaborate description of each piece of code and what it does, right now it looks like a bad copy paste job.

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ozzyaaron profile image
Aaron Todd

It is a cut and paste job. You can find this code in other places of the internet going back some years.

I've run into quite a lot of these posts on dev.to. I wonder if it is about building clout networks for employment prospects? This post has way too many hearts and other reactions for the engagement.

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