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How to Build Ant Media WebRTC App?

Discover how Ant Media Server provides ultra-low latency streaming for applications like live gaming, telehealth, and virtual classrooms. Learn about its features, setup, advanced uses, and best practices for optimizing performance.

Introduction to Ant Media Server WebRTC

What is Ant Media Server?

Ant Media Server is a powerful, scalable streaming engine designed to deliver low-latency live streams using various protocols such as WebRTC, RTMP, RTSP, and HLS. This media server supports adaptive bitrate streaming and provides tools for recording, broadcasting, and transcoding live streams. With its extensive feature set, Ant Media Server is an ideal solution for developers looking to implement robust live streaming applications.

Overview of WebRTC Technology

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is an open-source project that enables web applications and websites to capture, and stream audio and video, and share data directly between browsers without requiring an intermediary server. This technology is crucial for real-time communications like video conferencing, live streaming, and peer-to-peer file sharing. Its ability to provide high-quality, low-latency streaming makes it an essential tool for modern web and mobile applications.

Why Use Ant Media Server for WebRTC?

Combining the strengths of Ant Media Server with WebRTC technology offers a powerful platform for live streaming. Ant Media Server enhances WebRTC by providing a scalable infrastructure capable of handling numerous simultaneous connections, adaptive bitrate streaming, and support for various codecs and protocols. This makes it an excellent choice for developers seeking to build high-performance, real-time communication applications. Whether you're developing a video conferencing app, live broadcasting platform, or an interactive streaming service, Ant Media Server with WebRTC provides the tools and reliability you need.

Getting Started with the Code!

Create a New Ant Media Server WebRTC App

To start with Ant Media Server and WebRTC, you'll need to set up your development environment. Ensure Java is installed on your system, as Ant Media Server is built using Java. You can download the latest version from the

official Java website

.

[a] Clone the Ant Media Server repository

bash

1git clone https://github.com/ant-media/Ant-Media-Server.git

[b] Navigate to the project directory

bash

1cd Ant-Media-Server

Install Ant Media Server

To install Ant Media Server, follow these steps:

[a] Download the latest release

Visit the

Ant Media Server releases page

and download the appropriate version for your operating system.

[b] Install the server

For Linux

bash

1sudo unzip ant-media-server-*.zip -d /usr/local/antmedia  
2cd /usr/local/antmedia  
3sudo ./start.sh
For Windows
  • Unzip the downloaded file to a directory of your choice.
  • Open a command prompt, navigate to the unzipped directory, and run start.bat.

Structure of the Project

Understanding the project structure is crucial for efficient development. The main components include:
  • webapps: Contains the web applications and their configurations.
  • conf: Holds configuration files for the server.
  • logs: Directory where log files are stored.
  • plugins: Directory for server plugins.

App Architecture

sequence diagram illustrating how Ant Media Server works.png
Ant Media Server's architecture is designed to handle various streaming protocols and provide low-latency communication. It includes:
  • Java-based backend: Manages streaming sessions, user authentication, and data storage.
  • WebRTC integration: Ensures real-time communication with minimal latency.
  • Adaptive bitrate streaming: Adjusts the stream quality based on the user's network conditions.
By following these steps, you can set up and start developing your Ant Media Server WebRTC application, leveraging its powerful features for your streaming needs.

Step 1: Setting Up the Environment

Initial Setup and Configuration

To get started with Ant Media Server and WebRTC, you need to set up your development environment. Ensure you have the necessary tools and dependencies installed. Here's a step-by-step guide:

[a] Install Java

Ant Media Server is built using Java. Ensure you have the latest version of Java Development Kit (JDK) installed. You can download it from the official Java website.

bash

1    sudo apt-get update
2    sudo apt-get install openjdk-11-jdk

[b] Clone the Ant Media Server Repository

Use Git to clone the Ant Media Server repository from GitHub.

bash

1    git clone https://github.com/ant-media/Ant-Media-Server.git
2    cd Ant-Media-Server

Build the Project

Navigate to the project directory and build the project using Maven. Maven is a build automation tool used primarily for Java projects.

bash

1    ./gradlew build

Configuring Ant Media Server

After setting up the environment, configure Ant Media Server to enable WebRTC functionalities.

[a] Edit Configuration Files

Navigate to the configuration directory and edit the necessary configuration files to suit your needs.

bash

1    cd conf
2    nano red5.properties

[b] Enable WebRTC

Ensure WebRTC is enabled in the configuration. You can find the relevant settings in the red5.properties file. Set webrtc_enabled to true.
1    webrtc_enabled=true

[c] Start the Server

Finally, start the Ant Media Server to apply the configurations.

bash

1    ./start.sh
Now your environment is set up, and the Ant Media Server is configured to support WebRTC.

Step 2: Wireframing All Components

Designing the User Interface

Creating a functional and intuitive user interface (UI) is essential for a successful WebRTC application. Start by wireframing the UI to visualize the layout and interactions. The key components for a WebRTC application using Ant Media Server include a join screen, video display area, controls (mute, unmute, etc.), and participant list.

Join Screen

1-   **Elements:** Username input, Join button.
2-   **Purpose:** Allows users to enter a username and join the video session.

Video Display Area

1-   **Elements:** Video streams of participants.
2-   **Purpose:** Displays the live video feeds of the connected participants.

Controls

1-   **Elements:** Mute/Unmute button, Start/Stop video button, Screen sharing button.
2-   **Purpose:** Provides essential functionalities for managing the video and audio streams.

Participant List

1-   **Elements:** List of participants, their status (muted/unmuted).
2-   **Purpose:** Shows the current participants in the session and their status.

Component Breakdown

Let's break down the components further to understand their roles and interactions:

[a] Join Screen Implementation

HTML

1    <div id="join-screen">
2        <input type="text" id="username" placeholder="Enter your username">
3        <button id="join-btn">Join</button>
4    </div>

[b] Video Display Area Implementation

HTML

1    <div id="video-container">
2        <!-- Video streams will be dynamically added here -->
3    </div>

[c] Controls Implementation

HTML

1    <div id="controls">
2        <button id="mute-btn">Mute</button>
3        <button id="video-btn">Stop Video</button>
4        <button id="share-btn">Share Screen</button>
5    </div>

[d] Participant List Implementation

HTML

1    <div id="participant-list">
2        <!-- Participant list will be dynamically updated here -->
3    </div>
By wireframing these components, you create a clear blueprint for the UI, ensuring all necessary elements are included and properly arranged. This approach helps streamline the development process and provides a solid foundation for implementing the WebRTC application with Ant Media Server.

Step 3: Implementing the Join Screen

Creating the Join Screen UI

The join screen is the entry point for users to enter their names and join the video session. Implementing a simple yet effective join screen ensures a smooth user experience. Here's how to set up the join screen using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

[a] HTML Structure

HTML

1    <div id="join-screen">
2        <input type="text" id="username" placeholder="Enter your username">
3        <button id="join-btn">Join</button>
4    </div>
5    <div id="video-container" style="display:none;">
6        <!-- Video streams will be dynamically added here -->
7    </div>

[b] CSS Styling

CSS

1    #join-screen {
2        display: flex;
3        flex-direction: column;
4        align-items: center;
5        margin-top: 50px;
6    }
7    #username {
8        padding: 10px;
9        margin-bottom: 10px;
10        width: 200px;
11    }
12    #join-btn {
13        padding: 10px 20px;
14        cursor: pointer;
15    }

[c] JavaScript for Handling User Inputs

JavaScript

1    document.getElementById('join-btn').addEventListener('click', function() {
2        const username = document.getElementById('username').value;
3        if (username) {
4            joinSession(username);
5        } else {
6            alert('Please enter a username.');
7        }
8    });
9    
10    function joinSession(username) {
11        // Logic to join the WebRTC session
12        document.getElementById('join-screen').style.display = 'none';
13        document.getElementById('video-container').style.display = 'block';
14        // Initialize WebRTC connection here
15    }

Handling User Inputs

The join screen collects the username input from the user and initiates the process to join the WebRTC session. The JavaScript code handles the click event on the "Join" button, retrieves the username, and calls the joinSession function.

[a] Validating Username Input

Ensure the username input is not empty before proceeding. Display an alert if the input is invalid.

JavaScript

1    if (username) {
2        joinSession(username);
3    } else {
4        alert('Please enter a username.');
5    }

[b] Joining the WebRTC Session

The joinSession function hides the join screen and displays the video container. This is where you will initialize the WebRTC connection using Ant Media Server's SDK.

JavaScript

1    function joinSession(username) {
2        // Logic to join the WebRTC session
3        document.getElementById('join-screen').style.display = 'none';
4        document.getElementById('video-container').style.display = 'block';
5        // Initialize WebRTC connection here
6    }
By implementing the join screen, you create a user-friendly entry point for users to join your WebRTC session. This setup lays the groundwork for further development of the video streaming application using Ant Media Server.

Step 4: Implementing Container and Controls

Setting Up the Main Container

The main container is crucial for organizing video streams and control elements. It ensures that the UI remains structured and user-friendly, especially as new participants join or leave the session. Here's how to set up the main container:

[a] HTML Structure

HTML

1    <div id="main-container">
2        <div id="video-container">
3            <!-- Video streams will be dynamically added here -->
4        </div>
5        <div id="controls">
6            <button id="mute-btn">Mute</button>
7            <button id="video-btn">Stop Video</button>
8            <button id="share-btn">Share Screen</button>
9        </div>
10    </div>

[b] CSS Styling

CSS

1    #main-container {
2        display: flex;
3        flex-direction: column;
4        align-items: center;
5        margin-top: 20px;
6    }
7    #video-container {
8        display: flex;
9        flex-wrap: wrap;
10        justify-content: center;
11        width: 80%;
12        margin-bottom: 20px;
13    }
14    #controls {
15        display: flex;
16        justify-content: center;
17    }
18    #controls button {
19        margin: 0 10px;
20        padding: 10px 20px;
21        cursor: pointer;
22    }

Adding Controls and Features

Adding controls allows users to manage their audio and video streams, enhancing the interaction and usability of the application. Below is the JavaScript implementation for these controls:

[a] JavaScript for Controls

JavaScript

1    document.getElementById('mute-btn').addEventListener('click', function() {
2        const isMuted = toggleMute();
3        this.textContent = isMuted ? 'Unmute' : 'Mute';
4    });
5    
6    document.getElementById('video-btn').addEventListener('click', function() {
7        const isVideoStopped = toggleVideo();
8        this.textContent = isVideoStopped ? 'Start Video' : 'Stop Video';
9    });
10    
11    document.getElementById('share-btn').addEventListener('click', function() {
12        shareScreen();
13    });
14    
15    function toggleMute() {
16        // Logic to mute/unmute audio
17        let isMuted = false;
18        // Implement mute/unmute functionality
19        return isMuted;
20    }
21    
22    function toggleVideo() {
23        // Logic to stop/start video
24        let isVideoStopped = false;
25        // Implement stop/start video functionality
26        return isVideoStopped;
27    }
28    
29    function shareScreen() {
30        // Logic to share screen
31        // Implement screen sharing functionality
32    }

[b] Handling Audio and Video Controls

  • Mute/Unmute:

JavaScript

1        function toggleMute() {
2            let isMuted = false;
3            // Access the local stream and toggle audio track
4            localStream.getAudioTracks()[0].enabled = !localStream.getAudioTracks()[0].enabled;
5            isMuted = !localStream.getAudioTracks()[0].enabled;
6            return isMuted;
7        }
  • Stop/Start Video:

JavaScript

1        function toggleVideo() {
2            let isVideoStopped = false;
3            // Access the local stream and toggle video track
4            localStream.getVideoTracks()[0].enabled = !localStream.getVideoTracks()[0].enabled;
5            isVideoStopped = !localStream.getVideoTracks()[0].enabled;
6            return isVideoStopped;
7        }
  • Share Screen:

JavaScript

1        async function shareScreen() {
2            try {
3                const screenStream = await navigator.mediaDevices.getDisplayMedia({ video: true });
4                // Replace the current video track with the screen stream track
5                localStream.getVideoTracks()[0].stop();
6                localStream.removeTrack(localStream.getVideoTracks()[0]);
7                localStream.addTrack(screenStream.getVideoTracks()[0]);
8            } catch (error) {
9                console.error("Error sharing screen: ", error);
10            }
11        }
By setting up the main container and adding essential controls, you provide users with the ability to manage their participation in the WebRTC session effectively. These features enhance the interactivity and user experience of your application, making it more engaging and functional.

Step 5: Implementing Participant View

Displaying Participants

To create an engaging and interactive WebRTC application, displaying the video streams of all participants is essential. Implementing a dynamic participant view ensures that each user's video feed is shown and updated in real-time as they join or leave the session.

[a] HTML Structure for Participant View

HTML

1    <div id="participant-view">
2        <!-- Participant video elements will be dynamically added here -->
3    </div>

[b] CSS Styling for Participant View

1    #participant-view {
2        display: flex;
3        flex-wrap: wrap;
4        justify-content: center;
5    }
6    .participant {
7        margin: 10px;
8        border: 1px solid #ccc;
9    }
10    video {
11        width: 300px;
12        height: auto;
13    }

Managing Participant Data

JavaScript will handle the addition and removal of participant video elements dynamically. Use WebRTC to manage the streams and Ant Media Server to handle the signaling and connection setup.

[a] JavaScript for Managing Participants

JavaScript

1    const participantView = document.getElementById('participant-view');
2    
3    function addParticipant(participantId, stream) {
4        const videoElement = document.createElement('video');
5        videoElement.id = participantId;
6        videoElement.srcObject = stream;
7        videoElement.autoplay = true;
8        videoElement.className = 'participant';
9        participantView.appendChild(videoElement);
10    }
11    
12    function removeParticipant(participantId) {
13        const videoElement = document.getElementById(participantId);
14        if (videoElement) {
15            videoElement.srcObject.getTracks().forEach(track => track.stop());
16            videoElement.remove();
17        }
18    }

[b] Handling Participant Events

Adding a New Participant:

JavaScript

1        // Example: When a new participant joins
2        signalingServer.on('newParticipant', (participantId, stream) => {
3            addParticipant(participantId, stream);
4        });
Removing a Participant:

JavaScript

1        // Example: When a participant leaves
2        signalingServer.on('participantLeft', participantId => {
3            removeParticipant(participantId);
4        });

Implementing the WebRTC Stream Handling

To manage the streams, you need to handle the WebRTC connection setup and stream events using Ant Media Server's WebRTC functionalities.

JavaScript for WebRTC Stream Handling

JavaScript

1    const localStream = await navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia({ video: true, audio: true });
2    addParticipant('local', localStream);
3    
4    const peerConnection = new RTCPeerConnection();
5    
6    localStream.getTracks().forEach(track => {
7        peerConnection.addTrack(track, localStream);
8    });
9    
10    peerConnection.ontrack = (event) => {
11        const [stream] = event.streams;
12        addParticipant(event.track.id, stream);
13    };
14    
15    // Signaling logic to connect peers using Ant Media Server's signaling API
16    signalingServer.on('offer', async (offer) => {
17        await peerConnection.setRemoteDescription(new RTCSessionDescription(offer));
18        const answer = await peerConnection.createAnswer();
19        await peerConnection.setLocalDescription(answer);
20        signalingServer.emit('answer', answer);
21    });
22    
23    signalingServer.on('answer', async (answer) => {
24        await peerConnection.setRemoteDescription(new RTCSessionDescription(answer));
25    });
26    
27    signalingServer.on('iceCandidate', async (candidate) => {
28        await peerConnection.addIceCandidate(new RTCIceCandidate(candidate));
29    });
30    
31    peerConnection.onicecandidate = (event) => {
32        if (event.candidate) {
33            signalingServer.emit('iceCandidate', event.candidate);
34        }
35    };
By implementing the participant view and managing participant data dynamically, you ensure that your WebRTC application provides a seamless and interactive experience. This setup allows users to see and interact with each other in real-time, making the application more engaging and functional.

Step 6: Running Your Code Now

With all components in place, it’s time to run your WebRTC application using Ant Media Server. Ensure your server is up and running and that all configurations are correctly set.

Start Ant Media Server

bash

1    ./start.sh

Open Your Application

Open your web browser and navigate to the URL where your application is hosted. For example:
1    http://localhost:5080/YourAppName

Join the Session

Enter your username on the join screen and click "Join". You should now be able to see your video stream and those of other participants in real-time.

Conclusion

Ant Media Server with WebRTC offers a powerful solution for real-time communication applications. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up, configure, and run a robust WebRTC application, enabling low-latency video streaming and interactive features.

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