Presenting OpenTok

My name is Melih Onvural, and I’ve been working the last two years building the TokBox Call Widget API.

The TokBox Call Widget API includes the video chat embed featured in the last few blog posts, as well as a simple API interface to let developers generate their own video chats as needed. TokBox.com is built on top of the Call Widget API as well, though there’s a bit more behind the scenes than is publicly exposed.

Over the last two years the Call Widget API has gone from a fledgling community of one partner, the Royal Association for the Deaf, to creating a business development team, an active Google Group, one of the initial Ning applications and partner deployments in the double-digits.

Building out the API involved a lot of outward facing work. Sample applications, server SDKs and helping partners build their integrations. The list of requests for additions to the API were fast coming, and included the full range from customizing the appearance of the call widget to adding integration with screen sharing applications. Some of these were quickly implemented, such as being able to customize the title bar, while others… Let’s just say they’re still on our to-do list.

One thing we heard too often to ignore was the need for control. Control over look and feel. Control over sizing of the video boxes. Control over which videos to display. If it could be controlled, then developers wanted control over it.

And so in June we started to explore how to give more control to the developers over their video chat experience. The combined efforts of the whole TokBox team came together to solve this problem, and today we’re proud to announce the launch of the OpenTok API.

The goal of the OpenTok API is to give developers control over how they weave video chat into their application. There is no longer a large chrome, extra buttons or text chat to compete for real estate. If you need these options, the Call Widget is still available, but for those who don’t, you now have control.

Control over what exactly?

Well the OpenTok API is a combination of a server-side library, mainly for authentication, and a client-side library, which gives the developer the ability to connect to a session, publish a video stream and subscribe to other streams. There are no rules imposed by the library, and so if the developer wanted to build a conference room application and subscribe to all streams, then they could, and if the developer wanted to build a speed dating application where only one stream were subscribed to, then they could.

We’d love to see what you create with the OpenTok API, and invite you to get an API key and start developing. What can you do now that you have all of the control?