Build A Video Call App With Node.js + WebRTC + Socket.io

Explore the steps to create a video calling app in Node. js with features including HD calls, video conferencing, screen sharing, and whiteboard. 

Most companies these days use video calling for their business interactions. The technology is becoming a basic need for teams across different industries for day to day communication. As a part of this evolution, almost 65% percent of businesses are building their own video calling apps to keep conversations secure and give customers a personalized touch with their brand elements. 

If you are one such business owner, who’s looking to build a branded app, great, you are in the right place! 

In this article, I will take you through the steps to create a video calling app with Node.js + WebRTC + Socket.io. These are interesting technologies that play a huge role in the performance of your app. Let’s look into the details, with no further ado. 

Why Do You Need A Video Call App For Your Business?

I’ve got a good number of reasons why you need a video chat app for your business.

Here’s are some topmost benefits to building one:

  1. Variety of collaboration tools: Organizations that depend on remote meetings day in and day out must make sure its team has the necessary tools and features to connect effectively. Video calling apps solve the problem with interactive features like virtual whiteboards, annotation tools, and real-time document editing.
  2. Easy to access: You are going to have clients from overseas or your team works out of the city, or on another side of the world. A video call app, in these cases can connect them all with you in the blink of an eye. 
  3. Recording capabilities: Video calling apps let you review important meetings, and keep a copy of important conversations for future references.
  4. Third-party integrations: Got a CRM or calendar app already. You can integrate them all with your own video chat app and make your everyday operations super-organized and smooth. 
  5. Flexible communication: Many apps offer options for video, audio-only, or text chat within the same interface, allowing users to choose the most convenient communication channel to connect with other users. 
  6. Professional Events: Beyond work, video chat apps have become popular for hosting virtual parties, game nights, or watching content together. 
Save Your Time. Integrate Video Call API in 20 mins!

Understanding The Technologies Before We Start With Development

TechnologyWhy Are We Using It To Build Video Call Apps?
Node.jsMost preferred for its event-driven, non-blocking I/O architecture that’s best for developing real-time apps

The technology can handle multiple connections simultaneously.

Node.js includes a huge collection of libraries like Express, which simplifies server-side development and management of HTTP requests and static files.
Socket.ioThe best technology for bidirectional communication of clients with the server in real-time.

Handles WebSocket connections and keeps messages alive in real-time.

In a video call app, Socket.io controls the signaling process, joining rooms, connecting users with each other, and broadcasting messages about user connections or disconnections.
WebRTCWebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) enables peer-to-peer communication directly between browsers without the need for plugins or external software.

It is specifically designed for real-time, low-latency audio, video, and data sharing.

In the context of a video call app, WebRTC handles the actual transmission of media streams between users.

It provides a secure and efficient means of video and audio communication.

Must-have Features In Any Video Call App

Creating a video chat application that stands out requires a blend of essential features and user-friendly functionalities. Below are the must-have features that will make your video chat app competitive and highly appealing to users.

  • High-Quality Video and Audio
  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Multi-Platform Support
  • Group Calls and Screen Sharing
  • Fun Elements
  • Privacy and Security
  • One-On-One Video Calls
  • Media Storage
  • Call History
  • Adaptive Frame and Bitrate
  • Incoming Call Notification
  • Auto-Reconnect
  • Video Frame Capture
  • Active Speaker Detection
  • Camera Switching
  • Camera On/Off
  • Audio Output Selection
  • Screen Recording Controls
  • Live Streaming
  • Whiteboard
  • Switch Between Voice and Video
  • Answer Via Call Kit

Create A Video Chat App With Node.js + Socket.io + WebRTC

So, here we are in the most important section of this article. Let me break down the steps to build a complete video calling app, with the technologies Node.js, Socket.io, and WebRTC. 

Step 1: Prepare the IDE

  • Install Node.js: The first thing that you need for this project is running Node.js on your server. Download and install it from the official website. 
  • Create a Project Directory: Create a folder on your computer where all your project files will be stored.
  • Initialize a Node.js Project: Use npm (Node Package Manager) to initialize a new Node.js project. This creates a package.json file that will manage your project’s dependencies and scripts.

Step 2: Install Dependencies

Install Express and Socket.io:

  • Express: A minimal and flexible Node.js web application framework that provides a robust set of features to develop web and mobile applications.
  • Socket.io: A library that enables real-time, bidirectional, and event-based communication between the browser and the server.
  • Install UUID: A library to generate unique identifiers. This will be useful for creating unique room IDs for each video chat session.

Step 3: Set Up the Server

  • Create the Server File: This file will contain the code to set up your Express server, handle routing, and manage WebSocket connections using Socket.io.

Create Views and Public Directories:

  • Views: This directory will hold your HTML files. Using a template engine like EJS (Embedded JavaScript), you can dynamically generate HTML pages.
  • Public: This directory will store static files like CSS and JavaScript that the client (browser) will need.
  • Create the Main HTML Template: This will be your main front-end page where the video chat will take place. It includes references to CSS for styling and JavaScript for functionality.

Create CSS for Styling: 

  • A simple CSS file to define the look and feel of your video chat app.

Create Client-Side JavaScript: 

  • This script will handle the client-side logic for connecting to the WebSocket server, accessing the user’s video and audio devices, and establishing WebRTC peer-to-peer connections.

Step 4: Set Up Peer Server

  • Install PeerJS: A library for creating WebRTC peer-to-peer connections. This will handle the connection logic between different clients.
  • Set Up PeerJS Server: A separate server to facilitate peer-to-peer connections. This server will handle requests to connect peers and manage signaling between them.
  • Run the PeerJS Server: Start the PeerJS server so it can listen for and manage peer connections.

Step 5: Run Your Application

  • Run the Node.js Server: Start your Express server. This server will handle incoming HTTP requests, serve your HTML and static files, and manage WebSocket connections with Socket.io.
  • Access Your Application: Open a web browser and navigate to your local server. The server will generate a unique room ID for each session and redirect you to the corresponding video chat room.

Step 6: Test and Improve

  • Testing: Open multiple tabs or browsers and navigate to the same room URL to test the video chat functionality. Ensure video and audio are working correctly and that new users can join the room.
  • Improve: Enhance your application by adding more features. Some ideas include:
  • Chat Messaging: Allow users to send text messages during the video call.
  • UI/UX Enhancements: Improve the user interface and user experience with better design and usability features.
  • Security: Implement security measures like authentication, encrypted connections, and handling edge cases (e.g., users disconnecting unexpectedly).

By following these steps, you can build a functional video chat app using Node.js, Socket.io, and WebRTC. Each component plays a critical role in ensuring real-time communication and a smooth user experience.

How MirrorFly Helps Create A Video Call App With Node.js? 

MirrorFly is a real-time communication solution that helps businesses build their own apps with 1000+ in-app video, voice and chat features. If you’d like to go with a pre-built solution, rather than spending months to develop an app from scratch, MirrorFly would be a g-to option. 

The solution comes with customizable APIs and SDKs that comprise features like HD video calling, topic based chat, video conferencing and screen sharing. You can build a complete video calling app with MirrorFly within just a few hours. Plus, MirrorFly also gives you full freedom to deploy your app on your own data centers or on its cloud servers. This means, you get complete control over your video chat infrastructure. 

Sounds interesting? 
Well, you can get in touch with MirrorFly’s team and get started with your video chat app project right away!

Get Started with MirrorFly’s Secure Video Call Solution

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Krishi Shivasangaran

Krishi Shivasangaran is a digital nomad and a veteran of Digital Marketing strategies. She is passionate about learning the newest trends in video APIs. And, when she's off-role, she loves to sketch and make people realize the true color of nature.

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