Realtime releases xRTML 3.0, tries to seduce developers with Beats

By Nathaniel Mott , written on November 13, 2012

From The News Desk

Web users aren't a particularly patient bunch. A video that might need to buffer for two seconds is quickly abandoned, and sites that add a few milliseconds of loading time as a result of increased security are to be avoided. Like the girl from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," users want immediate access to their desires, and if they don't get their way there'll be hell to pay.

In that vein, the appropriately-named Realtime has announced the next version of xRTML, its "eXtensible Realtime Multiplatform Language." The company, which raised $100 million in August to fuel its US expansion, says that this new version of xRTML streamlines the process of working with the language while simultaneously adding new, often-requested features.

As xRTML evangelist Sergio Costa puts it, the language was developed as a tool to help build Realtime's messaging (between computers, not people) platform. "Without xRTML there wouldn't be Realtime," he says. Building the framework allows Realtime to process millions of messages each second, and Costa says that the company was able to simulate 1 million users sending over 1 million concurrent messages without bringing its system down.

But what is xRTML for? Essentially, the language (which is built on top of JavaScript) can be used for anything that might benefit from the faster transmission of messages. The company has demos of polling systems, audio players, and chat boxes that use xRTML to update in real-time. (I swear that wasn't meant to be a pun.)

Version 3.0 of xRTML makes it easier for developers to utilize the platform with simpler APIs while adding other new features, like a Storage platform that will, well, store databases on Realtime's servers. As an xRTML developer gathers data from, say, a poll, Realtime will automatically back that data up and collect it on their own servers. Costa says that Storage will operate on a freemium model, but the company is still working to figure out just how much it will cost.

To celebrate this release – and, probably, get the attention of more developers – Realtime is holding an application-building contest. The company is offering Beats headphones, a few Jawbone Jambox speakers, and copies of Sublime Text (a text editor) to the winners, because nothing screams "developer" like a pair of Beats.

As someone who spends a lot of time interacting with a metric ton of websites every day, I can respect what Realtime is trying to do. I played around with a few of the demos (primarily the audio player and the polling system) and they felt responsive, despite my best attempts to throw a wrench into the system by rapidly pressing buttons in weird, unlikely-to-happen-in-the-real-world ways. If it can hold up to my somewhat-scientific tomfoolery, it can probably pass most Web users' standards.

In some ways, Realtime reminds me of CloudFlare. Both companies are doing what they can to make the Web a faster place, and both understand that in order to be useful, these products need to appeal to the lowest common denominator. This is why it's important that xRTML 3.0 introduced simpler APIs. This is why it almost (key word) makes sense to be giving away a pair of Beats headphones.  xRTML can't be the province of scare-quote "serious" developers – if it's going to make the Web a bit faster, it has to be used by everyone.