Understanding Webex Meetings Application Platforms

July 16, 2021
Philip Bellanti
Philip BellantiProduct Manager - Webex innovations
Understanding Webex Meetings Application Platforms

When exploring the Webex APIs and SDKs that are available here on the Webex for Developer portal, keep in mind there are still two different Webex platforms documented for meetings applications, each representing a different Webex product. One dev platform for the unified Webex client (formerly Webex Teams) and the other for the Webex Meetings product, which is still supported as another option. You will continue to see more functionality from Webex suite of products migrated to the unified Webex client, ultimately leading to an entirely unified Webex platform.

In general, we recommend you consider building new meetings applications using the Webex SDKs and/or Widgets, as they leverage the current unified API platform. Additionally, there are no licensing requirements, and they can be accessed even with a free Webex account. When it comes to apps that automate functionality in the legacy Webex Meetings platform, however, the Meetings API endpoints require a paid enterprise license to access. Let’s take a closer look at both for a better understanding on the differences of these two distinct platforms.

Webex Unified Client “Space Meeting” Apps

In the unified Webex client, meetings are associated with spaces. Developers can utilize the Webex APIs directly to create and manage spaces (aka "rooms") and manage meeting participants via memberships. Alternatively, the Webex Node.js SDK or Java SDK can be used to streamline the API methods for managing meeting spaces and memberships. This "backend" functionality can be further extended, for example, by integrating with a calendaring solution, to create a complete meeting scheduling system.

For the "frontside" of the meetings application, where video meetings are embedded and controlled, there are even more development options, including tools for all the popular browsers, as well as iOS, and Android.

The quickest and easiest way to embed meetings into a web application is by leveraging Webex Widgets, which are built in React. Widgets allow developers to render space meeting functionality in a web application with just a few lines of code. Since Widgets keep the same basic UI/UX design as the Webex client, there is not much tinkering required to embed a Webex meeting space.

For web applications that require a customized meeting interface, the Webex Browser (JavaScript) SDK allows embedding of video meetings in a web app that is accessible from all the popular browsers --Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari--with no external plug-in required. The Browser SDK allows developers to tailor the UI/UX the way they want it, customizing the meeting experience for their particular app.

For the Webex iOS and Android SDKs, developers can customize their Webex-enabled apps specifically for mobile devices. The key difference is the user experience on smaller screens, particularly using touch for input.

Again, the Webex Meetings REST APIs, as described in this guide, are specifically for the Webex Meetings platform; they do not interface with the unified client or Webex spaces as the SDKs and Widgets do. This is further explained in the next section.

Webex Meetings Applications

The Webex Meetings platform has separate developer interfaces to extend and automate meetings. The Webex Meetings REST API allows developers to add basic meeting scheduling and management functions to custom applications or websites. There are no SDKs for embedding Webex Meetings media into a 3rd party app: the meetings still have to takes place within the native client. To use the Webex Meetings REST APIs, the developer must have a paid Webex Meetings subscriber account, backed by Cisco Webex Common Identity (CI).

For more granular automation of Webex Meetings functions, the legacy Webex Meetings XML APIs are also still available. Since the APIs are XML-based, those docs are found on another developer portal, supported by the Cisco DevNet team. Currently, there is an on-going effort to migrate the Webex XML API endpoints to RESTful APIs (that are found on this portal). The XML APIs will continue to be supported until the migration is complete and feature parity is essentially achieved. For now, developers can choose between REST or XML for developing a Webex Meetings application.

Webex Developer Assistance is Easy to Find

We are really excited about all the cool new apps listed on the Webex App Hub from our partner and developer community, and we want to see even more! Need help getting over any app dev hurdles? The amazing Webex Developer Support Team is standing by to assist. Remember, there is no need to be a paid Webex user to get fast dev support -- our team is responsive to all and eager to help.