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How to Make Video Calls with SwiftUI

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How to Make Video Calls with SwiftUI

In this tutorial, you will use the Vonage Video Client SDK for iOS to build a one-to-one video chat in SwiftUI.

Prerequisites

Create a Vonage Video API Project

Open your Vonage Video API dashboard and create a new API project. You can call it anything you wish, but leave the codec as VP8. Under the project tools section, create a routed session ID. You can think of a session as a room in which participants meet and chat. Just below, use the session ID to create a token; you can leave the rest of the fields as their default. Tokens are a method used to authenticate users. Keep a note of your session ID, token and project API key for a future step.

Creating the iOS Application

The next step is to get the iOS application set up. Once you have created the application, you need to install the Video Client SDK and ask for microphone and camera permissions.

Create an Xcode Project

To get started, open Xcode and create a new project by going to File > New > Project. Select iOS as the platform and App for the template and give it a name.

Xcode platform screen

Select SwiftUI for the interface, SwiftUI App for the life cycle, and Swift for the language. Finally, a location to save your project.

Xcode project creation screen

Install the Client SDK

Now that you've created the project, you can add the Video Client SDK as a dependency. Close your Xcode project and navigate to the location where you saved the project in your terminal and run the following commands:

  1. Run the pod init command to create a new Podfile for your project.
  2. Open the Podfile in Xcode using open -a Xcode Podfile.
  3. Update the Podfile to have OpenTok as a dependency.
# Uncomment the next line to define a global platform for your project
# platform :ios, '9.0'

target 'VideoChat' do
  # Comment the next line if you don't want to use dynamic frameworks
  use_frameworks!
  # Pods for VideoChat
  pod 'OpenTok'
end
  1. Install the SDK using pod install.
  2. Open the new xcworkspace file in Xcode using open VideoChat.xcworkspace.

Permissions

Since the application will be using the microphone and camera to video chat, you need to add descriptions for why you need the permissions, which will be shown in a prompt when running the app.

Edit the Info.plist file. The Info.plist is a file that contains all the metadata required for the application. Add a new entry to the file by hovering your mouse over the last entry in the list and click the little + button that appears. From the dropdown list, pick Privacy - Microphone Usage Description and add Microphone access required to video chat for its value. Repeat the steps for Privacy - Camera Usage Description.

The Video Client SDK

The Video Client SDK uses the credentials you created in the Video API dashboard to connect to the Vonage servers.

Connecting the Client SDK

Create a new file called OpenTokManager.swift by going to File > New File (CMD + N) and add the following, replacing the empty strings with your credentials:

import OpenTok

final class OpenTokManager: NSObject, ObservableObject {
    // Replace with your OpenTok API key
    private let kApiKey = ""
    // Replace with your generated session ID
    private let kSessionId = ""
    // Replace with your generated token
    private let kToken = ""

    private lazy var session: OTSession = {
        return OTSession(apiKey: kApiKey, sessionId: kSessionId, delegate: self)!
    }()

    private lazy var publisher: OTPublisher = {
        let settings = OTPublisherSettings()
        settings.name = UIDevice.current.name
        return OTPublisher(delegate: self, settings: settings)!
    }()
    
    private var subscriber: OTSubscriber?
    
    @Published var pubView: UIView?
    @Published var subView: UIView?
    @Published var error: OTErrorWrapper?
}

In addition to the credentials, there are variables for a session, publisher and subscriber. As mentioned earlier, you can think of a session as a room that the clients connect to; the SDK has the OTSession class for this. Publishers, OTPublisher, allow the client to publish audio and video when connected to a session. Subscribers, OTSubscriber, allow for the client to subscribe to audio and video from other clients in the session. There are also variables using the @Published property wrapper, which is how the OpenTokManager class will communicate with the view code later on.

Now that the properties are in place, add the following functions to the OpenTokManager class:

import OpenTok

final class OpenTokManager: NSObject, ObservableObject {
    ...

    public func setup() {
        doConnect()
    }
    
    private func doConnect() {
        var error: OTError?
        defer {
            processError(error)
        }
        session.connect(withToken: kToken, error: &error)
    }
    
    private func doPublish() {
        var error: OTError?
        defer {
            processError(error)
        }
        
        session.publish(publisher, error: &error)
        
        if let view = publisher.view {
            DispatchQueue.main.async {
                self.pubView = view
            }
        }
    }
    
    private func doSubscribe(_ stream: OTStream) {
        var error: OTError?
        defer {
            processError(error)
        }
        subscriber = OTSubscriber(stream: stream, delegate: self)
        session.subscribe(subscriber!, error: &error)
    }
    
    private func cleanupSubscriber() {
        DispatchQueue.main.async {
            self.subView = nil
        }
    }
    
    private func cleanupPublisher() {
        DispatchQueue.main.async {
            self.pubView = nil
        }
    }
    
    private func processError(_ error: OTError?) {
        if let err = error {
            DispatchQueue.main.async {
                self.error = OTErrorWrapper(error: err.localizedDescription)
            }
        }
    }
}

The doConnect function connects the client to the session, doPublish starts publishing, doSubscribe starts subscribing. Then there are functions to clean up the subscriber (cleanupSubscriber) and publisher (cleanupPublisher) when the client disconnects from either, followed by a function to handle errors (processError).

The OTSessionDelegate

The OTSessionDelegate is how the Video Client SDK communicates changes with the session back to you. Add an extension in the same file:

extension OpenTokManager: OTSessionDelegate {
    func sessionDidConnect(_ session: OTSession) {
        print("Session connected")
        doPublish()
    }
    
    func sessionDidDisconnect(_ session: OTSession) {
        print("Session disconnected")
    }
    
    func session(_ session: OTSession, didFailWithError error: OTError) {
        print("session Failed to connect: \(error.localizedDescription)")
    }
    
    func session(_ session: OTSession, streamCreated stream: OTStream) {
        print("Session streamCreated: \(stream.streamId)")
        doSubscribe(stream)
    }
    
    func session(_ session: OTSession, streamDestroyed stream: OTStream) {
        print("Session streamDestroyed: \(stream.streamId)")
        if let subStream = subscriber?.stream, subStream.streamId == stream.streamId {
            cleanupSubscriber()
        }
    }
}

When the session connects, doPublish is called, when a stream is created doSubscribe is called and when the stream is destroyed cleanupSubscriber is called.

The OTPublisherDelegate

The OTPublisherDelegate is how the Video Client SDK communicates changes with publishing to a session back to you. Add an extension in the same file:

extension OpenTokManager: OTPublisherDelegate {
    func publisher(_ publisher: OTPublisherKit, streamCreated stream: OTStream) {
        print("Publishing")
    }
    
    func publisher(_ publisher: OTPublisherKit, streamDestroyed stream: OTStream) {
        cleanupPublisher()
        if let subStream = subscriber?.stream, subStream.streamId == stream.streamId {
            cleanupSubscriber()
        }
    }
    
    func publisher(_ publisher: OTPublisherKit, didFailWithError error: OTError) {
        print("Publisher failed: \(error.localizedDescription)")
    }
}

Similarly to the OTSessionDelegate when the stream is destroyed, cleanupPublisher is called, and cleanupSubscriber if there is an active subscription to a stream.

The OTSubscriberDelegate

The OTSubscriberDelegate is how the Video Client SDK communicates changes by subscribing to a session back to you. Add an extension in the same file:

extension OpenTokManager: OTSubscriberDelegate {
    
    func subscriberDidConnect(toStream subscriberKit: OTSubscriberKit) {
        if let view = subscriber?.view {
            DispatchQueue.main.async {
                self.subView = view
            }
        }
    }
    
    func subscriber(_ subscriber: OTSubscriberKit, didFailWithError error: OTError) {
        print("Subscriber failed: \(error.localizedDescription)")
    }
}

Similarly to when to publish to a session, if subscribing is successful, you are returned a UIView object. In the case of subscriberDidConnect the view object being returned is for the subscriber.

Building the Video Chat UI

With the OpenTokManager class complete, you can now build the UI. The Video Client SDK gives you UIView objects for the publisher and subscriber views which cannot be directly used in SwiftUI. The UIViewRepresentable protocol allows for bridging from a UIView object to a View object for SwiftUI. In the ContentView.swift file, add the following structs:

struct OTErrorWrapper: Identifiable {
    var id = UUID()
    let error: String
}

struct OTView: UIViewRepresentable {
    @State var view: UIView
    
    func makeUIView(context: Context) -> UIView {
        return view
    }
    
    func updateUIView(_ uiView: UIView, context: Context) {
        DispatchQueue.main.async {
            self.view = uiView
        }
    }
}

The OTView struct, which conforms to UIViewRepresentable has a UIView object as a property. This view is returned when the system calls ' makeUIView. Since the lifecycle of views in SwiftUI is controlled by the system, you also need to implementupdateUIViewto handle that. TheOTErrorWrapperstruct allows error to conform toIdentifiable`, which is needed to use the SwiftUI alerts.

Next, replace the ContentView struct with the following:

struct ContentView: View {
    @ObservedObject var otManager = OpenTokManager()
    
    var body: some View {
        VStack {
            otManager.pubView.flatMap { view in
                OTView(view: view)
                    .frame(width: 200, height: 200, alignment: .center)
            }.cornerRadius(5.0)
            otManager.subView.flatMap { view in
                OTView(view: view)
                    .frame(width: 200, height: 200, alignment: .center)
            }.cornerRadius(5.0)
        }
        .alert(item: $otManager.error, content: { error -> Alert in
            Alert(title: Text("OpenTok Error"), message: Text(error.error), dismissButton: .default(Text("Ok")))
        })
        .animation(.default)
        .onAppear(perform: {
            otManager.setup()
        })
    }
}

This code adds a property for an instance of the OpenTokManager class from earlier. Since the views that OpenTokManager is publishing are optional, .flatmap is used. So when the views are nil, they are ignored, and when there is a value, they are unwrapped. If the OpenTokManager publishes an error, the alert will automatically show since it watching for changes on the published .error value.

If you build and run the project, you should now be able to start a video chat! You can use another device or the OpenTok Playground to connect to the session from your laptop.

video chat ios screenshot

What Next?

The completed project is available on on GitHub, and you can read more about the Vonage Video API through our documentation.

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