How launching Icecomm on Hacker News created the most curious chat roulette ever

Will Sentance
3 min readFeb 22, 2015

Want to add video chat to your site with just front-end JS? Get an API key here

This was originally posted at

The response has been incredible. #2 on Hacker news, on the front page ofProduct Hunt and Reddit /r/programming and tens of thousands of impressions in a single day.

But here’s what we didn’t expect. We thought we’d created a revolutionary project to make setting up video chat on a site a front-end only job using 8 lines of javascript (and with no plugins for users). Our goal being to take all the complexity of setting up WebRTC — the STUN/TURN servers, ICE candidates etc and abstract it away so developers could focus on building great user experience.

That’s more true than ever, but yesterday we discovered we’d also created the single most curious chat roulette in history — as inspired commenters on HN put it

“JSFiddle is the new chatroulette!”

“JSFiddle confirmed my preconceptions of the demographics of Hacker News”

To show off that it really does only take 8 lines of code to implement video chat with the platform we created a JSFiddle so everyone could see it live in action.

This was the result

A rotating door of Hacker News users experimenting with the simplicity of code.

When we hit the front page of reddit programming, the party really began:

We also got some nice feedback from Product Hunt

And some entertaining tweets

But what really excited us were the emails, tweets and comments we got from developers telling us about the incredible products they had in mind that they wanted to build with Icecomm: live scrabble games, open source virtual assistants, P2P file sharing.

Now the fun begins — seeing these developer projects come to fruition and supporting the engineers working on them the whole way through.

Thank you everybody for the extraordinarily warm response from across the entire engineering community yesterday. All the questions, ideas, criticisms and love is going to help us keep building a platform to make the complexity of WebRTC and video chat a thing of the past!

Here are those 8 lines of code you can add to your site to get video chat going (in case you want your own quirky chat roulette)

var comm = new Icecomm(‘API_Key’);comm.connect(‘custom room’, {audio: false});comm.on(‘connected’, function(options) {
comm.on(‘local’, function(options) {
localVideo.src =;
comm.on(‘disconnect’, function(options) {