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Introducing BitTorrent Torque (bittorrent.com)
217 points by Empro on July 6, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 34 comments

> Simply put, it allows anyone to utilize our powerful technology to create completely fresh and new experiences for users with just a couple lines of code.

Worst use of "simply put" I've seen in a while. This page actually puts it simply: http://torque.bittorrent.com/labs/

> Turns all torrents links into regular downloads. No torrents to manage. Just content.

That's just one possible use of the extension. This apparently creates an API that javascript can use to manage bittorrent downloads.

I wonder why on that labs page they have stolen Apple's 'settings' icon. It's exactly the same as the one used on the iPhone and iPad. Kind of sleazy of bittotrrent, although I suppose it's culturally consistent with their protocol.

I don't know why, but I had a visceral reaction to the browser prompt to install the extension in the paddleover demo. This is despite the fact that I'm a developer, and I'm well familiar with bittorrent. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I feel like I have to be keenly aware of what my BT client is doing at any given moment. The thought of letting a BT client run unchecked in my browser is disconcerting ... am I completely off base here?

After downloading the demo (which was super cool!) the biggest unanswered question I have is:

Am I seeding? If so, how do I stop?

Out of all the comments here, only your question on seeding and no answers. It's the only reason I came to the comments!

I guess their purpose is to make torrent irrelevant but that may just work for "normal" users.

No. I also like the restrictions on time, speed and bandwidth I use on my client. Almost no traffic during the day and lots between 00:00 and 08:00 due to half bandwidth "cost" from my ISP. I also want to keep track of how much data has been transferred due to a bandwidth cap.

I had a similar reaction. I installed OneClick, but when I realised there wasn't even an options menu, I uninstalled it stat. I like the promise of the technology though. If anyone could run large-scale file/video distribution from any site, that would be pretty amazing.

I think BitTorrent (the company) need to address two things though:

1. Clarify the implementation. It's early days for Torque, but it should be clear to the user when they're uploading data and who can access that data.

2. Address the fact that the brand is (understandably but unfairly) associated with piracy and legal liability. Most people associate bittorrent with illegal downloads and most people don't know much at all about how the technology works. Even if they do, it's often obscured, which I guess brings us back to point 1...

Yeah, I felt the same thing. It just felt wrong somehow. But at some point BT is going to cease being a technical and controversial process and will be as simple and straightforward for everyone as normal transfer protocols are.

You guys are certainly correct. I'd recommend dragging the files on your bubble to the trash can if you're concerned. That will delete the torrent under the hood.

Can you translate to me what this is about?

Is it a javascript bittorrent client? Access to local bittorrent client? Access to remote bittorrent client?

I don't want to sound ignorant, I am just confused :(

It has two parts. It installs a torrent client in your browser as an extension. Then it lets web sites control what gets uploaded and downloaded via BT. http://documentup.com/bittorrenttorque/btapp

It's a JS API to control uTorrent, or uTorrent's browser plugin.

> OneClick: Turn your torrent downloads into normal in-browser downloads.

This has been possible in Opera out-of-the-box for half a decade.

Apparently with Torque I have to manually install a third-party plug-in, and that plugin only works on Windows. Great progress there. It's like replacing HTML5 with Adobe Flash: from native browser support back to a proprietary plug-in.

> This has been possible in Opera out-of-the-box for half a decade.

BitTorrent support in Opera has been removed in Opera 12, at least on Mac OS X.[1]

I'm rather happy that they've removed it, since I already use a better BitTorrent client (Transmission) and Opera always hijack .torrent file to itself.

[1]: http://www.opera.com/support/mastering/sysadmin/#disable-bit...

>This has been possible in Opera out-of-the-box for half a decade.

But it hasn't been in other browsers and Opera has a very small percentage of marketshare. If you're BitTorrent and you want people using their client in the browser, this project makes a lot of sense.

>plugin only works on Windows

I haven't played with it yet, but it ran an installer on my Mac. You might have been confused since it detects your operating system and just installs the right version, not letting you see which systems are supported.

>have to manually install a third-party plug-in

It is mostly automatic, but does ask you since plug-ins run native code and present a significant security risk.

I am guessing it might be necessary to use a plug-in because it requires more access to the system than Flash provides (at least in the security model that it gets run in within the browser) and also perhaps because it allows reusing existing code.

>>This has been possible in Opera out-of-the-box for half a decade.

>But it hasn't been in other browsers and Opera has a very small percentage of marketshare. If you're BitTorrent and you want people using their client in the browser, this project makes a lot of sense.

Since contrary to most other opera innovations it was not copied as an extension for firefox, this is probably not something people really want or need.

Pretty awesome. I can see this technology displacing CDNs in the future... everybody is a edge node!

The plugin downloader is still a large barrier to entry, though.What I'd really like to see is a parallel protocol to BitTorrent that's basically BitTorrent over WebSockets. Consider an update to Vuze, uTorrent, Transmission, and all the other clients, that added a simple WebSocket server. Now, Alice's web browser will never be able to connect to Bob's web browser directly (at least in the foreseeable future), but they could conceivably both connect to Charlie's full client if Charlie was running this server. And the trackers would need to be updated to serve Charlie's address to Alice and Bob (or HTTP proxies to the trackers would need to be developed), but then Alice and Bob could start building the DHT in their LocalStorages. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of technical challenges, but I think this might be feasible.

This is crazy, crazy good. And, it would be nice if it were javascript only; you could then get people to upgrade for better features. I wonder if packaging it for site admins rather than browser users is the right plan?

This is a great move to make BT more mainstream and remove the boilerplate cost of installing a client, etc.

Looks like it requires a plugin. That's a shame.

WebRTC will have peer to peer API by the end of next year.

But it's not going to be BitTorrent-compatible.

No, but if it becomes standard in most browsers, I would guess that would be enough for many people to consider using WebRTC for the same reasons they would consider use BitTorrent. And because of its accessibility, WebRTC would probably win. If that happens, that doesn't bode well for BitTorrent I'm afraid.

Maybe some one would create a Bittorrent WebRTC bridge of some sort.

I hope/wonder when WebRTC gets adopted more that we will see more things like (I'm sorry I can't remember the name) [the variant of SIP that desktop clients can implement to allow WebRTC -> SIP connections] but basically modified UDP protocols that will initiate inside of a connected WebRTC session allowing one to connect to desktop clients via WebRTC clients.

So if uTorrent/BitTorrent implemented TorrentRTC protocol, browser based clients could initiate a WebRTC PeerConnection and then communicate using the normal DHT/BitTorrent UDP protocols.

Very exciting.

Yes, it's kind of sad but I expect protocols of the future will be built on top of WebSocket or WebRTC (if they can't run over HTTP) so that they can work both native and in browsers.

As soon as WebRTC hits, it will be possible to do pure-JS bittorrent clients (and there's already some projects on github)

I'm not sure why they spent the time on a plugin

As already discussed in this thread, you can create a BitTorrent-like protocol over WebRTC, but not actually BitTorrent.

I don't like that I can't see how paddleover would work without installing the plugin. I bet you're losing a lot of visitors on that page.

you might be right. its technically feasible to allow a browse before you install, and it might be something we look into. Given that its a demo of the api though, the simpler the better. If someone looks at it and thinks "I'll make a better version", then we're pretty happy about that as well :)

Hmm, so I can create a web app that runs without a server... I can just post a link to a simple JS page that will start downloading the app and execute it in the background.

I don't see a use for this, though. It's not much different from just downloading the code and running it, although it'll be much simpler to install.

This is great! Does Torque support uTP for doing NAT traversal through STUN?

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