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Netflix Webkit-Based UI for TV Devices

Matt McCarthy (Netflix), Kim Trott (Netflix)
Javascript & HTML5
Location: Portland Ballroom
Average rating: ****.
(4.11, 9 ratings)

You’ve developed dynamic websites with JavaScript, and maybe written large AJAX applications a la Gmail. So what’s different about developing Webkit-based UI for TV devices?

We’ll share our experiences in:

  • Netflix UI A/B testing. Designing a platform and framework to support an interactive, data-driven UI isn’t easy. But how about five, ten, or a hundred UIs? We’ll discuss the challenges A/B testing raises, our approach, why we bother, and why it’s worth the trouble.
  • State management architecture. We manage state explicitly to help us disambiguate key input context and manage component lifecycle. Our techniques could be applicable to your own TV UI or even traditional websites.
  • Performance scalability & limitations. Netflix UIs need to perform well on low-end Blu-ray players, yet take advantage of game consoles’ muscle. We’ll share our memory-savin’, CPU-relaxin’ performance ninjitsu with you.
Photo of Matt McCarthy

Matt McCarthy

Netflix

Matt’s been working on TV UI prototypes and products for three of his five years at Netflix. Before Netflix, Matt co-founded Plusmo (now part of AT&T) and designed web UI at Symbol (now part of Motorola Solutions).

Photo of Kim Trott

Kim Trott

Netflix

Kim’s team engineers user interfaces using Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3 that are delivered to millions of Netflix customers on TV devices and game consoles like the PlayStation 3, Wii and Google TV.

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Comments

Picture of Kim Trott
Kim Trott
08/01/2011 10:25am PDT

Ian: We’ll be working on getting our slides up on Slideshare this week. I’ll post a comment here when they’re available.

Ian Langworth
07/29/2011 6:19pm PDT

This was a fantastic presentation. Please make the slides available on Slideshare or as a PDF — I don’t have Powerpoint and the file is too large for Google Docs.

Picture of Matt McCarthy
Matt McCarthy
07/29/2011 12:06pm PDT

Ryan, are you referring to rolling your own UI optimizations? I think some of the practices Kim described can be formalized and exposed as features in a framework, but you’re right that it’s still up to UI developers to use them correctly. In particular, tuning Webkit layers is still a very manual process and requires both time and understanding.

Picture of Ryan VanSickle
Ryan VanSickle
07/29/2011 11:58am PDT

Great talk. I think the issues you described with optimizing Webkit are a really common theme in the industry right now. It is unfortunate that it is so hard to push patches upstream since it seems like everyone building a platform around webkit is having to roll there own versus being able to easily push up their changes.