iPlayer on TV launched 10 years ago, and has grown from small numbers to being the largest iPlayer platform. iPlayer’s success led to other BBC apps, and as Smart TV capabilities have improved, so has the scope and ambition of BBC’s interactive TV experiences.
TV application development comes with a wide variety of challenges. In this talk we explore the evolution of our architectural approach to TV applications; from our early days courting different native technologies, to the development of our open source libraries and standards-based certification. Today we support multiple applications across thousands of different televisions, set top boxes, and games consoles, but it has been a challenge getting to a place where we are confident in our domain.
We will look at how we took 14 different codebases and 4 different apps — all complex, client side applications — and brought them together into a single runtime, consolidating our architecture, and eventually moving to a hybrid application driven by server-side rendering, while retaining the feel of a client side application.
As well as evolving our architecture, we evolved out approach to testing, moving from 6-month release gaps, to multiple releases per day, challenging our thinking continually, in an effort to move faster and innovate continually.
David Buckhurst is an Engineering Manager at the BBC, looking after the teams who develop interactive TV applications such as iPlayer and Red Button.
David has a long history of working with complex device-based challenges. He has been a vocal advocate of automated testing for years, having really seen the value of automation while developing emulator technology such as Apple’s Rosetta. More recently he lead the development of Hive CI — the BBC’s device testing cloud — and adopted an open development approach that has made many of the BBC’s testing tools available open source.
Ross Wilson is a Senior Software Engineer at the BBC, building connected TV experiences for products like iPlayer, News, Sport, and Red Button. Having joined the BBC four years ago, Ross has been part of the technical transformation that supports millions of audience experiences each day. In that time the BBC has developed a powerful platform to deliver applications to thousands of varied devices. More recently, Ross has been leading the adoption of modern technologies and tooling to allow the teams to continue to offer a flexible, powerful solution to the organisation.
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