Thursday, August 26, 2010

Netflix for iPhone in the cloud and HTML5

I posted on this subject a while ago, and generated a lot of confused comments, who read things into my post that weren't there. Today I hope it's a bit clearer what I was talking about, because we released the Netflix iPhone app, which is based on HTML5 for its user interface elements, back ends into the Amazon cloud, and uses conventional, non-HTML5 video playback and DRM. The playback mechanism is the same as the iPad, but to support the scale of expected usage we needed more capacity (it's currently the top free app in the app store as I write this) and we got that by rebuilding our API tier and personalized movie choosing backend to run on the Amazon cloud. The user interface runs in a webkit based browser window in the app, just like on iPad, but the entire UI is built using Javascript with advanced CSS and HTML5 animations to get it to feel like a native iPhone app.

Returning to the theme of my last post, Netflix is hiring engineers to work on cloud tools, platforms and performance, and advanced user interfaces. I think we are breaking new ground in both areas and its an exciting place to be. We have very high standards and are looking for the best people in the industry to come and help us...


  1. Adrian, kudos on the iPhone app -- I'm very happy to have it!

    I'm peeved, however, that Netflix said it would remove Friends but never mentioned Lists and now the latter are gone too. As Robowriter (6th-ranked reviewer, member since 9/05), I cultivated more than 480 comprehensive lists that I and many members relied on (with four lists in the top 20 last weekend).

    My query: Does the OAuth call for a user's RSS feeds return the feeds for their lists too? I ask because, while Netflix has shut down access to my lists, those I have saved as RSS feeds are still accessible (so the lists still exist).

    Specifically, is there any way a Netflix developer could generate a one-time dump of the RSS feeds for my lists?

    I would so greatly appreciate an affirmative answer, if it should be possible.

  2. Hi Adrian! I'm planning a talk on iPhone app design and would like to include the Netflix app as an example. May I email you directly with a more detailed question? More about me at

  3. Sorry Twepette, I don't know what the RSS format for lists was. It's not part of the OAuth API.

  4. Suzanne, sure, ask away.


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