Apps4TV develops software for television, computers, tablets, phones and beyond.
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Technology That Powers Remoku: HTML

One of the earliest choices I made before starting on Remoku was to implement it as a web app, so that it could be available on as many platforms as possible. Choosing to implement the entire app as client-side html, css, and javascript would prove to be a challenge in many ways, but it also enabled me to rapidly improve the app and distribute changes instantly. App stores are popular for a lot of reasons today, and there is a lot of good to be said about that kind of distribution model, but they can also be difficult for developers of small apps to stand out in and can present other challenges as well.

I started the earliest work on Remoku in late September or early October of 2010 (here's the first post about Remoku in the Roku forums).

Here's the break down of Major browser versions at the time:
  • Internet Explorer: 8
  • Firefox: 3.6
  • Chrome: 6/7 ;-)
  • Safari Mobile: iOS 4.2 :-)
I spent a lot of time researching modern web development techniques, including various javascript patterns, copious amounts of time understanding HTML5 features and browser quirks around them, and many hours searching sites like Stack Overflow. So, only thanks to all the other developers out there working to share and improve the web, was Remoku possible.

At the time, HTML5 support was only beginning to appear in browsers but fortunately there are many options to make an app work in older browsers, if you're willing to put in the time to research and test.  The best part is that browser technology keeps getting better and in the nearly two years since my first release, there are many more devices and modern browsers that can access Remoku, and I have been able to continue adding features to the app that work across all of them.

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