Netflix confirmed that it is moving towards HTML5 for the user experience on its mobile devices. The movie rental and streaming giant has already debuted this technology with its PS3 version. The UI for the PS3 is written entirely in HTML5 and is based upon a custom build of Webkit designed specifically for the PS3. In addition to the PS3, Netflix will be using HTML5 for its iPhone, iPad, and Android applications. These HTML5 apps are easy on the eyes and offer several advantages from an architectural point of view.
One of the major aspects of Netflix’s development process is testing, and the company strives to try new technologies so it can improve the overall user experience for its customers. HTML5 plays an important role in this experimental development process as it lets Netflix make changes quickly and easily without having to update the embedded or native code of a device. John Ciancutti, VP of Personalization Technology has this to say about HTML5,
That’s where HTML5 comes in. The technology is delivered from Netflix servers every time you launch our application. This means we can constantly update, test and improve the experience we offer. We’ve already run several experiments on the PS3, for example, and we’re working hard on more as I write this. Our customers don’t have to go through a manual process to install new software every time we make a change, it “just happens.”
In addition to quick and easy updates, HTML5 also assists developers who can easily move from one device to another because all the code is based upon HTML5. While each platform undoubtedly has its own distinct layers, the majority of the underlying code base is similar across platform. This congruity between platforms serves to speed up the development process and keep features consistent across different devices. Think of it like this, the Windows Phone version will be similar to the iOS version, which in turn will be similar to the version on your PS3.