You.i Engine One 6.0 has Arrived. Here’s What’s New.

You.i TV
You.i TV

Stronger developer tooling, more design freedom, and better productivity to enhance your OTT development across any screen.

When we launched You.i Engine One 5.0, the response was extremely positive. 5.0 combined the accessibility of React Native with the power of our Engine. We sought to improve OTT development by bringing React Native to popular TV devices such as PS4, Samsung Tizen, and Roku. Since then we have added the features and platforms that matter most to our customers.

Today, You.i TV is pleased to announce the upcoming release of You.i Engine One 6.0, the most robust development framework built specifically for TV & Media streaming experiences on any platform (see release notes).

Version 6.0 helps designers and developers alike build better OTT applications faster with updated tooling, debugging, and core performance gains across supported platforms. Our aim is to strengthen departmental collaboration and ease repetitive tasks. We want to provide our customers with the right tools to better their app’s experience, performance, and reach. Let’s dig in…

Build better apps, faster. Build faster apps, better.

You’ve asked, we’ve listened! Our product team has been hard at work updating You.i Engine One to be more performant, more accessible, and easier to work with.

Upgrade to React Native 0.60

With You.i Engine One 6.0 comes React Native 0.60, and with that comes React 16.8 enabling the Hooks API. If you haven’t yet played with them, Hooks represent the React team’s syntactic vision for the future. With Hooks, the React team hopes to better capture the semantics of the React system by exposing side effects, state, context, refs, and more through special functions that “hook” directly into those mechanisms.

You can read more about the benefits of Hooks in the following post. You’ll also find a video demonstrating some sample upgrades of components in our open-source demo application, Auryn, to use this new API.

Introducing Hermes – the Javascript Interpreter with Big Ambitions

Further integrating into the React Native framework, You.i Engine One 6.0 brings the open-source, ES6 compliant Hermes JavaScript interpreter. Designed by engineers at Facebook as a drop-in replacement for JavaScriptCore (JSC) on Android, we’ve also brought it to Android TV, Android Operator Tier, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Tizen, and LG webOS.

By comparison to other JavaScript interpreters, Hermes elects not to have any JIT compiler. In theory, this should mean it runs slower for CPU-bound tasks, but Facebook’s measurements have shown that for the kinds of tasks common for mobile apps (as opposed to desktop web), the cost of JIT is outweighed by the diversity and infrequency of operations. Instead, Hermes optimizes for time to interaction (TTI), memory usage, and install size.

With Hermes on You.i Engine One, we anticipate that your apps will see these same improvements: improved TTI, decreased memory usage, and smaller app sizes. As always, be sure to profile before and after to ensure there are no regressions.

Introducing You.i TV Developer Resources

Beginning with 6.0, we are introducing the Developer Resources initiative. It will include modules, samples, and other useful artifacts that emerged from our services engagements with existing customers.

The first release will include the official TypeScript typings for You.i Engine’s JavaScript modules. These APIs have been documented on our developer portal, but with these typings, you can get compile-time guarantees of the correct type use if your project is using TypeScript. By additionally adding React and React Native types, your project can have a full suite of typings for the most commonly used APIs.

Following later this year we plan to introduce the first set of modules and samples. The modules will be installable from NPM and versioned as expected with semantic versioning. Expect a range of functionality to come from this initiative over time, such as common UI components not already found in the core You.i Engine SDK, from toggle buttons to 3rd party integrations, to graphics features, and additional ways of debugging. Often these will be wrappers of functionality already present in the You.i Engine but not yet exposed to the JavaScript API.

We’re excited to finally bring this functionality to a broader user base. Expect the content within the initiative to grow over time as we extract more reusable modules from our projects while of course keeping those already deployed up to date with the latest engine releases.

A video overview of You.i Engine One’s support of popular React Native open-source packages can be found, here.

Accessibility Across Multiple Platforms

Screen reader_accessibility_TV_mobile

Making your streaming service more accessible on all platforms is an important yet repetitive process. With You.i Engine One 6.0, we’ve introduced a screen reader capability that can help reduce the operational load and free up time to tackle other backlog items. Support for this feature currently includes the following platforms:

  • Apple TV and Apple iOS with VoiceOver
  • Android Mobile and Tablet with TalkBack and Samsung Mobile Voice Assistant
  • Android TV and Operator Tier with TalkBack
  • Amazon Fire TV with VoiceView
  • Samsung Tizen with Voice Guide
  • Roku Cloud with Audio Guide

For more information, head on over to our latest blog post on the topic or read the current documentation.

Enhancements to CLI

Getting a local development environment configured with correct versions of dependencies and related paths is key to success early on in the development cycle. Enter You.i Doctor. With Doctor, the goal is to help you get set up quickly and eliminate anything that might prevent you from building your first application successfully. With 6.0 we have updated the functionality to include the latest checks for Visual Studio 2019 installation, paths and environment variables, along with checks for Android NDK 21.

Exceptional user experience, everywhere.

We couldn’t be more excited about the next evolution of the Design Workflow. Over the next few releases this Fall, we’ll be introducing key functionality that pushes the boundaries of creative freedom and team collaboration like never before.

At a high level, we’ve revamped two key areas of the Design Workflow based on working closely with our customers: enabling creative freedom through design systems and leveraging new design tools, and further facilitating team collaboration through automation and flexible implementation of graduated design fidelity.

Design Systems Within You.i Engine One

Design systems serve as a jumping-off point for product teams to quickly ramp up into production with a set of pre-established components, styles and guidelines. They provide a centralized resource that reduces design and development ramp-up time for new projects in production.

This version of Design Workflow introduces the ability to leverage Design Systems within You.i Engine One. For single and multi-tenant projects alike, the Design Workflow helps both designers and developers work more efficiently together by:

  • Centralizing management and facilitating rapid iterations,
  • Increasing efficiencies through reduction of code duplication,
  • And reducing development time by ensuring design asset production integration and reuse.

Sketch Toolkit

As part of release 1 of the design workflow, we’re introducing tooling and support for Sketch shared style integration directly into your cross-platform application.

We’ve introduced a couple of key features to support Design Systems & Sketch:

Style Extractor

  • Generate and manage design tokens from your Sketch files in a style dictionary that integrates directly with cross-platform, multi-brand design systems.
  • Leverage the consistency, flexibility and efficiency of design tokens, whether you’re building components in JSX or the Design Workflow.

Style Panel

  • Ensure design consistency across brands, products and platforms and reduce the ramp-up time for new projects by linking design tokens to Design Workflow components using the Style Panel plugin for After Effects.
  • Changes made to the style dictionary through Sketch automatically propagate to linked components in the After Effects file that you’re working on.

Shape Layers

Over the coming months, we’ll be introducing full vector graphics support through shapes with cross-platform fallbacks. In After Effects, users can create motion components using shape layers/vector graphics. This, in turn, provides a single source of truth, with cross-platform support or fallbacks and without manually identifying and implementing the necessary styles and assets.

Introducing the Baton Panel

The Baton server and panel is an asset management system used by Motion Designers to prevent AEP merge conflicts. Using the Baton panel, Motion Designers will mark the file as “locked” while working on an AEP and “unlocked” when the work is concluded. The status of the file is displayed in the panel to all users with the file open in After Effects. The Baton server tracks the state of AEP files in a project repository and logs status changes to a slack channel by way of a slack integration.

Commercial Support and Community Rapport

Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay connected. We’ve been working on establishing more ways for the community to connect with You.i TV, and vice-versa.

Introducing the New Developer Portal

In building our new Developer Portal our goal was simple: create a seamless experience for designers and developers in need of documentation, technical information, code samples, and community, ensuring timely access to the information you need the most. We’re happy to say that, in collaboration with several partners and with guidance from our customer feedback, the next Developer Portal will be the best to date. Here’s a sneak peek.

The Developer Portal is slated to go online later this Fall.

Under-the-Hood Sample App

Internally, we’ve developed a sample app that allows developers and designers to go under-the-hood and get up to speed quickly on the basics of app building, covering topics such as player integration, design workflow, screen development, 3rd party integrations, and more. This sample app will be made available this coming Fall as part of the launch of our revised Developer Portal.

Cross-platform development is inherently difficult. Knocking down all the hurdles to consistent, beautiful apps every screen will take time. Slowly but surely, we’ll get there and You.i Engine One 6.0 is a big leap forward. 6.0 will help power the next-gen of premium OTT applications with unparalleled performance, productivity and user experience.

You.i Engine One 6.0 will be available in early Fall 2020. Thank you for reading. Before you go:

  • Make sure to keep an eye out for the follow-up event in our You.i Connect Designer and Developer Enablement Series.
  • Join our customer group on Stack Overflow and the #youiconnect Slack channel for answers to questions you may have.
  • Contact us for a demo, if you aren’t already a customer and learn how You.i Engine One can help you and your organization build better streaming apps.

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