Managing Single Codebase Projects with You.i Engine One
If you work in OTT, you’re aware of how many handsets, tablets, consoles, and TVs there are in-market
Developing for multiscreen means you have individual teams working natively for each platform. Communication between teams is likely sparse. Duplicating work takes up most of their time. And platforms may have to be deployed sequentially to manage resources.
These are challenges that I’ve dealt with as a Project Manager in the web and app development industry for over 10 years. It’s a rewarding job to see your team’s app release to market, but boy, does it take effort to get there!
Luckily, that’s in the past. After working for You.i TV, the idea of duplicating work per platform is now foreign to me. Thanks to our You.i Engine One SDK, I can architect my teams to be more efficient, creative, and successful.
You.i Engine One is a development tool built for multiscreen. It uses a single codebase to support platforms across any form factor (mobile, tablet, and TV). Development teams build an app once, which serves as the ‘base’. Then, the base is repurposed for each additional platform. Each platform add requires a few code tweaks to make the functionality work according to their nuances. But, in general, teams only have to code once to deploy on all of the Engine’s Supported Platforms.
You can watch a full technical breakdown of how the Engine works, here.
I’d like to share with you how You.i Engine One has improved my experience as a Project Manager.
IT MAKES BETTER USE OF PM TIME
You.i Engine One enables teams to write once and deploy everywhere. This allows me to structure my teams on a per-app basis, not per-platform. There is only one standup, one sprint plan, and one set of dependencies. No more running from one standup to another for the same app!
Since I am not splitting my time between platform projects, I free up energy to take on other initiatives. I can even manage a whole new app project in parallel, as the PM doesn’t need to be 100% allocated to a single project to keep development on track when they use the SDK. You.i Engine One lets me diversify my day-to-day and learn more by exposing myself to new challenges.
IT’S CHEAPER (WHEN YOU BUY IN BULK)
With the overhead of having multiple teams duplicating the same features diminished, the costs associated with the overall program are reduced. It’s a straightforward calculation when you consider day rates multiplied by total effort. If one team spends less time developing, then budgets can shift to fund more features or additional platforms for the project team to work on. Or, the savings can be reallocated to your R&D team to fund innovation.
With You.i Engine One, your first app build would be on par with traditional development costs. Once “the base” app is in place, production time for each new platform add gets reduced thanks to a shared single codebase.
Some development effort per platform port is required and testing effort is still required for each platform, but it’s a fraction of the spend needed to put together individual native teams. The more platforms added, the greater the cost savings are.
IT ENABLES BEAUTIFUL ART
You.i Engine One integrates with the popular design tool, Adobe After Effects. Designers can create entire interfaces and add unique animations (loading buffer, thumbnail transitions, etc.). Then, export their completed designs to code via the Engine. This collaboration between art and science makes my life easier as a Project Manager.
I had challenges with the classic Dev vs Design dilemma on past projects at other companies. Arguments, forced compromises, and an end-product neither side was happy with were all too common. Designers would—understandably—shoot for the stars which would impact the development effort, causing friction. You.i Engine One gives designers the freedom to bring their creations to life, avoiding the need for ‘dev art’.
Not only do the features work, but they also look great, and provide an engaging user experience. It is refreshing to not have to push back on design scope.
IT BUILDS TIGHT-KNIT TEAMS (WHICH IS MY PASSION!)
When you have a core team working on all platforms, guess what? They get to know each other well. Not only as colleagues but as people. When teams are comfortable working together, communication improves which strengthens trust and respect. Architecture discussions include healthy debates to find the best solutions possible. Designers and developers find an optimal groove for faster collaboration. And implementation processes run smoothly when team members are happy to swarm challenges, together, as one cohesive team.
Instead of sitting in platform specialist groups, you sit with your project teams. This allows the app delivery team to flourish as a single entity, in part the same way You.i Engine One’s single codebase does.
Teams that work together like a well-oiled machine get their work done faster. Which, in turn, reduces the costs, creates a higher-quality product, and boosts morale.
During my 3 years at You.i TV, I have led teams to build custom apps on over a dozen form factors for Fox, National Geographic Kids, Disney Movies Anywhere, NBA, Ellation, Stage13, and CBC Radio-Canada. To be able to complete the number of releases we have in this amount of time is staggering compared to the longer development cycles of the past.
If you’re interested in streamlining your OTT operations with You.i Engine One, either with your own development team or through a Full Services engagement with You.i TV, I encourage you to book a virtual demo with a specialist.
Samantha Leclair is the Program Manager, Solutions Delivery and Organization Development for You.i TV.