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Media Browser iPad app update

darwindeeds

11267 views

We are very excited to introduce you to the new iPad app that we have been working on for the last few months. We wanted to create an app that goes beyond just basic functionality and also has a great user experience.

 

The central theme that we focused on for this application was speed, speed, speed.

 

Media Caching

All media information is cached using a combination of both disk and memory caches. On startup we prime our memory caches with our disk cached media list information for a given server. This allows lightening fast loading of our media lists across tabs.

 

Scrolling

This makes or breaks the app; we have users with 1000s of movies and scrolling through them should be lighting fast. Jaggedness or choppiness will kill the user experience. Besides caching the media list we also aggressively cache all images into memory mapped files for the fastest retrieval was can possibly achieve. This results in a silky smooth scrolling experience.

 

Navigation

This is a subtle thing that can make for awful experience: opening a page and being stuck at a spinner. When you navigate between pages in our app we try avoid blocking the user. If data is required for a given view we try really hard to show what data we have available and then load the additional data in the background.

blogentry-61-0-28611000-1398738022_thumb.gif

 

Search and Sort

The client has all the metadata that are required to sort or filter you list so we eliminate the need to make server calls and perform them locally. This results in almost instantaneous searching and sorting.

blogentry-61-0-89437300-1398738438_thumb.gif blogentry-61-0-44352600-1398738459_thumb.gif

 

Usability (UI/UX):

Raw performance isn't the only way to create a faster experience. We worked with our designer, developers and testers to find ways we can make typical actions with the app fast. Here are some examples:

 

Shallow Navigation: We want you to get to you media with minimum number of taps. To do this we designed a new "detail" screen for TV Shows. The user used to have to tap on tv shows > series > seasons > episodes > episodes detail before he can play his media. This can become tedious if you have to do it often. So we created a solution where you go from TV Shows > Detail page and everything that you need to access your TV Shows is designed into a single page.

 

blogentry-61-0-58238000-1398738402_thumb.gif blogentry-61-0-10888200-1398739043_thumb.gif

 

Perspective Design: We also wanted the main pages to be in focus all the time -- we have found excessive navigation can become tiring for a user.

Example: You are checking out the movie Star Trek into the Darkness and you wanted to read about Chris Pine and check out what other movies he is in. We don't want to show a detail page, a cast page, related movie page. We wanted to keep you in the movie detail page while you access all the information that you are looking for.

 

blogentry-61-0-70290900-1398738764_thumb.gif

 

Trailers:

 

blogentry-61-0-66952400-1398739583_thumb.gif

 

Chapters:

 

blogentry-61-0-13343600-1398738523_thumb.gif

 

Same design applies to remote as well, the idea is to keep the key item in perspective.

 

blogentry-61-0-33390100-1398738648_thumb.gif

 

Home page is both stylish and functional. Just take a look. (Oh man, simulator and gif don't do just to home design)

 

blogentry-61-0-25783300-1398739005_thumb.gif

 

Solid Core Features:

We know that Media Browser is a very feature rich server. We had to make a decision to either launch sooner or delay launching so we could continue to build out this long tail of features. We have decided to focus on a core set of features we think will be most used and do them as well as we can. We will re-evaluate this set of features after the app has been released for awhile and we collect feedback from our users. Some of the features that won't make it into our release: music playback, ebooks, internationalization, etc.

 

We are very excited about this app and I hope you feel the same way when you get to try this app. We are targeting end of next week (before 5/10/2014) for the App Store submission and it will be available in all countries once we get through the approval process.

 

Our Team:

  • Simucal - Developer
  • Darwindeeds - Developer
  • ErgoProxy - Design Ninja

I also wanted to give a special shout out to our beta testers sfnetwork, cheesegeezer, spaceboy and im85288. They have really helped us iron out a lot of bugs and design issues in our beta.

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30 Comments


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That really looks incredible, well done.

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Longrifle

Posted

Very exciting news, thanks for all the hard work!!!!! Can't wait to try it out!

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AdrianW

Posted

This is looking so freaking awesome - I may have to buy myself a new iPad now :) I still have an original iPad 1.

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darwindeeds

Posted

@AdrianW, the app requires > iOS 7. So yeah :|

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AdrianW

Posted

My wife has an original non-retina mini - so that'll work, right?

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bennymac

Posted

Holly Hell....That's amazeballz!

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@AdrianW, my primary development device is a non-retina iPad mini and it runs great on it!

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swhitmore

Posted

Congrats! Well done. My wife will be happy with this. Is it in the store now?

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steelman1991

Posted

Looks amazing - will this perform remote functionality as well?

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AlwinHummels

Posted

Super does the iPad app also have localisations? If you want Dutch I glad to help ;-)

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Oh wow great work darwin.

 

I plan on getting an ipad mini retina this summer, this is going to be great. And streaming trailers! Finally! Now if we could get a few more clients to support it. Hopefully its in the future for the iphone app as well :)

 

Really the only things i would really like to see yet is music playback (along with instant mix). Not much else to even really ask for from me anyway. And hopefully the dev server remote control functions that are being rolled out right now so we can also navigate clients like mbt from the ipad as well.

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MrWebsmith

Posted

good god man...beautiful... can't wait

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This is stupendous!  Can't wait.  Also looking forward to what the future holds for the iphone app.

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App flow looks amazing - Will Live TV be supported in the iPad app?

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darwindeeds

Posted

@mbnwa I don't think so, not for this release.

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Congrats. Plan on getting this once it is available. My only question is if you have a play all button?

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griffen247

Posted

Looks awesome, well done.  Apologies if it's been asked and answered..... Can this be used to browse library and play a video via HTPC connected to the TV?

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WHOA!!! Simply amazing. Well done DarwinDeeds!!

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darwindeeds

Posted

@griffen247 if I understood your question right, then yes. You should be able to run one of the desktop clients like MBC, MBT etc and you should able to browse through your movies, the pick one and remote play it to your HTPC via the desktop client.

 

You will have a remote that will let you control the playback.

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@griffen247 if I understood your question right, then yes. You should be able to run one of the desktop clients like MBC, MBT etc and you should able to browse through your movies, the pick one and remote play it to your HTPC via the desktop client.

 

You will have a remote that will let you control the playback.

Darwin any plans to incorporate the new remote control functions in the future as well that are currently being added to the server/web browser for those of us that use media browser theater (and the team might have this functionality for many other clients as well?). I would really like to navigate media browser theater (up, down, left, right, bring up the osd ect....) with the ipad and iphone app's like you currently can with xbmc and with plex (when their iphone  app is connected to plex's desktop client). I think it should show up in the upcoming dev builds again, it was in the other day before the beta release. Would really love to do this all on my phone or ipad again like i did back in the day with xbmc making it double as an easy ready to use remote control for my htpc (running media browser theater now), instead of having to use a keyboard and mouse or an old hard buttoned mce remote.

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Wow!!!!  Where can we pre-order.....? :)

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darwindeeds

Posted

@Ghostm I would like to implement a remote feature at some point, I want the remote feature to become more main stream before I start digging into it. We want the first release to be solid so that we can build on top of it. 

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Will List view be available ? 

 

I find Episode view shown here very limiting. It can list/view only 3 episodes at the same time.

Even on iPhone I can see more...

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