July 1, 2021

Roku app development: How 24i tackles multi-screen streaming complexity with a combination of tech and teamwork

For the latest in our series of blogs spotlighting how 24i’s team members bring added value to our OTT and Pay TV customers, CEO Joachim Bergman speaks to  Product Owner Ana Rodriguez about the secret of successful Roku app development, React Native, and the benefits of a cross-platform codebase.

For a company that built its reputation on front-end excellence, it’s no surprise that we are fiercely proud of the work done by our design and development teams to continuously improve our white-label applications. Among that group is Ana Rodriguez, the Technical Product Owner for the Roku applications in our Smart Apps product and leader of one of our React Native development teams. 

From Roku apps to Smart TV - ensuring cross-platform compatibility

Based in our Madrid office, Ana makes sure that when we’re developing new features, they are optimized for all kinds of devices - including our Roku app codebase - so it’s a seamless experience for users switching between their portable screens and the bigger screen in the living room. 

“Our customers want to expand their streaming services to lots of different devices so they can reach all of their consumers on their preferred platform - whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, Smart TV or a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV,” says Ana. “Having a single shared codebase for most of our front-end apps really helps to simplify the process for our customers, but there are unique features and requirements for every platform and operating system, so we need to keep these in mind to ensure we get the very best experience for every user. It’s my job to make sure our Roku app development team implements every new feature in a way that works just as well on Roku as it does on something that’s running iOS or Android. You can hear Ana explain the importance of the cross-platform codebase to our customers in this short video: 

The power of teamwork app development

Ana’s quick to confirm that this kind of cross-platform compatibility doesn’t happen by chance:

It takes a lot of teamwork and collaboration - between the product owners, solutions architects, designers, developers, the account managers and ultimately our customers who have the closest understanding of what works for their consumers." 

"We need to obtain and clarify specific feature requests," Ana adds, but also research the latest capabilities of the market-leading streaming apps to ensure we keep pace with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. Then it’s about creating user stories for the product development roadmap.”

It helps that Ana spent 10 years in a development role before moving into product management. “I think that coding background is really useful when I’m trying to translate the feature requests into user stories in a way that gets the best out of the developers,” she confirms. 

Here’s a selection of screenshots from the Roku applications developed by 24i and used by our streaming customers: 

React Native brings cross-platform efficiency

As well as her role in heading up Roku app development, Ana also leads one of our React Native development teams. 24i has embraced the React Native framework as a great way to reuse components across different device platforms for simplicity and speed, while still retaining access to the capabilities and performance optimization work done by each native platform. 

“We are making full use of the framework in our development for other platforms like iOS, Android and Apple TV,” says Ana. “And although we don’t use it for Roku app development at this stage, with my twin roles I am able to act as a kind of bridge between the teams, making sure they stay in step with each other and create a seamless front-end experience for the end user.” 

By Joachim Bergman, CEO at 24i

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