Flix Portal - Netflix plugin (1 Viewer)

Vaelek

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March 5, 2009
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This will serve as the main thread for a plugin I am developing. With all the trouble with the Netflix Manager plugin, I finally had enough and started working on my own. Recently I discovered here that there is also another Netflix plugin in the works that looks very nice so far. Rather than becoming competition, my goal now is just to provide options. It seems that once an area is covered, nobody else produces the same thing. Then when it no longer works, there is nothing else. When the developer of the only option drops off the grid, what then?

What will stand this particular project out from the others however, is this... I have looked over thousands of lines of code from every netflix related piece of code I could find. I have read the official API "documentation". I have read through the netflix developer forums. And I've come to the conclusion that the Netflix API sucks. I have the assumption that the scarcity of netflix plugins for all HTPC applications, is due to this fact. So while I am creating a plugin, I am also creating my own Netflix API. Once completed, I will make it publicly available for anyone else who wants to concentrate on the actual plugin development without having to bother with how to go about getting the needed information from Netflix. My hope is that this will encourage more netflix plugins to pop up for other HTPC apps as well. When the communication layer is already taken care of, then people can concentrate on the design alone and we get higher quality in the end. Once I have the Netflix part nailed, my goal is to expand my API to include other sites such as Hulu, Veoh, etc.

As it stands, I do not have anything even worthy of taking a screen shot of to show off any progress. I am sill building up my API and once that is completed I can get down to working on the UI and the actual plugin. One thing worth pointing out, is that there will be no user configuration required. No digging up cookies, none of that. As long as you have signed in to Netflix with IE, and used the remember me checkbox, the system cookie will automatically be used.

In the parts of the API that I have completed, from what I can tell, I expect much better performance than was seen with Netflix Manager, in terms of navigation and displaying title information.

The official site for this plugin will be here. As of this writing there isn't anything there really yet. And I will continue to update this thread with most information that could be found there also.

My request of you is this, think of any streaming video app/plugin that you have used. It doesn't even have to be Netflix. What features did you find essential? What annoyed you? What did you wish you had the ability to do? I have a fair idea of where I want to go with this plugin, but I would also like feedback for anything I may not have thought of. Also, what streaming sites do you wish there was a plugin for?
 

keith2045

Portal Pro
February 16, 2006
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How are you creating this 'API'? If you are not using netflix's api what happens if they change their website?
 

Vaelek

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March 5, 2009
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Currently it is just scraping. And yes I realize that if the site changes it breaks, however, some form of auto-updating regex patterns would bring that time to a minimum. I will also be having a look at an existing wrapper for the official API. I should say that my focus is more on creating a very easy to use framework for other developers to use to communicate with various streaming sources. The MP plugin for netflix that I aim to create is more of a personal goal. I intend to have it somewhat minimalistic in comparison to the new My Netflix plugin that is almost completed. You could say it will almost serve as a basic example of using my wrapper. For anyone looking for a sweet netflix viewer, I would probably suggest following the My Netflix plugin. I imagine interest in what I will produce will be more amongst those with low-end PC's who don't want anything fancy, and those looking for a starting point to develop something further, for this or any other platform.
 

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